Meet 2022 DK Shades Co-chairs: Derrick and JJ
At DraftKings, we know that change is the only constant. We embrace the challenge of trying something new. When it came time for the DraftKings community to step into the leadership roles for our DK Shades Business Resource Group (BRG), Derrick Bonnah (he/him) and JJ Gonzalez (he/him) put their names forward to become the second-ever co-chairs of this essential BRG.
The DK Shades BRG was founded in 2020 to support the BIPOC community, build a safe space for teammates to address complex issues, and allow everyone here to be their authentic selves. Derrick and JJ knew they had a lot to tackle in 2022, but they had the full support of our Leadership team and the global DraftKings community. Learn more about who they are and their stellar year.
Let’s introduce you and the work you do at DraftKings.
Derrick: My name is Derrick “De-Bo” Bonnah, and I am a first-generation Ghanaian American. I joined DraftKings in July 2020 and am a Senior Compliance Analyst based out of Boston, MA. I am very proud to be the DK Shades BRG Co-Lead for 2022! It’s been an absolute honor to lead this BRG - it has allowed me to grow in so many unexpected ways. I’m grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the community and culture. I’ve forged so many connections during my time here.
JJ: I’m Jerry Gonzalez, but I go by JJ. I am a Product Manager on our Casino team at DraftKings. I joined DraftKings in April 2018, and it’s been quite a ride since then. I’ve experienced a lot of growth in my five years here. Stepping into this new role as a co-chair for DK Shades has been a great and rewarding opportunity.
Being the second-ever co-chairs of this BRG, what were your proudest accomplishments in 2022?
Derrick: My proudest accomplishment was hosting the Fireside Chat with Jason Collins in collaboration with Mark Gagliardi, co-lead from our DK Pride BRG. Last June, the two BRGs collaborated to celebrate and educate our community about Juneteenth and Pride History Month. It was significant to host the company-wide Fireside Chat with another BRG - the conversations were honest, and the event was a great learning opportunity for everyone.
To host and interview a legend like Jason Collins will be an experience I’ll never forget. I think that sentiment resonated throughout the company. We received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees. The outreach of love and support after the event is something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my career. So proud we were able to put it together, educate our team members about allyship, and impact the culture here!
JJ: Organizing the Gather On The Green event alongside Meg Powers from the Women’s BRG was my proudest accomplishment last year. Meg and I were able to drive this effort with the support of many volunteers at DraftKings, our Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging (IEB) team, and the BRG communities.
The Gather On The Green event was the first of its kind. It was a fundraising event that we hosted on a golf course in Boston - we wanted to bring the BRGs and the larger DraftKings community together at a place where they might not traditionally socialize. We had over 300 attendees and raised money for three charities aligned with our BRG values. Attendees participated in rounds of golf, raffles, and pumpkin carving. People across the business, including Leadership, connected and built stronger relationships. We can’t wait to bring everyone together again this year.
What do you hope for DK Shades to achieve in the future?
Derrick: I’m excited for this community to continue expanding and fortifying the infrastructures necessary to grow. We are only in our second full year of having BRGs here at DraftKings. While we did a lot last year to build on the momentum set by the previous co-chairs, there is still a lot to do in this space. I want to see our work scale to different locations across the globe and create more partnerships and opportunities for our community to thrive. As we continue to work to expand our footprint, I’m eager to have more discussions with folks at DraftKings so we can aspire to be better and improve. The DK Shades community should be proud of what they’ve accomplished as a team. I’m thrilled to see this group grow.
JJ: I can’t wait to have more teammates join DK Shades and be more intentional with our efforts across each location. When we started as co-chairs, one of our core goals was to give our teammates more opportunities to take action and get involved within their local communities. Throughout last year, we’ve learned a lot as leaders and how we can positively impact the people around us. We’ve been inspired by everyone who has stepped up to support and help us. I hope that energy continues into this year.
2022 was an incredible year for all our BRGs - they accomplished several significant milestones with the support of our community and leaders. We want to thank Derrick and JJ for all their hard work in making DraftKings a more inclusive place to work and collaborate.