Shepherds of Healing highlights Udeme Umana for the “Always be a Shepherd” series.

Allow us to introduce Udeme Umana, an HR business leader with Netflix!

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Let us tell you a little about Udeme Umana.

Udeme Umana is an HR business leader with an extensive background in the Healthcare, Technology, and Entertainment space. Over the past decade, Udeme has partnered with business leaders to drive organizational excellence with a focus on people strategy, developed scalable organizational structures for hyper-growth businesses, and helped build healthy, diversified talent pipelines to feed a culture high-performance. He received his B.A in Business Mgmt from Albany State University and is a graduate of Cornell’s Executive Leadership and Strategic Program. He also holds a certification from the Gallup Organization for Talent Identification and Self-Perceiver Perception. Over the past 3 years, Udeme has served as a board member of livreal.org, a non-profit organization that focuses on improving the lives of those who live in underserved communities both domestic and abroad.


Explain how COVID-19/ George Floyd's death has impacted you (emotionally, physically, finically, spiritually, and mentally) in a positive and negative way.

Both COVID-19 and George Floyd's death have been devastating. To see a multitude of lives lost and the thousands of families that have been negatively impacted by this has been heartbreaking. I have spent a lot of time praying for God to heal our world and restore life for the better post COVID. In regards to the death of George Floyd, I was speechless. I had and still do have a wide range of emotions. Some days I'm upset, others I'm sad for his family and loved ones and there have been many times that I have asked the question, Why? With that said, I am hopeful and inspired by the response we have seen from around the world. I know that changing a system of oppression that has been built for over 400 years will not change overnight but encouraged to see that more than black people are in this fight for social justice and equality.


Tell us about your company/occupation. What’s your biggest professional or personal accomplishment? Explain how you felt working towards it and how you felt when it was achieved.

I really enjoy my role as an HR Business Partner for Netflix. I have the responsibility of partnering with business leaders and their teams to help them accomplish the goals of the organization. Most importantly, my focus is to make sure that we do so in a manner that reflects the companies values and enables our people to do their best work! I would say that my biggest professional accomplishment was successfully coaching a leader through a transition in which he inherited an underperforming business unit. I knew that it would take time for me to gain his trust, but I welcomed the challenge and was more excited about the prospects of him having a positive impact on his team. When it was all said and done, he was able to positively curve the morale of the group and the team’s performance was drastically improved. I felt great about this accomplishment and it was just one of the many reminders as to why I love doing what I do!


What was your childhood like? Describe your environment from your house to your neighborhood to your school. How did these experiences shape you and your future success?

I had a really good childhood. I was blessed with two loving parents who instilled the values of keeping God first, getting a good education, and treating others with respect and dignity. My environment growing up was pretty diverse. In my early school years, my school and neighborhood were predominately white. I had the opportunity to know how it felt to be the only black kid in the classroom and on the playground. It helped me understand how to navigate in different spaces but also be comfortable with who I was. As I transitioned into middle school and high school, the demographics drastically changed and most of the people around me looked just like me. I really appreciated the sense of community that came along with that and the feeling of belonging as well. All these experiences have shaped me and paved the way for future success by allowing me to understand that despite our differences, we are all people with many of the same common goals. I am very comfortable navigating in environments that may be deemed as foreign to others because I was able to grasp and have a strong sense of my identity at a young age.


Tell us about your inner circle (close friends, family, mentors, relationship). How does their support impact your success?

At a young age, one of my mentors said to me, "If you show me your friends, I'll show you your future". Those words have always stuck with me even to this day. I have a wonderful group of friends, family members, and mentors that love me through my ups and downs and are always willing to challenge me in a positive way. Their support has impacted my success because I am able to leverage their perspectives and never have to question their motives or intentions because I know that their feedback is always coming from a place of love.


List a few habits that a young person should start implementing to set them up for a successful future?

1. Gratitude, always be thankful regardless of what life throws your way. 2. Read, it's always great to be informed and educated. 3. Physical and Mental Exercise (workout and if possible, find a mentor or coach that you can talk to bounce things off of) 4. Give, it's better to give than to receive (Actively find ways to be a blessing to someone every day).


Share a big mistake you made professionally or personally. How did you fix it and what did you learn?

A big mistake I made professionally was assuming that I knew how someone would react to some difficult feedback that I was going to give them. Once I delivered the feedback, I realized that they took it well and my assumptions didn't allow for me to be as forthcoming as I should have been. The lesson that I learned was that if you truly care about someone, it's important for you to let them know where they can improve.


What are you afraid of for boys and men in the future?

I'm afraid that boys and men could lose their sense of responsibility in our communities. I believe that men hold a critical role in the household and in the communities in which they are in.


If you could give your 18 -year-old self-advice about the adult you are today, what would it be?

Take an opportunity to speak life and positivity into every person that God allows you to encounter. You never know the impact of your words and how that can change the outlook and perspective of someone who is going through a challenging moment in their life. Life and Death is in the power of the tongue.

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