As a Young Black Female, I Was Asked to Manage Two Old White Men

This is how it went down

Rebecca Stevens A.
Published in
5 min readAug 10, 2021


Photo: Tim Doerfler/Unsplash

Jeff was a great boss. He hired me into his communications team and, a few months later, gave me a promotion. It was at the time when companies were moving from print to electronic internal communication channels.

I was fresh out of school and eager to build up the “global village” that Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian philosopher, extensively talked about in his work.

The idea of building the global intranet platform for a leading Fortune 500 company was an exciting one. I set off to work, my head full of new ideas about how we could engage our employees.

The message from our CEO was clear; he wanted as many of our employees as possible to understand and champion the company’s strategy. He wanted to make sure employee morale was high. Jeff put me in charge of the team leading the transformation. It was composed of two white female employees as young as I was, a middle-aged white lady and two older white men. They were all based in different countries, and I was expected to manage them virtually.

Since I had never met anyone face-to-face, I decided to organize an in-person meeting to get to know them a little more. From there, I was sure I could manage a virtual relationship.

The face-to-face meeting went well. These were seasoned communicators who knew their content well. I saw my role as simply enabling them to transfer that content into the online space.

Jeff had also asked that I ensure we harmonize content across all internal print communications channels. The employee newsletter in the UK, for example, contained vastly different content from the one in Germany. While one focused on company anniversaries, the other was a marketplace where employees brought and sold their second-hand stuff.

I didn’t want to scrap all of this; I simply wanted to make sure that there was at least 50 percent identical corporate content in these print publications — that made sense given that these were being paid for by the company.

In those first months, I made sure the team got together frequently over the phone. We discussed the specific corporate content we wanted to put into the April…



Rebecca Stevens A.
Writer for

I write about racism, but there are so many other things I would like to write about instead. Help me dismantle racism so that I can get to that.

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