Tirranny Nettles got her first taste of the need for DE&I work at only 15 years old when her softball coach enrolled her district in a service-learning grant. Learning of the redlining, food insecurities, institutionalized racism and how all of that impacted her Black neighborhood ignited a passion within her. She continued to pursue this work through college and beyond. Today, Nettles serves as director of recruiting at Year Up Professional Resources (otherwise known as Yupro) — a career “where passion and purpose unite,” she says.
After taking her first corporate role, Nettles discovered just how desperately her perspective was needed. “I looked around the table. I was one of two women leaders, and no one else was brown or Black,” she remembers. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is why people aren’t making great decisions on behalf of me. There’s no one there!’” As she set off to create equitable opportunities for herself, Nettles realized she couldn’t change things alone. “I realized that for me to get where I need to be, I need to pull a whole lot of people along the way with me. So that’s what I do.”
At Yupro, Nettles focuses on transforming employers’ talent acquisition strategies to provide talent with career opportunities, fair wages, economic mobility and the opportunity to create generational wealth for their families. She is passionate about challenging the norms and shifting the culture within the corporate entities Yupro works with — which she says goes far beyond sending out Juneteenth emails and announcing grand calls to action. “DE&I is life, it’s my DNA. It’s those things that happen in the hallway. It’s the little grocery store moments,” Nettles says. “It’s the action that you’re doing when no one is looking.” She encourages leaders to truly do the work and “look inward to shed light on implicit or unconscious bias [and] challenge their teams to do the same.”
When Nettles is not engrossed in her work with Yupro, she serves the Dallas community through a national community service organization and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Nettles says it’s a genuine love for what she does, not titles or accolades, that fuels her. “On my dying bed, what will I remember?” she asks. Hopefully, a lifetime of rewarding grocery store moments.
2023 DE&I Influencers List