Chris Scott lives with a higher purpose than self. As a Business Information Systems student at Tennessee State University (TSU), Chris served as a University Ambassador mentor and volunteered at his local Boys and Girls Club. He has long felt a calling to give back, to minority groups in particular. So, when he graduated, Chris planned to interview prospective employers that placed as much value on giving back as he did. When he attended the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Day at TSU and interviewed with Cummins Inc., he found such a place.
“The [Cummins] core values aligned with my personal values around diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), teamwork and caring,” Chris says.
And I’ve found in my short time here so far that we actually do hold up those values. It’s not just a marketing gimmick. I see it every day.”
Today, Chris is a Business Analyst for the Cummins CIO Workforce Strategy team. He’s responsible for internal operations like creating, defining and reporting workplace analytics, and also, for recruiting. He’ll analyze how many people work in the IT department, for example, and determine how to improve that number.
He also figures out how to find more candidates at HBCUs like his to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at Cummins. “I work on professional recruiting, too,” he says, “and part of that is recruiting veterans and other minority groups who maybe don’t have a college degree but have the experience necessary to fill positions. I’m proud to provide everything interns and new hires need for a successful experience at Cummins.”
Chris uses his own onboarding experience as a template for the ideal new hire experience. From day one at Cummins, he was impressed with his manager and the pace at which she brought him up to speed.
“I thought it would be hard to transition from college to the corporate world, but she made it easy and provided immediate learning and growth opportunities for me,” he says. “She really cared about our success and introduced me to the Cummins Black Network and Toastmasters.”
The Cummins Black Network (CBN) is one of many Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, within Cummins that help create a company-wide community by connecting employees with similar interests or backgrounds. “It’s an easy way for the company to promote and encourage DEI,” says Chris.
It’s also an easy way for Chris — a former high school and college marching band member who plays drums, brass horns and guitar — to connect with fellow musicians. Within CBN, Chris sits on the Music and Technical Committees and is a CBN Mentoring Circle Host. As a Music Committee member, he gets to DJ and provides backup playlists for “First Friday,” an internal networking event that he says, is a great way to celebrate Black culture and his personal passion for music.
As a CBN Mentoring Circle Host, Chris mentors peers and networks with Cummins leaders. His circle consists of nine employees, and as the Circle Host, he is responsible for creating a collaborative space, establishing a meeting cadence and monitoring attendance. “This program is helping me develop my leadership and networking skills,” he says.
Chris admits that one of his biggest challenges is public speaking, so being encouraged to join things like Toastmasters and becoming a Mentoring Circle Host have really helped him step out of his comfort zone and grow as a professional.
“My written communication is great, but I tend to be challenged when it comes to communicating verbally. I have been trying to overcome this since middle school,” Chris says.
“I’ve improved by forcing myself into positions that require me to exercise the skill. Although I’m better now, there’s still room for improvement. I believe practicing and getting feedback is the best strategy for overcoming this challenge.”
Somehow, Chris has grasped at the young age of 22 what some of us never do; that every failure is a step toward success.
“[Failure] inspires me to be a continuous learner and a risk-taker. I’ve been at Cummins five months and have failed a lot, but I’ve always been able to recover.”
One thing he wishes he had done differently at the beginning was to reach out for help more. He mentions a time when he needed help but was too embarrassed to ask and make a fool of himself as someone so new to the team. He soon realized, however, that “people are here to help at Cummins. You don’t have to know everything. No one does. We all learn.”
As an employee, Chris takes full advantage of the opportunity for continued education and learning through Percipio boot camps and training at Cummins. “When my manager showed me those, I was blown away. We can get certification for free? This is great! I really enjoy those trainings.”
As a recruiter, Chris talks to candidates about the fact that he is still learning, and reminds them that, “you don't have to have all of the skills listed in a job description, just 30%. So long as you have that 30%, Cummins can teach you the rest and make you successful.”