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| 1 minute read

Raise your VOICE: Samantha Lacey

“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” When I came across that quote by Mary McLeod Bethune at the age of 14, it initially resonated with me because I considered myself a diamond in the rough. During that time, I was part of Link Unlimited, a four-year scholarship program geared towards closing opportunity gaps for African American students residing in low-income communities. Their primary objectives were to secure financial funding to send students to top-performing high schools and advise on post-secondary opportunities. As a result of their support, many of my peers and I secured better outcomes, which changed our overall narratives.

Link’s positive impact and Bethune’s words helped shape my perspective on service. I view it as both a moral obligation and a privilege to invest in the well-being of others. Service creates ripples of hope, change, and opportunity. Bethune’s work in education, public policy, and community organizing laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement, which would lead to monumental legislation around discriminatory practices. These legislation changes would enable individuals and organizations like Link Unlimited to form and mitigate societal ills brought on by historical injustices.

During Black History Month, I realized how Ankura’s culture fosters an opportunity to emulate Black trailblazers like Mary McLeod Bethune. Our values of putting others first, working collaboratively, educating ourselves, taking action, and being ethical are sound enough to go beyond our clients and colleagues. These values can be carried out into the world, shaping humanity and helping individuals discover purpose and possibility.

This post is part of a series as Ankura celebrates Black History Month: we recognize significant achievements, honor traditions, and celebrate our colleagues. We are excited to share the stories of Black professionals at our Firm not only in February but throughout the year.


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