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Black History Month Chimer spotlight: Chad Foster

a person with a beard

For Black History Month 2024, AfroChime, the Chimer Resource Group (CRG), whose mission is to uplift and nurture the Black community at Chime, set the month’s theme as We Are The Culture:

‘We Are The Culture’ centers on the vibrant tapestry of Black Culture and its profound global influence. We’ll explore the dynamic impact of the Black community on various aspects of our lives, from art and music to education and innovation.

In this piece, we explore the impact Chad Foster’s (he/him/his) Blackness has had on his life. We dive into what his Black identity means to him, how he shares it with others, and how it impacts his approach to work.

“One of the things that makes Black people and being Black so distinct and special is our broader history and heritage, as well as our many individual experiences in the here and now,” Chad says.

Chad’s own story starts with his grandparents’ experience in the South and his parents’ migration to Chicago. When his parents moved to Chicago, a lot changed for them — while they kept a lot the same. “They recognized that although Chicago was their new home, it was important for them to pass down the connection to our Southern heritage and where our family is from,” Chad says.

“My parents’ story is part of the origin story, for many, of what it means to be Black in America. So much of the history of Blackness is rooted in the South, but it has translated and moved into new spaces throughout the country. I’m grateful that they made sure to carry their values with them — values of treating people right, doing your best, and working hard — since they helped lay the foundation for who I am today.”

Heritage is a big part of how Chad defines his Blackness — and so are the many choices he’s made as an individual in his own life. “I define my Blackness as the culmination of all the experiences I’ve ever had — from learning about my parents’ and grandparents’ migration stories to growing up in predominantly Black neighborhoods, attending a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), and living as a Black man more broadly in the world.”

But Chad doesn’t stop defining himself by his heritage — he’s also an active part of crafting his future. “I find it really exciting and inspiring to be a part of the legacy of shaping what it means to be Black in America and, more broadly, the World,” he says. “Black culture and Black people are not a monolith — we all have the obligation and opportunity to define and consistently redefine our legacy and how our Blackness takes shape for each of us.”

The unique experience of attending an HBCU

While Chad learned so much from his parents and grandparents and his experience growing up in Chicago, attending an HBCU also deeply influenced how he shows up personally and professionally. “A huge part of my sense of pride in my Blackness and the legacy I’m creating comes from attending an HBCU,” he says.

“I went to Morehouse College, and my experience there provided me with academic, professional, and social experiences that have drastically shaped who I am today,” he says. “HBCUs play such an important role in the fabric of American society, and it’s been really exciting to see them celebrated for their impact and influence on some of the largest cultural stages over the last few years.”

Plus, there’s something very full-circle about Chad having his own Southern experience after his parents migrated to Chicago. “It was a rich reminder of their experiences and encouraged me to celebrate our family heritage and that part of my legacy even more,” he says.

During his time at Morehouse, Chad received development and training to prepare for the professional world as a marketer: “That’s where I understood what great marketing is — and received an educational foundation you can only get at an HBCU,” he says. Part of that was connecting with others similar to him in a very atypical environment. “An HBCU is one of the few places where I don’t feel like I’m part of a minority,” he says.

Bringing his Blackness to the table at work

“Having such a unique experience at an HBCU showed me that there are opportunities for influence and impact in all corners of the world,” Chad says. “A huge way I drive my own impact starts with who I show up as at work — and that is reliant on being able to bring my Blackness to the table.”

Bringing his Black identity to work not only helps Chad better consider other cultures and groups in his role as a marketer but also helps him get buy-in and, ultimately, reach more people through his work. “By bringing my Blackness to work, I bring my unique perspective and can better understand and be open to others,” he explains.

“It’s also about recognizing the cultural impact that other groups have, bringing that into our marketing, and speaking to those communities as well. I think about it as finding commonalities — the universal truths that we all gravitate towards and experience — and bringing those truly distinct cultural moments from so many different groups into our campaigns.”

In his work at Chime, this means Chad thinks a lot about who our members are and how we find moments to connect with them through campaigns that resonate — while always bringing his own Blackness to the table.

“I combine my cultural background and experiences with what we know about our members to make recommendations for how we can connect with them — after all, that’s why we do this work and what makes it rewarding,” he says. “At the end of the day, my approach to my work and the role my Blackness plays in that are part of the legacy I’m creating, and I’m excited to see the impact and influence my work has more broadly.”