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Published by osei.t.charles, 2021-05-05 14:31:45

ABL Thrive Newsletter 2021: The Silver Lining Edition

2021: The Silver Lining

Brought to you by the:

ABL Communications,
Marketing & Digital Committee



From the Chairmen’s Desk


Whew… It feels like ages ago when ABL was just a budding idea born out of a need to elevate the voices of

our Black colleagues and allies throughout Quest Diagnostics. From the formation of the original leadership
team back in 2016, to the official launch of ABL at the closing of Black History Month in February 2017, ABL
has transformed into one of the leading Employee Business Network voices at Quest Diagnostics.

Since transitioning as the new leaders of the organization in 2019, we have overseen the growth, expansion,
and transformation of the organization from that simple idea to a valuable asset to both members, and the
company at-large. With the help, support, and work of our ABL leadership team and executive sponsor, Carrie
Eglinton Manner, we have:

• Completed chapter expansion into all six Quest regions
• Grown membership from ~900 in 2016 to ~1500 in 2021
• Expanded Black History Month celebrations from that one launch event in 2017, to now, a month-long
• Introduced annual Juneteenth and ABL Day events in 2020 to highlight Black history and culture, and to
drive membership and employee engagement, respectively
• Continued to deliver educational and development content through our newsletters, Yammer group,
Speaker Series, Mentoring Circles, ABL Book Club, ABL TV, speed networking events, and more
• Delivered community programs such as book, food, and toy drives, leading to donations of over $7,000
in 2020

We are laser focused on achieving our goal of promoting and supporting an inclusive and diverse culture at
Quest Diagnostics, by working to:

• Help make Quest the lab and employer of choice for Black and African Americans
• Educate and create awareness around issues related to discrimination, inequity, and prejudices
• Partner with and support our Inclusion and Diversity, Corporate Social Responsibility, Quest for Health
Equity, and senior leadership teams to continue driving an inclusive and diverse culture throughout the
• Provide a voice to members and allies, and provide opportunities for them to grow personally and
• Empower and support the communities in which we work and live

As we look ahead to ABL turning five in 2022, our future is bright!

We welcome you to delve into and enjoy this Thrive newsletter edition, as it
continues to be a critical asset in helping us to continue the march towards
inclusion, diversity, equity, and unity. Despite all that we have been
through in the past year as country, we see a “silver lining”.

Kind Regards,
Koko and Osei
African American Business Leaders (ABL) network


2021 Silver Lining Edition

In this Issue

Black Excellence


We are History in the

Making…………………………………...4 Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977), A voting rights
advocate, Fannie Lou Hamer was fired from her job for

ABL TV Interview…………..…….…....5 trying to register to vote and was nearly beaten to death

by police. This did not stop her, however, from helping to
Interview with Eugene Mahoney…....5 organize Mississippi’s Freedom Summer. She also

became vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom

The “Quest for Health Equity” and Democratic Party that attended the 1964 Democratic

Beyond…..…………..…………….……6 Convention to challenge the all-white, anti-Civil Rights
official delegation. Her speech to the credentials

committee was carried to many parts of the country and
Protest vs Patriotism: The Double led to more widespread support for the cause on March

Standard…………..……………….……8 13, 2020.

We can

Breathe. ……………………….……….10

In Memoriam……………………..…...12

Get Involved with ABL…………..….14

1. Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), Everyone remembers the
March on Washington. Sadly, few remember the man who
was one of the primary organizers of the march. Bayard
Rustin was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement
years before it started garnering the attention that it did.
He instigated one of the first Freedom Rides back in 1947

and was one of the founders of the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference (SCLC). One of Martin Luther
King, Jr’s most important advisors, Rustin has often been
overlooked because he was an openly gay man at a time
when it was considered unacceptable.

Seven hidden figures from Black History. (2017, February 1).
Retrieved from 2

Black Excellence Remembered
NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13
Famed Actress Ja’net Dubois, 74 (Willona Woods on “Good Times”)
NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, 101 (one of the inspirations for the film “Hidden Figures”)
World’s first female ordained Episcopal bishop, Bishop Barbara Harris, 98
Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Bill Withers, 81
Legendary Jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr., 85
Founder of Black Enterprise Magazine, Earl G. Graves Sr., 85
Award winning literary scholar and Professor at Rutgers University, Cheryl A. Wall, 71
Legendary rock ‘n roll pioneer Little Richard, 87
Iconic hip-hop executive, Andre Harrell (discovered Sean “Diddy” Combs), 59
Singer, songwriter, background vocalist Betty Wright
Former Memphis city council member and civil rights activist Fred L. Davis, 86
Longtime White House butler Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, 91 (served 11 presidents, including Barack Obama)
NBA Hall of Fame player Wes Unseld, 74
Founding member of the Pointer Sister, Bonnie Pointer, 69
Civil rights icon and esteemed congressman John Lewis, 80
Civil rights leader, The Reverend C.T. Vivian, 95
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, 74
Inspirational actor Chadwick Boseman of the iconic films “Black Panther” and “42”, 43
Former Georgetown coach and first black coach to win the NCAA title, John Tompson, 78
Sylvester Francis, 73, founder of Backstreet Cultural Museum in New Orleans
A former lead singer with The Temptations, Bruce Williamson, 49 (joined group in 2007)
Baseball legend Lou Brock, 81, who stole the second-most number of bases ever
Member of R&B trio The Emotions, Pamela Hutchinson, 61
Former Chicago Bears star and NFL legend, Gale Sayers, 77
Tony Award nominated actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, 70, best known for his roles in Spike Lee’s films
Chart topping singer of hit song “I Can See Clearly Now”, Johnny Nash, 80
Beloved actress Natalie Desselle-Reid, best known for her role as “Mickey” in “B.A.P.S”
Bobby Brown Jr., 28, son of the R&B icon, Bobby Brown
New York’s first Black mayor, David Dinkins, 93
Lucille Bridges, 86, mother of civil rights activist Ruby Bridges
Legal scholar Drew Days III, 79
Reality-based cooking contestant on “MasterChef Junior”, Ben Watkins, 14
Olympic gold medalist Arnie Robinson Jr., 72

Marcus Garvey Jr., 90, son of the famed Jamaican political activist, journalist, and orator Marcus Garvey
Veteran actress Carrol Sutton, 76
Tommy “Tiny” Lister, 62 who played neighborhood bully in the films “Friday” and “Next Friday”
The nation’s first Black country music superstar Charley Pride, 86
Civil rights activist and noted Memphis pastor, James L Netters, 93

We Are History in the Making evening after a long work week and was as
comforting as it was inspirational. My unread
copy was on hand and useful as a reading

from page 486 resonated with me. We are
history in the making. This is one
understanding that the past few seasons have
reminded us. Those that shared about what
they read from “Walking in the Wind” explained
how the Civil rights leader turned US
Congressman Lewis came from modest
beginnings but made the choice often to do
more. He walked side-by-side in more ways
than one with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He
chose the path to be a lifelong servant
advocating for equality and those marginalized.
“…we must push He made many unpopular choices that put his
and advocate and life at risk and in his final years, his political life
make real the at risk for what he thought was just. Those that
policies and decisions that can pull us together, read and shared during this event are inspired
that recognize our dependence on one another to do more than just for themselves. If you get
as member of a family”- John Lewis. to, please read this book, and you too will be
inspired to do more and make our past greater.
Did you just read the quote above? If yes, then
you have just read it in the Past. Even though it
was only a few seconds ago, it is still
considered to be in the Past. Time is relative.
Depending on your perspective the same
length of time does not feel the same. Think of
almost any text or direct message exchange …
depending on whether you hit “send” or
received notice of an “unread” message, 1
minute can either seem distant or go barely

This year’s Black History Month events held by
ABL and other supportive EBNs were
informative, entertaining, and numerous. So
many events that one event spilled over into
the month of March. The Black History Month
Book Club held a happy hour via Zoom on
March 5th.

The book that was chosen for February’s
reading was Walking with the Wind. A memoir Want more information about ABL Book Club (ABC) or the next book
reading? Please email us at [email protected]
of the Movement by John Lewis with Michael
D’Orso. This event took place on a Friday


hardworking, driven, and committed family man
ABL TV Interviews first person of I am today.
color on Quest’s Board

Eugene Mahoney

We are proud to launch the newest resource Supervisor of Linden Client Supply
from ABL: ABL TV! Linden, New Jersey

ABL TV is our new videocast designed to At Quest since 2016

communicate, inform, and educate all Quest
employees about relevant issues and It really opened my eyes
individuals within our company, community, to the value of life and
and beyond. relationships, and I love
spending as much time as
possible with my four
children because of it.

“I joined Quest
Diagnostics as a temp
and became full time in 2017. I worked on the
assembly line, including scanning and labeling
packages, often staying until 6:30 at night to

This first episode features an interview make sure everything got done. That hands-on
with Wright Lassiter III, President and CEO experience helped me learn how to make the
of Henry Ford Health System, and first center more productive when I was promoted
person of color to serve on the Quest to Supervisor. I was able to hire the right
Diagnostics Board of Directors. Moderated people and put new processes in place to allow
by our very own Mandell Jackson, VP/GM the team to finish each day’s work, such as
Quest for Health Equity, Mr. Lassiter takes us splitting lunch schedules so the line works
through his leadership and life's journey, and in continuously. I wanted to get our employees
the process, shared great professional and engaged and open the lines of communication.
personal advice that we can all learn from.
It is a definite "must watch"! “I’m responsible for one of the five Quest
Please click HERE for a preview of Episode 1, distribution centers in the U.S. Before the
and then we implore you to take some time to COVID-19 pandemic we were incredibly busy,
watch the full episode linked below: shipping up to 2,500 orders of supplies each
ABL TV – Episode 1 – Mr. Wright Lassiter III day to physicians, hospitals, prisons, and
others. Items include anything from needles
and gauze pads to facemasks for the Corona
Interview with Eugene Mahoney: virus. Now we are even busier, if that is

“Quest is by far the most supportive possible!
group I have ever been a part of”
“Something that surprises most people “My team of 22 people is the strongest and
fastest we’ve ever had. I am truly proud of
about me is that I was once homeless. them, 100% confident in them, and give them a
Being homeless turned out to be a life- lot of credit.
changing lesson that made me into the


“Quest is by far the most supportive group I and information to address the root causes
have ever been a part of. The confidence in me of health issues such as heart disease,
and guidance from our national director have diabetes, and COPD that disproportionately
been really motivational.” impact underserved communities.

The “Quest for Health Q4HEin collaboration with the NAACP is also
Equity” and Beyond! conducting a series of COVID-19 testing
events for underserved communities. The
program includes both COVID-19 PCR
testing and COVID-19 antibody testing. The
pilot event took place in Wilmington, Delaware,
in February, and the program will be expanding
to additional cities across the U.S. in the
coming weeks.

The first K-12 health program for Q4HE is
currently in development, in collaboration with
the Social and Health Research Center. The
program consists of structured curriculums

In response to the disproportionate and aimed at the four environments that influence
devastating impact COVID-19 has had on children's health: home, classroom, gym, and
Black communities and other communities of school food service. Quest will be helping to
color, the first of many "Choose Healthy Life" digitize this curriculum, which will first roll out to
COVID-19 testing, vaccine awareness and students in San Antonio, Texas, and expand to
education events took place at the other students across the country, starting in
historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in New Jersey and Arizona.
Harlem, January 25. At the event Reverend Al
According to a recent Quest Diagnostics
Sharpton and Reverend Jacques
DeGraff were tested to demonstrate the Health Trends™ report entitled "COVID-19:
continued importance and ease of testing, Magnifying Racial Disparities in U.S.
even as vaccines begin to be available. Healthcare," Black Americans view greater
testing access as critical to getting the
pandemic better under control. Nearly 3 in 4
Quest Diagnostics, in partnership with
the Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Action Black Americans (73%) surveyed view greater
Plan and the United Way of New York access to diagnostic COVID-19 testing
City, have since provided testing at as essential or very important to slowing the
events in New York City, Harlem pandemic.

and Atlanta with additional events to come
in Detroit, Newark and Washington, D.C. (Read In January, Quest’s Corporate
the press release here) Communications team conducted an
interview with Mandell Jackson, VP/GM,
Quest's involvement with Choose Healthy Life Quest for Health Equity, about the Q4HE plan
for the future and how employees can support
is part of Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE), an
initiative the company announced in 2020 this initiative.
to address health disparities in underserved
communities, starting with COVID-19. Q4HE is
Quest's long-term commitment to utilize testing


“As many of you know, in August of 2020
Quest announced a commitment to invest In
November, we officially introduced Quest for
Health Equity (Q4HE), along with a dedicated
team backed by SMEs representing critical
functions throughout the organization. This
speaks to how serious we are about walking
the walk and leveling the playing field for those
in need.
“Since launch, the Q4HE team has been hard
at work on some exciting programs in

with key organizations, while also developing How you can get involved
new processes, workflows, and materials to We are looking to build an employee volunteer
help fuel the initiative.” network that is passionate about helping to
address health inequities. We hope to utilize
The programs created look to encompass the this network to help support in-person outreach
following: & testing events across the country, expanding
• Federally Qualified Health our impact on communities in need. We
Centers (FQHCs) will have more information on volunteer
• Schools & Universities opportunities in the coming months. Be sure to
• Long-Term Care (LTC) visit our Community Page for the latest
• National Relationships updates.
• more than $100 million to expand As a reminder, please direct any inquiries from
access to testing and address health organizations or community leaders wondering
inequities in underserved how they can connect with Q4HE
communities across the country. to to fill out the
request form on the page.


Protest vs. Patriotism, The
before they apply force… the police don’t have
Double Standards any.”

When 2:34 PM: “They are shutting down the capitol –
evacuation everyone.”
working the
3rd shift, 2:35 PM: “If you never understood white
most of your privilege – a climatic example.”
start in the 2:40 PM: “Now Pence can’t certify.”
Jan 5th, I 2:41 PM: “They can do it on zoom.”
stayed up
way past my 2:42 PM: “It will happen but there will be
bedtime debate on how and when.”
watching the
Senate Special Election Run-Off numbers as
they were being tabulated. On January 6,
2021, I woke up 2 hours later than my normal
noon time, but with a slight difference. I woke
up to over 100 unread texts from my family
chat. This usually is not a good sign as my first
thoughts were of the worst. “Did a family
member pass?” “Was there a mass shooting or
even a global disturbance?” Below are just a
few snippets of actual messages among family
members: I was very relieved that my family was doing
fine, but unfortunately at the time, my country
2:05 PM: “Where are the rubber bullets? Tear was not. The events in the past year and a half
gas?” have been historic. Racial tension, global
pandemic, nationwide protests, and now an
2:07 PM: “The person they see across from insurrection in our Capitol. Things are changing
them is a human being.” faster than articles can be written.

2:09 PM: “Protesters up to the steps of the We find ourselves in the middle of making
House of Representatives.” history. Knowing where we are in this history
will help us get to where we want to be. We live
2:16 PM: “Imagine if they were Black.” where there is a difference in how groups are
treated. The creation and purpose of some
2:21 PM: “If any violence takes place, it is institutions have been created with unjust
treason.” intentions and still have lingering effects. There
is a silver lining, one where with this
2:28 PM: “They got in capitol hill.” awareness, change for the betterment for most
can be made.
2:33 PM: “They are waiting for the marines


We are History in the making. Spring 2020, be making changes to diminish this disparity.
Americans were asked to stay home since the The silver lining is that we can individually and
COVID-19 pandemic was officially announced. collectively work towards this goal. Progress is
After two weeks some restrictions were lifted, time consuming, but we are making history. I
and many found themselves either limited to look forward to seeing when all “protesters” are
working parttime at home, or furloughed. humanized and helped down the steps.
Graphic events were taking place and being
showed on TV and social media without the Gerry Colas
distractions of normal daily life. Some people
began to protest nationwide in revolt with the Analyst, WFM Traffic
Member, ABL National Communications Committee
hope of change. The Elections of 2020 took
place after heated debates with record
numbers of American voters casting votes.
Some people were not pleased with the results
and claimed the election was not valid, despite
no proven widespread fraud. In America, there
is still a double standard on how people of
color and White people are treated. The
difference is evident with how we are viewed
by the Media, those in power to protect us, and
the people of America as a whole. We can still
recall how some social protesters were labeled
as degenerates, met with force, and
questioned if they were justifiably protesting by
some. Do you remember what you, your family
and friends thought at the time? We can still
recall how insurrectionists were called Patriots
by former President Trump, met with light force Click here to read this
by the police, and were able to breach the halls story: CNN crew
of Congress. Do you remember what you, your released from police
family and friends thought at the time? custody after they
were arrested live on

January 7th, I woke up to the news that air in Minneapolis -
Congress affirmed the certified election results. CNN
I was relieved that the loss of life was kept to
single digits. I do not believe this would have
been the same result if most of the election
results protesters looked like me. I think most
are aware of this. This widening awareness is
greatly appreciated because the next steps will


We Can Breathe!

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021 we saw the delivery of a guilty
verdict in the killing of George Floyd by a former
Minneapolis police officer. We can all breathe a collective
sigh of relief, if even for just a short time, as this verdict
has shown that accountability is possible. This victory is
an important step in the long road to true justice for all.

We believe that with unity we can collectively eliminate
systemic racism, biases, prejudices, and inequities that
cause these injustices. And that unity begins at home.
Our Quest journey began last June with our CEO, Steve
Rusckowski, emphatically saying:

“Our company does not tolerate racism, discrimination or hate. We stand for equity
and justice …These are not just words …We will be judged by our actions, and you
will see our commitment to fighting racism, strengthening inclusion and diversity, and
closing the healthcare gap in communities of color.”

Our Quest Senior Management Team, our Inclusion & Diversity team, Employee
Business Networks, and many other colleagues mobilized to make Steve’s words a
reality, helping to deliver on this critical commitment with important initiatives that

• Adding a 7th paid holiday at Quest called
Diversity Day, empowering each employee to
select a paid day off that is meaningful to them.
• Launching Inclusion, Diversity and Equity
EMPower training for all employees. Celebrate
• Creating Quest Inclusion & Diversity Council to what is meaningful to
help set inclusion and equity strategy and ensure you with
business alignment. Diversity Day
Effective May 2, 2021,
• Hosting more than 60 discussions on race with Quest adds 7 paid
7,400+ audience members. holiday as part of our
• Donating $50,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Inclusion & Diversity
Fund. journey. Review the
• Establishing Quest for Health Equity with a Diversity Day FAQs here.
commitment to invest more than $100 million to
expand access to COVID-19 testing and address broader health disparities in
underserved communities; and
• Sponsoring Choose Healthy Life COVID-19 testing initiative benefitting
underserved communities, centered around a network of Black Churches.

So, where do we go from here? There is still more work to be done, and ABL will
continue to play a key role by fostering open dialogue with Quest and community


leaders; providing education on racism and prejudice; and setting aside a day to
promote, recognize, and celebrate culture and diversity. Our goal is to ensure that
there is continued progress toward justice and equity for all, and each of you play a
key role in helping us get there. Thank you.

“This is what justice feels like: gut-wrenching relief, exhaustion. It’s not sweet or
satisfying. It’s necessary, important, maybe even historic. But only with the passage of
time will we know if the guilty verdict …is the start of something that will truly change
America and the experience of Black Americans.”
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd

UNITY is key!

Koko Adeniran, Osei Charles, and Carrie Eglinton Manner
ABL Co-Chairs and Executive Sponsor


We honor and remember our colleagues who passed away because of COVID-19.
Please read their stories on the following pages.

Mark Douches (1958-2020), Margaret-Manuel (1958-2020),
IT Security Site Lead, Millville, Delaware

Charles E. Rouse II (1961- Virginia Robinson (1945-2020),
Senior Logistics Supervisor

Lisa Cole


Maurice Simmons, Sankararaman Gurusamy
Logistics Advanced (1951-2020), Software Engineer


Remembering our colleagues who passed because of COVID-19

Perry M. Buchalter (1957-2020),
Sr. Commercial Services Director for Extended Care (Retired)


ABL Committee Contacts

Communications, Marketing & Digital
Shamar Armstrong [email protected]

Samiya Evans [email protected]
Gerry Colas [email protected]

Alnisa White

[email protected]

Health & Community

Adrian Russell [email protected]
Carmelita Sparks [email protected]

Membership & Expansion

Latoya Brown-Clark [email protected]

Natalie Richardson [email protected]

Networking & Development

Joy Blondin [email protected]

Karthy Bhatt [email protected]

Andrea Paal [email protected]

Natalie Richardson [email protected]

Osei Charles

[email protected]


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