Abandon Stereotypes- Remove the idea(s) that the quality of an education from an HBCU is less than but be inclusive of HBCU quality professionals and their students. Promote a different view and abandon their prenotions of a professional.
As part of our series about ‘5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society’ I had the pleasure to interview Breion Moses.
She is the Founder of 7 Hillz Productions and visionary behind the ReelBack Film Summit. 7 Hillz is a full-service production company that prides itself on employing quality people and producing quality projects. ReelBack is the first film summit that focuses specifically on HBCU graduates and students. Breion is also heavily involved in her community and serves as the CEO of the Seven Hillz Productions Foundation, which provides educational opportunities and scholarships to new and aspiring filmmakers.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you’. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I grew up in South Florida with my Mom, Dad and my siblings. I was heavily involved in sports and my favorite was flag football. My parents were heavily involved in my education and believed in raising us in the church. We listened to a lot of Gospel, Jazz and Old School R&B music. I’ve also pretty much been a FAMU Rattler since I was born and I’m very family-oriented.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I don’t have a particular book that made a significant impact on me, but I do have some favorite authors. Zora Neale Hurston is one of them because she wrote about southern African American folklore. She resonated with me because I am from Florida. As a kid, I would sit under my great grandfather’s tree with him, eat roasted peanuts, and listen to his stories about ‘what happened back in the day.’ I would take those stories and share them with my friends (I believe that is how I received the nickname “Old Soul.” Zora’s teachings were through storytelling, like my grandfather.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
My favorite quote is inspired by a Biblical principle. I live by: “If I can help somebody, as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.” I take delight in making a positive impact on others and in the world around me. It is not uncommon for me to go out of my way to bless others, expecting nothing in return.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I believe leadership is about being in the thick of things. It’s the ability to work with integrity, put others’ needs before your own and increase global mobility. A leader needs to contribute to achieving the larger strategic priorities of the organization.
For example: When I worked in corporate America, I learned pivot in uncertainty while pulling all of my resources
In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?
I do not allow myself to be stressed. Before my meetings, I pray, meditate and listen to music.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This is of course a huge topic. But briefly, can you share your view on how this crisis inexorably evolved to the boiling point that it’s at now?
The founding ideas of America include “liberty and justice for all.” However, history has taught us we must question for whom. The legal framework of the United States of America recognized Black people as 3/5th of a person. They have created Amendments that should protect Black people’s lives and create access to power but yet we are still here. We see the unnecessary violence from cops and civilians. What we see now are the people tired of lack of equality, mistreatment, hatred, death, and racism. There was an attack on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and any university that supports “race-conscious programs” by the current administration to pull funding that supports these initiatives. If the United States does not fix the root of the issue and heal the exposed wounds of its past, this cycle will continue.
Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience working with initiatives to promote Diversity and Inclusion? Can you share a story with us?
My experience promoting Diversity and inclusion is complicated. It is never-ending because society wants you to look and act a certain way. I worked with a Fortune 500 company, and I was told, “We do not want to darken up the place,” so I set out on a mission to hire many minorities and partner with minority groups in the community. The first minority group that we partnered with under my direction was fairly new. I had to create a proposal and present my proposal to convince the company we should take a chance on the group. In my presentation, I showed how the group would help drive business to our organization. I believe any partnership should be mutually beneficial because they invested in our business; why not reinvest in theirs. As a result, the joint venture was a success we gained new clientele by appealing to Millennials and Gen Z.
This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?
It’s important to have a diverse executive team because the team should be able to relate to all consumers and be social conscious. I want to lead by example, so I am building a team of professionals to help identify with other communities, markets and the needs. Our world is multicultural and multiracial therefore, we should acknowledge the importance of diversity. For example, at Coca-Cola diversity is an essential part of the company and they offer diversity education programs.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. You are an influential business leader. Can you please share your “5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society”. Kindly share a story or example for each.
1. Values- I believe in HBCUs, Black-owned and local business it is important to invest in the community. If we do not values organizations or institutions that create spaces and opportunities for diverse societies.
2. Abandon Stereotypes- Remove the idea(s) that the quality of education from an HBCU is less than but be inclusive of HBCU quality professionals and their students. Promote a different view and abandon their prenotions of a professional.
3. Believe- Discuss something about faith. The workplace decision-makers will continue recruiting gifted minorities, a large portion of which are underrepresented, move past sincere goals; however, they really create comprehensive work environments.
4. Economic Mobility- I created my nonprofit to help students at HBCUs by investing in their education, bodies of work, and giving them a platform to showcase at the ReelBack Film Summit. Providing opportunities for others while you are in spaces of influence. Granting access to unrepresentative is essential to increasing economic mobility.
5. Mentor- I speak life and advise students in their capacity that their goals and dreams are attainable. I believe the universe uses us to assist not only our dreams and goals but also others.
We are going through a rough period now. Are you optimistic that this issue can eventually be resolved? Can you explain?
I am optimistic that the issue can be resolved because there acknowledging that racial diversity is needed. We need black voices, especially black women because we are the backbone of this country and they aren’t acknowledged enough. For example, Stacey Abrahams’ mission is to protect the Georgians vote from voter suppression.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to sit with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee because we have a few things in common. We’re both Black women working for social change, our bachelor’s degrees are in Political Science and I have always admired her hairstyles. Lastly, she embodies style and grace!
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can visit our website at sevenhillz.com, like us on Facebook: Seven Hillz Productions and Instagram: @sevenhillzproductions, @sevenhillzfoundation and @reelbackfilmsummit.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!