Black History Month – Terrena Kayondo

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. It developed due to the lack of black history being taught. Woodson chose the second week in February, as it encompassed both Frederick Douglass’ birthday on February 14 and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 dates the Black community had, at that time, celebrated for decades.

O’Neal Manufacturing Services (OMS) is taking part in this year’s celebration by spotlighting members of our staff whose exemplary work assist the mission of OMS every day.

Our first spotlight is Terrena Kayondo, she is the HRBP in our Louisville, KY location. Listen to know about how black history has shaped her life.

Tell us about your current role?

In my current role I am the HRBP in Louisville, KY. I assist the plant leadership, employees, and organization with reaching our goals while ensuring the mission and values are embedded in my daily activities.  I also lead the Diversity and Inclusion Team with OMS.  In this role I am leading the initiative to ensure that OMS is a company that all people feel welcomed, respected, and included in all levels of the organization.

Tell us about a moment in Black History that influenced or shaped your career/life.

Every moment in Black History shaped my career in one way or another.  Without the sacrifices of many of my ancestors, I would not even be able to be asked this question now and in the role I hold today. Their selflessness to keep pushing and never give up was instilled in me by my aunt and gave me the drive I have today.

The moment in Black History that has affected and changed me the most is the killing of George Floyd.  Prior to his death, I was aware of my history and celebrated it in my own right.  With his death it was if the inner voice spoke out and began to correct and speak out to the injustices, and failures that we have long overlooked and accepted.  Prior to this I just listened and tried to be the person that worked 10x harder to dispel the myths and stereotypes. The reaction to his death finally gave me hope that we can come together to finally combat inequalities in the workplace and society.  It also helped me learn more about my black history beyond Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks. Now I proceed with purpose, passion, and persistence.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

My family really motivates me.  I want to be able to show my son that he can reach any goal he sets no matter his color or what his last name may be. I also find being able to try to help just one employee or make a difference in their life drives me to work hard each day.

What are you most proud of in your life/career?

I am most proud of being true to myself and not allowing obstacles get in the way of being successful.  I am also most proud of making the decision to step out on faith and put my family first.