At Cybereason, we know that building a truly inclusive workplace means ensuring a deeply ingrained and reinforced culture that makes each Defender feel respected, appreciated and encouraged in their work.
One way we do this is through celebrations of cultural awareness, such as Black History Month. It also helps us to keep our business progressive and relevant to global audiences—through learning the historical context of societal injustice, and how that impacts our unconscious bias.
Manager of Customer Success, Michelle Winters, reached out to share with us her favorite Black History icon, Bessie Coleman, and how she feels the attributes of this world-changing leader are reflected in our Core Values: Daring, UbU, Never Give Up, Ever Evolving, Win As One...
How Bessie Coleman Exemplifies Cybereason Core Values
Bessie Coleman grew up during the turn of the 21st century, helping pick cotton and wash laundry to pay for her tuition at the Colored Agricultural and Normal University (now Langston University). Unfortunately, she had to drop out after one semester, as money got tight. But even at the age of eighteen, Bessie was already determined to Never Give Up.
Undefeated, she next moved to Chicago with her brother John. He had served in the military during WW1 and would tell Bessie how he saw women flying planes during his time in France. That inspired her to do something incredibly Daring for a woman, especially a woman of color, in the US at that time—she decided to become a pilot.
After Bessie learned that no American flight school would accept African American women to their program, she fought for her chance with international opportunities. At last, she was accepted to the Caudron Brothers' School of Aviation in France. Bessie received her international pilot’s license on June 15, 1921 from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
Bessie’s tenacity was Ever Evolving and quickly reached beyond her aviation goals, as she began to take a public stand against segregation in Texas. She was there to perform a show, where she learned the event managers had planned to create a separate entrance for Black audience members.
Bessie refused to perform unless there was one entrance for everyone. She succeeded, and stayed true to herself and her values (UbU, Bessie!), as she persisted with the requirement throughout her career.
Between Bessie’s bravery in the face of oppression, and her famous “heart thrilling stunts”, she soon became known as “Brave Bessie” or “Queen Bess”. As she continued to gain such fame and notoriety, Bessie used her platform to encourage and help other marginalized people to reach their dreams of becoming a pilot.
In fact, she set her sights on opening her own American flight school, for women and Black aviators to attend, because when everyone gets the chance to show what they can do, we all Win As One.
Sadly, Bessie lived a short life and died while doing what she loved before she could accomplish all her goals. Yet, her impact remains indelible in our history. The 1992 resolution requesting the U.S. Postal Service to issue a Bessie Coleman commemorative stamp sums it up best, “Bessie Coleman continues to inspire untold thousands, even millions of young persons with her sense of adventure, her positive attitude and her determination to succeed.”
Bessie Coleman’s incredible strength, determination and willingness to positively impact the lives of others is what, to me, makes her a true example of all of our values. Thank you, Bessie, for all you did for generations to come!
Cybereason is one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity companies in the world, and was recently named to three Built in Boston’s Best Places to Work lists for 2022: Boston Best Places to Work, Boston Best Paying Companies, and Boston Best Large Companies to Work For. Explore our careers site to learn more about Cybereason’s company culture and open positions.