Fostering inclusivity and innovation: Lenovo’s commitment to partnerships with North Carolina’s HBCUs

Tejuan Manners, Executive Director, ISG Strategic Transformation Operations at Lenovo

Technology is often referred to as an “equalizer.” As a leader in our field, Lenovo takes great care in acknowledging that charge by sharing a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout our products and practices. As part of that commitment, Lenovo has partnerships with all 11 of North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It is Lenovo’s hope that this initiative, rooted in the belief that diversity is a catalyst for Lenovo to achieve its goal of creating Smarter technology for All, will be a driving force in changing the future of technology.

This commitment to reaching out and engaging partners at HBCUs within our home state is driven by leaders at Lenovo who are passionate about building and maintaining strong connections to those educational institutions. Lenovo’s employee resource group (ERG) Black Leaders Achieving Success in Technology (BLAST) and other employer-sponsored groups, including Young Gifted Brothers (YGB), regularly engage with North Carolina HBCUs to ensure students are provided unique, behind-the-scenes access to understand – and in many cases spark passion for – career opportunities in technology.

To foster new connections, Lenovo hosted members of the North Carolina legislature’s first HBCU caucus this spring. Rep. Zack Hawkins (D-Durham) and Sen. Gladys Robinson (R-Guildford), who both serve as chair for the caucus in their respective chambers, were among those who visited the Morrisville campus to get a first-hand look at Lenovo’s efforts being made to make and maintain partnerships with HBCUs. The caucus learned how Lenovo’s support ay HBCUs is used to enhance career services, provide scholarships, improve technology, and support IT-related degree programs.

One such standout success Hawkins and Robinson heard about was the recent HBCU Homecoming event hosted at Lenovo and led by volunteers with YGB and BLAST. In late October, students from Winston-Salem State, North Carolina A&T, Elizabeth City State, St. Augustine’s, and Fayetteville State Universities gathered for a day of hands-on learning and career development with Lenovo volunteers. From a campus tour to resume and elevator pitch workshops to an early career panel about making the transition from college to corporate, students were able to engage one-on-one with representatives from Lenovo. Beyond being widely attended, the event was also covered significantly by the top media outlets in the Triangle, sharing the impact it had on future generations working in tech.

But Lenovo’s commitment does not stop there. Through partnerships with North Carolina’s 11 HBCUs, Lenovo works alongside these colleges and universities to build unique opportunities tailored to their students’ interests, including:

  • Partnering with Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) and Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to bring the global Work for Humankind initiative to our home state of North Carolina. Students from ECSU conducted an educational conservation project that resulted in a new website, trail feasibility study, and an app to improve the trail experience—all while completing coursework, and all done on Lenovo technology.
  • The Data Trade Gateway program, soon entering its third year, which pairs up local minority business owners with students from HBCUs to serve as interactive data consultants for the business.
  • Bennett College’s soon-to-be completed esports facility, outfitted entirely with Lenovo’s best-in-class Lenovo Legion gaming systems, peripherals, accessories, and servers.

Lenovo’s commitment to North Carolina’s HBCUs is a transformative endeavor that goes beyond conventional corporate social responsibility. It is a strategic investment in a future where diversity and innovation are inseparable. The commitment to partnerships with all 11 HBCUs in North Carolina is not just a token gesture but a strategic imperative for the tech company. By ensuring representation at all levels, from internships to executive leadership, the company is setting a precedent for the industry.


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