V Teamer Summer M. celebrates her Native American culture and heritage.
As Native American Heritage Month concludes, we’re highlighting Summer M., a senior technician and a member of our Native Americans of Verizon (NAV) employee resource group (ERG). As a proud Native American (Blackfeet Nation) and Mexican, she shares her journey and the role her heritage has played throughout it.
Moving around and moving up.
Growing up in California’s Bay Area, Summer spent much of her early life in a nomadic way. She recalls living on the Blackfeet reservation as well as in cities near the reservation. Moving around has helped make her the person she is today.
“Being exposed to reservation life, city life and everything in between allowed me to become an adaptable person,” she shares. “I learned how to interact and understand people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.”
Proud to be Native.
Always proud of her Mexican and Native American heritage, Summer shares, “Being Native is not a practice, it is who I am every day.”
She and her family stay in touch with their Native American heritage by continuing to practice their ancestors’ spiritual beliefs, attending ceremonies, and finding different ways to stay connected to their community.
Empowering others through NAV.
Being involved with NAV has provided Summer with a strong sense of support and belonging, which was important to her when she began working in a large company.
“It has been amazing to see all of the community work and projects put together by the NAV ERG,” Summer said. “I feel like this experience with NAV has been empowering and creates a voice for Natives in the corporate world.”
Advanced technology plays a huge part in education, knowledge and helping to empower the Native community. One of her favorite experiences with the group was working with Native youth through an Information Technology Camp, a partnership between NAV and the University of North Carolina’s Project 3C, which aims to connect community, college, and career through STEM.
As part of the tech camp, she participated in a virtual panel discussion called, “Ask Me Anything Tech,” alongside other V Teamers and NAV members. This was an especially important initiative for her to take part in because it could help provide our youth with more opportunities and further education, she said.
“The diversity within Verizon and in the area I live in help create an open environment to share cultural differences and embrace me as a Native and as a person.”
Learn more about the important role that culture and diversity play at Verizon.