Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black people in America, past and present. This February, Best Buy is proud to highlight the central role its black employees, leaders and vendors play in writing the next chapter of the company, our communities and the tech industry.
Walk into the Best Buy store in Maple Grove, Minnesota, and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter the bright smiles of Kalif Ahmed and Amir Mussa – first-generation Americans, cousins and co-workers.
“Our parents taught us from a young age to take advantage of growing up here,” 20-year-old Amir said. “So, when we show up at work, we do it with gratitude and a smile.”
Thirty years ago, their fathers fled civil war in Ethiopia, a landlocked country in northeastern Africa. Even in times of peace, the country lacked infrastructure, housing and opportunities.
“We are striving for generational success,” said Kalif, 21. “Our parents came to America without any education, possessions or knowing any English. Our dads each worked as dishwashers and eventually became homeowners, so imagine what we can do.”
See examples, be examples
While they haven’t settled on what ultimate success looks like for them, they are inspired daily by the role models they see at Best Buy.
“When I visit our corporate campus and see black men and women on the Board of Directors’ wall, I think, ‘That could be me!’” said Amir.
And then there’s their general manager, Hal Reynolds, someone the cousins say they look up to and respect. The feeling is mutual.
“The way these young men carry themselves is inspiring,” Hal said. “Amir is all about lifting up others wherever he goes. Kalif just loves the connection and difference he gets to make when helping a customer. They both have a commitment to make their families proud, and you can tell they understand that what they do impacts others who look like them.”
That’s part of the reason Amir started a mentorship program for children of immigrants. Since many of the participants’ parents don’t speak English, Amir said he and the other mentors will help with homework assignments.
“We also focus on real life lessons, like being honest and never giving up,” he said. “But most importantly, in my opinion, we are there for them, whether that’s to talk, play basketball or just sit together.”
And they always demonstrate the power of a smile.
“When you do it, you feel better and make everyone around you feel better,” Kalif said. “And it’s free, so you’ve got nothing to lose!”
To learn more about working at Best Buy, check out our careers page.
Celebrate Black History Month with accessories and movies, available exclusively at BestBuy.com.