Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
February gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to Black American culture, history, and achievements as we celebrate Black History Month. Quantitative Analysis Manager Chantal Togbey is known for her positivity and dedication, and we are privileged to work and learn alongside her.
Here Chantal shares insight to help shed light on the Black experience and what is most important to her.
What does being a member of NAAC group at Mr. Cooper mean to you?
The ability to share the values and culture that make me who I am is really important to me. I did not hesitate to be part of a group that allowed individuals of African descent to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. As a member of NAAC, I am able to share my African heritage and culture with my fellow Coopers. The group has made me more aware of my personal biases, preferences, and style. I have realized how unique each employee is in our organization and I believe it has helped me lead my team which includes members from our Chennai, India, office more effectively.
Who is a Black leader from history or a role model from the present that you admire, and what important advice or lessons have you learned from them?
One of history’s lesser-known civil rights heroes, but definitely someone who I consider a role model, is Ella Baker. Her nickname Fundi means “a person who teaches a craft to the next generation” in Swahili. She built the foundation for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This organization has committed to bring about change through Freedom Riders. They emphasize the importance of voting rights for African Americans.
While Martin Luther King Jr. was the head of the civil rights movement, Ella Baker was its backbone. She did not let the fact that she was a female keep her from defending her ethnicity. I admire her tenacity in teaching our youth that they are essential to the civil rights movement. I teach both of my boys to dream of a better, equal, and brighter tomorrow doing their part through these non-violent protests.
What do you wish people knew or understood more about the Black experience?
I wish people understood how fragile the Black community is and how to help African Americans heal. This fragility comes from the pain that was inflicted on our ancestors. It is one thing to know Black history and a different thing altogether to understand the pain that we have endured and quite frankly still go through today. The African American community is an integral part of our American history, but I fear that our culture has developed separately from the American culture due to both slavery and the persistence of racial discrimination.
If someone wants to show support for the Black community, what are the best ways to show support?
In order to effectively support the black community, one has to do his/her homework by studying Black history. You want to be able to understand what we have gone through since the days our ancestors were forcibly brought here on ships. Being knowledgeable is a big step to feeling the pain that the Black community has endured and only then can someone become a true ally in my opinion. Being an ally can range from being a part of an African American D&I (diversity and inclusion) group to being involved in an anti-racial discrimination group that actively engages in community events across the globe. Every little bit helps!
In what ways have you felt supported at work with the events that unfolded in the last few months that affected the Black community?
Mr. Cooper has consistently been an ally to the Black community through the different sessions that were put together as a healing mechanism for African American Coopers. I am pleasantly surprised by our leadership team for showing their support through the addition of an extra floating day that could be used for Juneteenth if one so chooses. I cannot thank Mr. Cooper enough for showing that African American Coopers do matter. My AVP has been especially supportive throughout the events that unfolded the last few months. He allowed me to deal with my feelings whenever I needed to, and for that I am eternally grateful as it has allowed me to be in the right frame of mind to do my job efficiently. He deserves a medal.