From the crystalline blue waters of Antigua, Cuba and the Bahamas to the warm sandy beaches of Jamaica, St. Lucia and Haiti, the Caribbean makes up an important area of the world. Each of its 13 countries and territories is full of distinctly rich cultures, histories and traditions. So, as we continue to celebrate diversity here at Gas South—and throughout the world—we wanted to use June, which salutes Caribbean American heritage, as another opportunity to spotlight one of our many talented employees. In this week’s blog, we’re featuring Gas South’s Harli G. and her Haitian heritage in honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month.
Harli, tell us a little about your background? Where are you from? What did you study in college and why?
I was actually born and raised in Montreal, Canada, and my parents are Haitian. I grew up speaking French and Creole and didn’t learn English until I moved to the states at the age of 13. It wasn’t until I got to college that I truly started to advocate for and really represent and demonstrate a sense of pride for the Haitian culture. There, as I began interacting with individuals from all walks of life, I began to gain an appreciation for diversity. I attended Alabama State University on a full track scholarship. ASU is an HBCU (Historically Black College and University). Engagement and connection have always been part of my DNA, which is why it may not come as a surprise that my major in school was public relations.
Can you tell me a little about your role here at Gas South?
I’m a Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP). To break it down, I support various departments in providing HR support. On any given day, I could be partnering with managers on employee relations, performance management, organization structure, strategy, workforce planning or engagement, to name a few. HRBPs are the bridges that connect the employer with the employee.
What aspects do you enjoy most about your job and about working here?
The impact! To know that in my role I not only help employees professionally but also personally is the part of my job that I enjoy the most. It’s so rewarding to have the opportunity to be a part of their journey.
What does Caribbean American Heritage Month mean to you? And from your perspective, what does it mean for Gas South?
To me, it means celebrating a group of people and a culture that’s rich in so many ways. From the food (griot, soup joumou, banan peze), traditions (Carnival), music (Konpa) and language (a mixture of French, Spanish and Portuguese) to the proud heritage of a small but strong people, I couldn’t be prouder to call myself Haitian.
From the Gas South perspective, it means we truly welcome people from all walks of life and encourage them to be their true, authentic selves at work. It means we get to bring different experiences and perspectives to the table. We get to be a truly diverse workforce.
What’s the one accomplishment you’re most proud of since you started here? Why?
Just my journey overall. I have been able to grow in so many ways since the first day I started at Gas South seven years ago. I started as a coordinator where I facilitated new hire orientation for about six years. I had the opportunity to be the first person that new hires engaged with when they came onboard to Gas South—that first impression. I’m really proud of that.
How has Gas South helped you develop in your career?
Wow, where do I start? There have been so many things. From the continuing education and getting my SHRM certification to internal opportunities or the buy-in of my leadership team who continuously pushes me beyond my comfort zone and holds me accountable, Gas South has enabled me to grow not only professionally but in my personal life.
Any advice for young Caribbean Americans starting their careers?
Be open. Be open to learn and to teach others. And it’s important how you show up, and don’t apologize for who you are. It’s what makes you you.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not at work—family, hobbies or hidden talents?
This may come as a surprise to everyone, but I like to work out. It’s one of my favorite hobbies in between taking my minions to gymnastics, swimming, football or track—keeping up with kids is a full-time job.
What Caribbean traditions or customs do you incorporate in your daily life or even professional life?
A big part of the Caribbean culture involves food, cooking traditional Haitian dishes for my family such as soup joumou or diri a djonjon (translates to mushroom rice). The soup joumou is cooked and consumed as the very first meal of the year. It symbolizes Haitian independence. Music is very prevalent in our culture as well. I try to expose my kids to as much of it as possible. I have dance parties with my kids, and they are so much fun.
Thanks for reading our blog, and stay tuned in the months ahead as we continue to spotlight the many cultures and backgrounds that make Gas South such a great place to work.