I started my career with Air Canada in 2014 as a Passenger Movement Manager at System Operations Control working hard to ensure minimal disruption for passengers during irregular operations. I was essentially a passenger advocate from the operational perspective. After planting my feet firmly in the ground, I branched out with hopes of growing and learning more of the business. This drive and curiosity led me to the revenue/commercial world where I currently work as a Lead Revenue Management Operations Manager. This role has allowed me to connect and network with a wide variety of internal stakeholders.
As we know, 2020 was a tough year for many. We saw the uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement in conjunction with Covid-19. There were many times I felt powerless to do anything. I asked myself what I could do to be more active for the Black community? How can I show up to work “happy” every day knowing thousands of co-workers and friends had just lost their jobs? It was a stressful, frustrating, and exhausting year to say the least. But I found ways to cope and get involved. I protested, I re-posted educational content, I had discussions with friends, family and allies but most importantly, I took time to process and time for myself.
In June 2020 I started asking more questions and challenging the status quo at work. There had to be more I could contribute to the organization. I connected with the GM Diversity and Inclusion and started to get involved with different initiatives that helped showcase the Black talent within the organization. This journey led me to BAPN. I joined immediately. As the network grew and the committee formed, there was still something nagging in the back of my mind. As I was sharing content through my personal social media, the one thing I kept noticing was a lack of Black people within the content on my feed. Many of the companies I followed did not have a fair representation of Black and Brown people in their posts.
If 2020 taught me anything, it was to speak up and speak out. And that is what I did. I reached out to the founder of BAPN to share my concerns about the lack of Black people represented on social media and she asked me what we could do to change that. My passion must have really come across as I was presented with the opportunity to help build the social media platform for BAPN. I am now the Social Media Ambassador for BAPN managing the Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts.
Diversity and inclusion doesn’t start or stop with men vs women, gay vs straight, white vs black. It’s all encompassing, all day, every day. As an openly Gay Black man, I have seen the biases for many years against both communities – LGBTQ and Black. But now is the time to show support, understanding and stand together to support one another. BAPN brings like-minded individuals together to create a community of support, appreciation and understanding. It’s a safe space for us to laugh and grow. That’s why BAPN is a movement not a moment.
André Patrick, BAPN Social Media Ambassador