Jennifer Brooks

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Jennifer Brooks

Marketing Executive

What’s your definition of a professional?

Typically, I’d define a professional as someone that’s received a formal education in a certain industry or certain field and applies that learning to that specific profession.  It could be a certification or a trade but you’re working in that field.

If someone moved to LA and they are a black professional, what would you advise them?  Things you’d do differently, things to look out for--any advice you’d give them?

Before you move, look into the communities where you’re moving.  Understand those communities and the networks that are there. Although, work is critically important and we spend 40, 50, 60 hours at work, take advantage of what LA has to offer, especially on weekends.  Connecting with people is critical--it’s very important. The community you choose is very important as well. For one, your commute time. If you’re already spending 50-60 hours at work, you don’t want to add 10 additional hours (commuting). Choose wisely where you live from a traffic standpoint but more importantly making sure that you are happy and feel good about where you live and you feel you have access to a network of people you would like to hang out with.

How important do you think it is for black professionals get engaged with people who don’t have the same exposure?

I don’t even know where to begin.  Moving from Arkansas where the cost of living is very different.  I am still having sticker shock. Los Angeles is a very very expensive place to live. I don’t understand how some people are able to make ends meet when housing is very unaffordable.  Having said that, I do know that there’s a lot of volunteer work within the black community. I’m very proud of the organizations I see here. That’s their specific focus to give back to the community to help others.  For me personally, mentoring is something I’m passionate about. I’m a touch one person at a time kind of person. Serving on a board and working with charter schools or volunteering at public schools would clearly affect more people.  For me, it’s about young people. I’m passionate about helping young people and shaping them and helping them make decisions that put them on a path for success for their future. I see a lot of extraordinary people in the african american community doing that right now.

Chidi Njoku

Chidi Njoku  LCSW  Department Administrator

Chidi Njoku


Department Administrator

Looking back, what’s something you wish you would’ve known or been told about being a black professional in Los Angeles?

I’ve learned to embrace the opportunity to allow my voice to be heard in predominantly white admin meetings and hopefully influence how these people experience an African-American man who is both professional and capable. I wish I had a mentor who could have guided me to learning that sooner rather than spend all the years I did being insecure, lonely and angry about being the only one in those rooms.

Darius Alexander

Darius Alexander   Business Analyst  Originally from Washington State  Education: Bachelor’s in Finance

Darius Alexander

Business Analyst

Originally from Washington State

Education: Bachelor’s in Finance

Notable quotes:

Any challenges or anything upon moving to LA?

I moved to LA kinda under the assumption of what I’d get out of the city and what I wouldn’t. I guess I’m surprised it fit my expectations. When I moved to Oregon, there were certain things I wanted out of the city but I got so much more…

When I moved to LA ,the primary goal was job opportunities, sunshine and then living in California was a big plus because it’s a huge economy. The values across the state match mine more or less. There’s  a large black population in the Bay and Southern California so I wanted to be in communities that I felt comfortable with—so I definitely have that. The stereotypes about LA—shallow or individually shallow relationships, and hostility, I figured I’d see that but the challenge is trying to understand why the culture is so consistently the way it is.

LA is a high contrast city between the have and have nots, in your opinion is there anything that Black Professionals can do to help mitigate the issue?

I think they’ve (black professionals) already done their job just by being aware of their history and being supportive of their own community. I’m convinced, and this is what I’m trying to move towards, giving (people) access to information, showing them how to use a technology that will become mandatory. So there are a lot of tools right now that are cutting edge. Everyone in my profession understands In three years you won’t be able to get a job unless you know how to do them. All you have to do is introduce someone to that technology at a young age. It’s not impossible to learn.