To celebrate Black History Month, the marketing team at Acuative recently interviewed William Bouie, President & Chief Executive Officer at Sky Communications. Acuative has an equity stake in Sky Communications, who specialize in voice managed services and Unified Communications. Founded in 1996, SkyCom are recognized as an industry-leading certified minority business enterprise (MBE).
How does diversity, or the lack of it, impact our industry?
"Diversity means so many things as it relates to business. Diversity impacts our industry in a huge way because it has the opportunity to grow new business, open markets that were not available before, and tap into people and companies that can add mutual value to customers and suppliers. Consideration of diverse companies gives us opportunities to grow our business we would never see as a small company. Our small diverse businesses bring unique solutions that bridge a gap. It allows companies to close opportunities where they don’t necessarily have a core competency but they are able to solve a customer problem. It’s a win-win for everybody. Being a small nimble company, we have flexibility and can move quickly.
Another benefit that’s not as obvious is that our relationship encourages companies to look at other small businesses that they might not have looked to on their own. We offer insights into our network of other small businesses we work with. We can identify credible businesses we’ve partnered with that they might not have been aware of, to enter new markets and provide new solutions that aren’t necessarily core to a large customer or company’s business. Some of our large business partners have asked us to mentor a number of small businesses to make them aware of that. I take that role very seriously.
As our partnership matures, in the last few years, we are now in situations where we are finding large opportunities and bringing Acuative in as a sub-contractor. It’s truly a two-way street! Customers will work with the smaller business and use their advantage and designation, backed by the large company."
What is your favorite aspect of Black History Month?
"My favorite aspect of Black History Month is learning about American heroes that we have never heard about and celebrating the successes that they contributed to society. That celebration covers all aspects of life. Inventions, laws, entertainment, sports, they all celebrated something special and they were the first and the best of their time. Black History Month is American History that we should all celebrate."
Who is your role model in life?
"My role models in life were my Mom and Dad. They were great parents who demanded excellence, and had a love and thirst for education. They taught us that we were no better than anybody, but also that we were as good as anybody. They taught us to lead and not follow, and they taught us to go to the head of the class and learn as much as we could. Lastly, they taught is the value of the individual person and that we should all be treated with dignity and respect.
My parents worked multiple jobs to send us to Catholic schools and we had the best education ever. Our grade school was an All Black Catholic School and we were taught by All Black Nuns from kindergarten to high school. We saw their work ethic in striving to make a better life for my brother and I. My Dad did not finish high school, but my Mom did finish high school but not college. Even so, they saw education as the path to success. They worked hard and were dedicated to their family, something that is most important to me as a Dad and Husband.
They were special."
What does Black History Month mean to you?
"Black History Month for me means celebrating American History made by Black Americans that is not known or taught to everyone.
I am a child of the civil rights movement. We did something every year growing up for Negro History Month as it was known when it first started. I grew up in Detroit with a lot of civil rights happenings, and we would have programs and celebrate at our church and school every year. I remember vividly in the sixth grade, we had Rosa Parks, who was a friend of my mom, and Dr. Martin Luther King as our speakers at our Black History Month celebration. We, as kids of that time, were left with an indelible mark about what overall social responsibility was and what we were charged with to be the very best we could be. The celebration of Black History Month is about celebrating excellence, something that we all should strive for.
On a side note, I had the privilege of touring the MLK Memorial on the last day that the scaffolding was up and also meeting the Chinese sculptor, Lei Yixin, as he finished his work. It will resonate with me always. As we were leaving he chipped off a piece of the granite memorial and gifted it to us as a memento. I will never forget that day."
Thank you, Bill! Acuative recognizes the importance of Black History Month and celebrates the rich history and outstanding achievements that Black Americans have contributed to the U.S. We are committed to diversity and inclusion and are constantly seeking to create opportunities for a more just society.