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While we often don’t think of the role that work plays in empowering ourselves and other people, employment serves many other benefits beyond collecting a check and raising our professional profile. 

For more of everything you missed during week 1 of the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Wealth & Power experience, click HERE.

When you work with a company that aligns with your purpose, the role of empowerment plays a large role — not to mention it affords interpersonal and social benefits. The pandemic however, made it impossible for many of us to remember and recognize what our purpose was and is, but of course, there are a few companies that continue to recognize the importance of empowering their employees and team members to further company and professional growth.

Studies have shown that organizations that consistently enforce, cultivate and engage positive organizational values in the workplace tend to attract and retain employees that are happier, more productive, and stay with the organization longer.

American Airlines, for example, had to take strategic action to prioritize safety, flexibility and efficiency in response to COVID-19 — in a time when so many employees were impacted. “It’s about how can I contribute to something that is bigger than self?,” shares Christina Flores, Managing Director of Global Talent, American Airlines during a conversation with ESSENCE Communications CEO Carolina Wanga on the Wealth & Power Stage at the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture. At a time when she was digging into her purpose of serving at work, she said it was about making sure “how can I make sure that whatever lessons I’m learning, I’m turning around and sharing that with someone?”

We know by now that performance and engagement are closely linked, with most of us working more effectively when we’re invested in what we do. For Flores, her purpose translated to serving her employees in the midst of a pandemic, where many had to make it through a difficult period. “We had to continue to listen to what our team members needed,” she says. “Just like we’re caring for our customers along their journey, we’re caring for our team members along their journeys as well. And they were severely impacted, just like our customers.”

But getting there isn’t as simple as just chasing your passion. It takes some strategic thinking and foresight. In order to truly support others, Flores emphasizes the need to listen and be aware of others’ needs if you want to serve. “Community is such an important part of that,” she says. “You are not alone.”

Watch the full interview above. For more of everything you missed during week 1 of the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Wealth & Power experience, click HERE.

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