This blog is part of our 2020 Black History Month series.
Leandreia Coates is an office administrator with Consilio in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Leandreia earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Political Science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and her Juris Doctorate from the Charlotte School of Law. Leandreia has been with Consilio for almost eight months but, before the acquisition, she was with DiscoverReady for a year and a half.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
For me, Black History Month is a reminder of how far we’ve come as black people, as well as how far we still have to go.
If you could go back to a monumental moment in black history, what would it be and why?
There are so many to choose from! But, I would probably choose any meeting between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. I am a sponge for knowledge and I would love to sit and just pick their brains and understand how they communicated. Because they were two of the greatest and most influential black civil rights leaders, I would love to know what they think of the state of affairs today.
Is there anyone who specifically stands out to you in black history?
Yes, and this is a more personal answer to the question. I grew up in Iberville Parrish, outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana where my father was an ordained minister. My father had many connections, and when I was about five or six years old, he introduced my family to a man named Arthur Jones. Arthur Jones was born in 1917 and received a third-grade education, but he became one of the most successful men I’ve ever met in my life. During this time period, the town would often be under threat of white supremacists, and Arthur was part of a militia that took turns defending the residents. Later on, he taught himself valuable trade skills and was eventually able to put three kids through college during a time of civil unrest. I was so fortunate to know Arthur personally, and learning his story really changed my life. He acted as a father figure to my dad and a grandfather toward me so, I would definitely say I am the way I am today because of him.
What verbal legacy/piece of advice would you leave for those who come after you in your current position at Consilio?
Teamwork makes the dream work. It’s not for the faint of heart. It sounds cliché, but I say this because of what I have learned in being here. I have found that it is best to not slow down and lose enthusiasm, but instead, take everything with a smile.
What is something important you feel like you’ve learned at Consilio?
I have been able to really find my voice and thrive and I think this comes from being able to work with really creative people. There are a ton of phenomenal women here who have helped fine-tune and tailor me to become whatever it is I want to become. They have taught me to follow my dreams and that, you know, anything is possible if I really apply myself.
What has been your experience with mentors in the workplace?
Oh man, this has been a dream come true if I’m being honest with you. I have been honored and blessed to work with Tamara Buie, Brenda Engler, and Danielle Brooks. They teach me, guide me, and I can always ask any questions I may have. They set me up for growth and support me in any and everything I want to accomplish.