Meet HBCU Grad and WarnerMedia Employee Aimee Sanders
As part of our celebration of Black History Month, we are featuring some of our Black colleagues each week. This week, we meet Aimee J. Sanders from Atlanta with WarnerMedia News & Sports and CNN Worldwide Communications, who also attended a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Spelman College, which ranked the #1 HBCU in U.S. News & World Report College Rankings for 2020. Aimee graduated from Spelman in 2015.
WarnerMedia: What is your current role at WarnerMedia and what is your day-to-day like?
Aimee Sanders (AS): I am a Senior Manager from WarnerMedia News & Sports and CNN Worldwide Communications. In my role, I manage internal communications and brand strategy. While my day-to-day varies greatly, there are always several communications to write or to develop a strategy for, along with branding events that engage an internal audience with our content and people.
WM: What are your schools’ colors and mascot?
AS: Columbia Blue and Jaguars
WM: Why did you choose to attend an HBCU?
AS: At first, I didn’t want to attend Spelman or an HBCU. Many of my family members and both my parents went to HBCUs for undergrad. As I’m sure many others were told, my parents told me, “You can choose wherever you want to go to school, but our money is going to Spelman.” I will say, within the first five to six hours of being on Spelman’s campus in Atlanta for admitted students’ weekend, I was wholeheartedly in love. To be in an environment where I was in the majority, not the minority – which was the only thing I knew growing up – gave me the opportunity and space to figure out who Aimee was, as a person. As an all-women institution, in addition to an HBCU, Spelman is a special place that allows you to develop without your identity entering the room before you, something that many people of color and women don’t have the luxury or privilege to experience. Yet, it’s such a pivotal part of figuring out identity. I also immensely enjoyed the promise of competitive academia and community. Before even beginning as a freshman at Spelman, alumnae in the Florida area and even the Southeastern region reached out with gifts, advice, and support. Spelman has such a special community of trailblazing women. I was so excited and honored to be a part of that rich tapestry with the likes of Rosalind Brewer, Jerri DeVard, Alice Walker, Marian Wright Edelman, Stacey Abrams, Pearl Cleage and Dr. Bernice King.
WM: What is your favorite HBCU memory?
AS: I have two favorite HBCU Memories – I truly couldn’t choose between the two. But for the record, pretty much every day of my undergraduate experience was heaven. While at Spelman, I worked in the Special Events office, planning things from Commencement to Board of Trustee retreats. The year THE Oprah Winfrey was the commencement speaker, we hosted a brunch, and there was one empty seat at the head table where Oprah Winfrey and our then President, the brilliant Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum were sitting. I was told to fill the seat at the table. I. HAD. BRUNCH. WITH. OPRAH. One of the best, most fulfilling experiences of my life. And yes, she is as amazing as she seems in person, I was completely enamored. My other favorite memory was my probate – crossing show – when I pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - Eta Kappa Chapter. The experience and the sisterhood I was welcomed into has been a lifelong gift.
WM: What makes the HBCU experience so special?
AS: I honestly feel words hardly do justice to the experience that Historically Black Colleges and Universities give to young people of color. For so many of us, we come from predominantly white spaces, and just the visual of seeing people look like you, being free of judgment rooted in harmful societal tropes, and happening upon those shared cultural experiences is truly priceless. The community is also the differentiator from any other type of institution. There is a cultivated alumni network that displays a binded and undying devotion to see the products of their colleges succeed and carve open spaces beyond graduation to thrive in the world that was otherwise closed to Black people by way of access or prejudice. The beating heart of an HBCU to me is not the experience while you’re there but the ways in which you’re supported once you leave. It’s an experience and a gift second to none. Homecoming is also a spectacle to behold.