caret-down

Black History Month: Celebrating Beyond February

by Marisa Henry, the Campbell Black Resource Group’s Steering Team Member + Senior Project Engineer, Global Engineering

 

Allow me to set the stage, I was born in St. Kitts, West Indies and migrated to the United States at the age of four. Although I never saw myself as different, the accent that I carried told another story.  However, my parents always encouraged me to strive for greatness and they never settled for excuses when it came to my school work. So, from an early age…I set out on a path to success.

 

I am a black woman with interests in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This led me to obtain a degree in Biological Science and a second degree in Mechanical Engineering.  As a university student, I was introduced to The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). At the time, I didn’t know how this organization would impact my life, but knew I needed to be involved. By the time, I was ready to graduate with my engineering degree, I was Chapter President. Through NSBE, I received my first co-op which set my career sights down the food manufacturing path, ultimately leading to the Campbell Soup Company. I continue to share my passion for engineering with students as a FIRST Robotics judge and Occupational Advisory Council Member to a local high school.

 

In my spare time, I enjoy running. I was never a runner, but in August 2015 on a whim, I joined Black Girls Run! This nationally recognized running organization was founded in 2009 to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community. I personally wanted to lead a healthy, non-sedentary lifestyle and decided this group would help me do so. The women I’ve encountered in Black Girls Run! made me believe in sisterhood, accountability and pushing beyond my limits. Since joining the group, I’ve completed numerous races of every distance including 5Ks, Half Marathons, a Ragnar Relay and crossing the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon in 2017. Within my running travels, I’ve met a lot of people from all walks of life, but back in June 2016, I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing the first-hand account from Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entrant.

 

For the past year, I have been serving as an Ambassador for the South Jersey Chapter of Black Girls Run! This platform has afforded me the opportunity to encourage and motivate other women of color to believe in themselves and strive for a healthy, active lifestyle. My career often keeps me on the road, but I try to carve out time for myself whether it’s a quick morning run in the countryside of Wangen im Allgäu, Germany or an evening workout in Maxton, NC. I strive to motivate others through my actions.

 

I currently serve as a steering team member for Campbell’s Black Resource Group. Most recently, I participated as a panelist to high school aged girls at our annual Mentor Day Program in partnership with Women of Tomorrow. It gave me an opportunity to discuss my upbringing and eventual path to Engineering. Additionally, I am a member of the Supply Chain Internship Recruitment Team. This role brings me great joy as I can be on the front lines at collegiate career fairs such as NSBE seeking exceptional, diverse talent for Campbell’s.

 

Perhaps it was the pursuit of greatness instilled by my parent’s or their words resonating within me, but throughout my life I continued to strive for great heights. When one degree wasn’t enough, I pursued a second one leading to career fulfillment. When I began my fitness journey, it was in the hotel gyms and now I am running across the globe as well as impacting lives in my own backyard. I’m also paying it forward to engineering students who seek to jump start their careers through NSBE as I did. My drive for greatness pushes me to break norms and not allow anything to hold me back.

 

I am empowered year-round, but especially during Black History Month to positively impact lives within my reach. I take pride in sharing who I am in and outside of work in hopes of inspiring others to be an agent for change.