Henkel North America celebrates generations of African Americans and their contributions to U.S. history and recognizes their important role in shaping society. In recognition of Juneteenth, we invited Juliane Hefel, the executive sponsor of Henkel’s Employee Resource Group, the African-American Alliance of Metropolitan Detroit (AAAMD), to reflect on her learning experience and the group’s history of community support.
Keeping with her approach to life and a philosophy of always wanting to learn, embrace new ideas, reevaluate perceptions and absorb cultural norms, when Juliane was presented with an opportunity to become the executive sponsor for the African-American Alliance of Metropolitan Detroit (AAAMD) ERG, she seized the opportunity. Formed in 2008, the small but mighty ERG team engages their colleagues at Henkel’s Madison Heights location to inspire open dialogue, raise awareness and create opportunities for mentoring and career development of Black employees. They are also a visible presence in the local Detroit community through volunteerism and fund-raiser events such as the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Walk for Education.
The AAAMD ERG celebrates Juneteenth every year to raise understanding of Black Americans’ contributions to history and to make a difference in the community. They typically hold a BBQ to raise funds for UNCF and since COVID-19, have organized virtual ways for employees to get involved. This year they are holding a virtual educational event for all employees. “In working with ERG members, I realize that Juneteenth is a day to commemorate the liberation of enslaved people so they could have the freedom to live like everyone else and to celebrate the historic contributions of Black Americans,” she says. “This is something everyone deserves.”