Black History Month Employee Spotlight: Sophie O’Leary

By: Titus Talent Strategies

Author

Despite Sophie O’Leary recently joining Titus Talent Strategies, just one month in, her impact is already significant. Sophie’s previous experience and HR background adds to the value of the services we deliver to our Partners. In addition, she has already joined our DEI Collaboration team and brings along rich personal and professional experience to the table being the Founding Leader of the Black Employee Network at her previous company as well as her Jamaican culture. 

Sophie O'Leary

Sophie!!!!! So excited we get to connect today to hear more about you. You joined Titus in January of this year and have been rocking it with the EOS Region. Can you share a bit more about your personal life? 

Well, maybe this is not something you want to admit to, but everyone calls me “the mom”. If I am out and about with friends, I have whatever people need in my purse. I am like the built in Girl Scout. I am also a “real” mom of a four-year-old. She is the greatest thing I have ever made and I am so proud to be her mom. 

I hear you helped to found the Black Employee Network at your previous company. Can you tell me more about what that network was all about? 

This group was really about opening the doors into Black culture and allowing anyone to ask questions to inform and educate. We were all about sharing experiences in this group. We wanted people to ask questions freely and comfortably about what can be awkward for some. We created this group to have a healthy place to have open conversations. 

When asked what your love about Black Culture, you said “Everything”, but then specifically mentioned you loved the community. Can you expand on that? 

Yes! It hasn’t always been easy to say that I love EVERYTHING about the black culture. I grew up as one of two black girls in my school. I actually learned to appreciate the “otherness” of us… that our differences made us cool and fun. I did a lot of watching from the outside and because of that I think I can provide a different perspective than others. It’s funny because as a child I might have been picked on for my hair. Today my hair is considered trendy. I get to share understanding with my daughter. I love seeing her innocence when it comes to differences. 

When asked what Black History means to you, you shared that BHM “means a commitment to learn about the Black community, the history, the culture, and the contributions we have made.” What contribution speaks the loudest to you? 

The influence on so many of the arts. Black culture created jazz and rock n’ roll. Some of the biggest icons are from Black culture. 

How do you celebrate BHM? 

I was born into a Jamaican family that immigrated to England, where I was born. My mother and I moved to the US when I was two. I learned about BHM when I entered the public school system. My mom let me know that learning about our Black heritage could never be covered in a month. 

A lot of Black history isn’t pretty, and although BHM was created to celebrate the historical achievement in recent history, we still need to remember and acknowledge the hard, as well. I celebrate by ensuring my daughter is aware of all things related to Black History and to others cultures (BIPOC and LGBTQIA+). I make sure to provide my daughter equal access to media and materials because I want her to be well rounded and well educated. I LOVE that she has exposure to everything. 

Issa Rae… WOW! She is a phenomenal actress/producer/director. Her characters are nothing short of genius. You shared that Issa is an inspirational Black leader and that she has created an amazing space for Black people and other minorities in the entertainment industry. What has she been working on? 

Issa formed a company called Hoorae (pronounced Hooray) Media in 2020. She is helping underserved areas have access to the entertainment space. From acting to producing… introducing America’s youth to opportunity. 

A motivational quote from Emmanuel Acho is “Do good work, but don’t make the mistake of caring more about your intentions than about the impact of your intentions, or seeking out gratitude of praise”. Why does this quote speak to you? 

I think this quote speaks to me because so many people start off with good intentions. But, when the kudos and accolades start pouring in, it can change people. You can always change your path, but keep your original intentions in mind. 

I want to leave the audience with your advice… it was really profound in my opinion. Everyone… from Sophie O’Leary… “We are all on the same journey, even if it isn’t the same path. We can always learn from one another. No matter the culture or your upbringing, we all share something that we can be truly proud of.” 

Thank you, Sophie! We appreciate you sharing your story. 

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