Julie Wenah, Airbnb Consul, Community Operations was recently honored during the Congressional Black Caucus Convention in Washington, D.C. for Excellence in Work, Service and Community. The Rise Luncheon, presented by Big Ideas Group (BIG), at Joe’s Seafood Restaurant featured Wenah and several others.
“This was so unexpected,” said Wenah. “I’ve always strived to do for my family, work and community. It feels great to be honored.”
Wenah, a Georgetown Law School graduate, who previously worked for the Obama Administration says her sense of community comes from her parents, Houston upbringing and Nigerian roots.
Wenah said, “Culture, wherever you are, you carry with you and no matter the space or place we are better together – building one another up.
“Working for President Obama and Mrs. Obama was amazing. I learned a lot from the best – they were a great example. Wenah says she dedicates her award to her deceased father and living mother who taught her the art of persistence and perseverance. “We all face challenges and when we reap the triumphs it makes the journey well worthwhile.”
As the president of the Black Employee Resources Group (BERG) at Airbnb, Wenah leads within one of the most powerful companies of the shared economy. “Our group ensures that people of color, Black, African American, Black Latina, Caribbean or African, have a sense of community within the company that enhances our employment experience.”
The BERG hosted a Black tech panel for Oakland Unified School District students along with a screening of Black Panther during Black History Month.
“It’s always wonderful to see the next generation learning from people who reflect their community. This helps them see more clearly what’s possible, what’s achievable,” said Wenah.
Wenah and the BERG team also hosted a Juneteenth celebration and Black business bazaar at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.
“It’s important to bring the community into our space. Oftentimes large companies are a huge presence in a community with no ties. Our core business is platform that bringing people together throughout the world, so why not open our own backyard,” she said.
Wenah’s peers say she has a knack for bringing people together. At her own birthday party she hosted this summer, she created a self reflective atmosphere by requesting guests to share their favorite song and vision for themselves. Guests were pleasantly surprised that the exercise was in fact a musical cipher that they all participated in as she videotaped.
When not providing legal support for Airbnb, Wenah leads a weekly dance class at work, produces music and attends conferences. Wenah hopes to provide young women and girls with a platform that helps them reach their full potential.
“By providing them the tools, mentorship and living examples, they can transform this world we live in,” she said.