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September 8, 2021

A Conversation with the C.U.R.E. Checkr Resource Group Leadership Team

Checkr Editorial

Checkers United for Racial and Ethnic Equality, also known as C.U.R.E., is Checkr’s oldest employee resource group (ERG). Founded in 2018, the group includes people of the global majority (POGM) and their allies brought together to create a more equitable and embracing environment for all races and ethnicities at Checkr.

We got the chance to interview the incredible C.U.R.E. leadership team made up of: Jaylene Leslie, Customer Success Manager, Kevin Fonseca, Associate Manager Candidate Experience, Sentaze Keaton, A/V Systems Engineer, and Nicole Rockwell, Sales Development Representative. 

Together, they elevate the message of racial and ethnic equality and lead C.U.R.E. through monthly meetings, educational programs, community engagement, book clubs, and events. Let’s dive into the interview to learn more about C.U.R.E.

Can you tell us about the inception of C.U.R.E.?

Jaylene Leslie: C.U.R.E. was the very first CRG at Checkr and was started by four of us, Byron, Alica, Desiree and myself. We started C.U.R.E. with the goal to provide a safe place where POGM can be their true self, speak their mind and grow professionally and personally in a tech space that isn’t very diversified. Our vision was to help Checkr to become a disrupter in the tech space for people of color.

What motivated you to become a C.U.R.E. leader at Checkr?

Sentaze Keaton: C.U.R.E. is an amazing and unique ERG that connects Checkrs through education, events and much more. I always naturally tried impacting spaces that I am allowed into, hoping to make them more racially diverse and bigotry free for all. So taking a leadership role with C.U.R.E. was a natural transition for me.

Nicole Rockwell: I started at Checkr in March 2020, so I had no time to establish connections in person. I became involved and passionate about C.U.R.E. when George Floyd was murdered. I needed a space to BE, and feel grateful as they helped me get through the summer. Sometimes I find that being a leader simply means those who speak up. 

What surprised you most about the C.U.R.E. ERG?

Kevin Fonseca: How resilient we are as an ERG. We are constantly met with a lot of obstacles, yet somehow we push through to stay true to our color regardless of the consequences. 

Jaylene Leslie: What surprised me the most about C.U.R.E. is the lessons and growth that we have learned along the way. Also, we have put ourselves out there to fight for what’s right for all people of color and we continue to do this no matter how hard it has been. C.U.R.E. has been resilient in this space.

What is a C.U.R.E. moment or initiative you’re particularly proud of?

Sentaze Keaton: C.U.R.E. events like Juneteenth that are educational about culture that can lead to a greater understanding of other cultures’ past and history with the efforts to bring folks closer together.

Nicole Rockwell: How quickly we were able to get Juneteenth as an official Checkr holiday! I was very humbled and proud as well that our CEO, Daniel Yanisse, took a whole All Hands meeting to address racial equality.

What does the C.U.R.E. community mean to you?

Kevin Fonseca: C.U.R.E. is important to me because it is a community of Checkrs from different backgrounds and cultures coming together to talk about things. We created a safe space for anyone to voice how they feel without having the scrutiny they would have in a normal work environment. 

Nicole Rockwell: I am half Native American and half Black. I grew up on a reservation, and didn’t come into ‘my blackness’ until I was an adult. Last summer was especially hard with everything that happened; working from home didn’t help that. If it was not for C.U.R.E., I would have been so lost. I felt a strong sense of community and still do! 

Jaylene Leslie: The C.U.R.E. community means everything to me. Sure, we throw the best events at Checkr—but we are also a very thoughtful and kind community that loves to build each other up and celebrate each other’s growth and wins. We’re also very involved in Social Justice movements within our external community and have been fortunate enough to have a support C-Level team that lets us bring that passion and knowledge into Checkr. 

Sentaze Keaton: C.U.R.E. community means a lot for me based on its foundation that all folks of color and allies are welcomed. In most ERGS at other companies, they are usually separated by ethnic or racial groups. In the world I want to see—all folks are coming together having genuine dialogue to help build a better future for all POGM. And a place where these different ethnic groups can learn from each other and each other’s culture and history.

What are some goals of C.U.R.E. that you’re excited about?

Sentaze Keaton: One of the goals I am most excited about is creating more educational events for many different cultures and ethnic groups of Checkr.

Favorite C.U.R.E. event?

Jaylene Leslie: My top three events would have to be Black History Month, Lunar New Year and Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sentaze Keaton: Lunar New Year. Especially in person with the dragon dancers.

Nicole Rockwell: I enjoyed the 3 part panel that we held last November on Racial Inequality. It is still so eye opening and has made me grow as a person. 

Three words to describe the C.U.R.E. CRG: 

Kevin Fonseca: We hella transparent

Jaylene Leslie: Passionate, daring and inspiring

Sentaze Keaton: Community, revolutionary, fun

Nicole Rockwell: Change-makers, community, enlightening 

Do you have a favorite blog, article, or podcast around racial and ethnic equality you’d recommend to others?

Jaylene Leslie: Pod Save the People, Code Switch, Black Tech Unplugged, ACLU and Stanford News.

Closing thoughts

Nicole Rockwell: I’m thankful for the opportunity to not only be a part of C.U.R.E.’s leadership, but working for a company that cares about these social issues feels one of a kind. 

Jaylene Leslie: C.U.R.E.’s mission seeks to create a medium that connects people of color, builds inclusion, supports professional development and creates equality for all Checkrs. We do this by creating an environment for discussion, getting involved in civic engagement, while offering a safe space to express ourselves where you can bring your true authentic self to work.

Interested in joining a fast-growing company with a team of ambitious colleagues? Checkr is hiring! Check out our current openings here. 

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