What’s Diversity Without Inclusion?
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, and this year’s theme, #EachforEqual, we are featuring stories from our leaders and employees throughout the week of March 2, across themes ranging from the importance of inclusivity to the power of allyship.
We asked our leaders to describe the importance that inclusivity plays in conjunction with diversity and how they’re helping to drive gender parity.
Helen Carnevale – Communications and Content Specialist, Environment
Inclusivity not only involves inviting a diverse community to the table, but also creating comfortable pathways for all to be heard. As editor of the Environment global newsletter, I’m thrilled to share accounts and images of our women employees across the world in all stages of their careers. Consistently featuring their accomplishments, awards and stories in a global publication advances parity and provides vision to young women employees.
Are you listening thoughtfully to women? Observe who you are and aren’t including in your professional conversations. Work to embrace diverse colleagues; your next great idea may come from someone who originally didn’t have a voice at the table.
Marissa Farrar – Vice President, People Strategy and Operations, DCSA + CM
Innovative companies are inclusive, and inclusive companies are more likely to meet or exceed financial targets because they bring together people with different backgrounds who have varied ways of seeing things. This diversity of thought yields a wellspring of creativity and prevents groupthink, thereby reducing risk.
I’m a spouse, mother of three, Woman of Color, on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y and prefer pronouns of she/her/hers. I have both the privilege and passion for helping to shape inclusive people processes and cultivating a culture where those people feel valued, respected and safe to speak their minds. I accomplish this by mentoring others, bringing awareness to unconscious bias through learning programs and sharing my own story about the intersection of gender, gender roles, race, generational nuances and parenthood in the workplace. It’s important to take the time to engage with others who view diversity (including gender diversity) and job qualification as being at odds with each other. I love to facilitate these conversations and I aim to create more opportunity for them. When we seek to understand the life experiences that shape our attitudes and keep an open mind to hear and absorb those of others, we elevate the level of wokeness and move the topic of inclusion from words to action.
Wendy Lopez – Texas Executive
As both a female and an out lesbian leader in the historically male-dominated engineering industry, I have the unique opportunity to prove to our employees that it is OK to be yourself and that you are not going to be discriminated against at AECOM. I also make sure to show up and represent AECOM in the LGBTQ community.
In fact, one of my favorite recruiting events is AECOM’s sponsorship of the nonprofit professional association oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology? Engineering and Mathematics), which offers one of the more diverse talent pipelines. This event is important for someone who is just starting their first job and concerned about whether they will see people like them in leadership roles. By having representation of the LQBTQ community at industry events, we’re providing young professionals reassurance that it is not only safe, but also encouraged to be who you are at AECOM.