Visibility is powerful, yet too often technologists don’t see role models who reflect who they are. In honor of Black History Month — and to celebrate and make visible those who are creating a better workplace — this “Role models” series highlights Intel innovators from across the company.
Meet Hope Merritt III, director of customer platform engineering, and a member of Intel’s Black Leadership Council:
Why is this month important to celebrate?
I think many people outside of the African-American community have very little idea of what has been done. Poor teaching and stereotypes of African Americans in this country have created a lot of misperceptions and ignorance.
What does it mean to you to be part of NIA (Network of Intel African Americans)?
NIA inspires me to help Intel get the most out of the African-American community. My goal is to see all Intel employees execute to their God-given potential. NIA inspires me to help the African-American community be part of that.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
During this month some time ago, I discovered my appreciation of the contributions of people who look like me. I was amazed at the number of inventions by African Americans. I was also astonished by all of the unknown and unsung heroes. We have a tendency to only celebrate the known African-American icons, but there are so many more to acknowledge and praise. Unfortunately, this is the main time of the year the history of our people gets unveiled and celebrated, when it should be something we see all the time. It was during Black History Month that I gained a thirst for more information about our ancestors.
Who inspires you and why?
My “s-hero” is Oprah Winfrey; she has a profound story of rags to riches, and overcame sexual abuse, poverty and an unstable childhood. Despite her challenges, she persevered to become an American television host, actress, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. I am most impressed with her ability to remain humble and approachable in spite of her fame.