In honor of Black History Month, North Highland is spotlighting the work of Shanequa Gay, a rising Black visual artist and Atlanta native. Her creative perspective across a variety of artforms celebrates the expansion of Black imagery, storytelling, and a deep connection to ancestry and tradition. Gay’s artistic vision is reminiscent of North Highland’s journey as it celebrates 30 years of Making Change Happen come April. The firm remembers its beginnings and looks ahead to reinforce its tireless commitment to people and community at the heart of its mission.
Embedded in North Highland’s culture is a deep appreciation and celebration of diversity, creativity, and artistic expression. Empowering local communities is central to North Highland’s philanthropic agenda.
“There’s an intrinsic link between art and culture that, once fostered, can give rise to greater innovation, creativity and collaboration” said Alex Bombeck, CEO of North Highland.
This link has the potential to advance workplace culture as well as stimulate local communities. “While support and recognition of Black artists is growing rapidly, many still struggle to get their name out there beyond their local communities. Shanequa Gay is on the up in Atlanta and was recently featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution as well as other local papers,” Bombeck added. “She’s currently raising money to attend the Biennale in Venice.”
In a bid to bring her Venice vision closer, North Highland will support Gay by commissioning two of her pieces. The art will be on display at North Highland’s Atlanta headquarters in the Alliance Theater room, where employees can visit and observe the rich history and talent that inspired it. “We’ve dedicated our meeting spaces to significant city landmarks. The Alliance Theater is one of those landmarks that seeks to nurture careers for local artists. Its mission is to expand hearts and minds—on stage and off. It’s a mission that’s very much aligned to North Highland’s own commitment to keeping people at the heart of every decision, both for clients and employees alike,” Bombeck said.
This is just one small step towards celebrating Black history. This month, the firm’s Black Employee Network (BEN) created two firmwide programs to educate and inspire colleagues on the deep meaning behind Black History Month and generated local Black History Month events across North Highland’s offices.
“Our North Highland theme for Black History Month in 2022 is ‘Amplify Black Excellence.’” Celebrating Black talent through an artist like Shanequa Gay and amplifying Black excellence by commissioning and exhibiting her work is an incredible way to bring consciousness to diversity and representation,” said Sucheta Misra, associate vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion and social impact leader at North Highland. “BEN is focused on building community for our firm’s Black employees. The goal of the BEN community is to amplify the voices and experiences of the members by helping educate the workforce on important topics that advance our firm’s mission to create an equitable environment and enviable culture,” said Teyardia LeRoy, expert practitioner at North Highland and BEN resource group founder.
North Highland will be meeting with Gay in the next few weeks to learn from her and gain inspiration for the commissioned pieces.