Where Should We Go Next?
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) is something that has been important to me long before I realized it. It wasn’t until I looked back at my career that I noticed that I have been participating in jobs, programs, and initiatives that support DEIA.
I started out as a civil engineering undergraduate student because that’s what interested me at the time, but didn’t know it wasn’t an option for many girls. I found myself lucky to have so many girls in my program that were also starting out, so I always had other girls to study with. They were hardworking and organized so I enjoyed living in the engineering dorms much more than I would have expected. It was a great environment and I know I would not have graduated if it had not been for the support of that study group.
Sophomore year, one of my friends helped me get a job in the BOLD Center. BOLD stands for Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity. I worked on the GoldShirt program where I helped students that were great engineering candidates get the support they needed to graduate given that they came from a different starting point in life and in schooling. They were accomplished and motivated individuals who have gone on to become successful engineers.
When I graduated and started working in construction, there were only a handful of women in my group, so two of us formed a women’s group. Now I understand those to be employee resource groups. Our goal was to help women on the office and field side of construction gain experience and exposure that could help them become leaders in the industry.
Now that I am working in a completely different industry, I get a say in what problems our company decides to tackle. It isn’t surprising that DEIA and workplace culture are problems I advocate for. I am passionate about creating environments that people want to exist in, that they feel comfortable in, and that they feel empowered to change if it doesn’t fit.
I believe in taking the time to support others. Giving back to the community we live in is one of the most important things we can do. My network at the BOLD Center resulted in me seeing a post for the externships organized by the Girls Inc of Metro Denver. I knew we were busy and at the time we only had a few employees, but I signed us up for two interns. We had the pleasure of hosting those two interns this past summer. Having those girls around for a few weeks was an incredibly rewarding experience for both of us. We are grateful for them and organizations like them that create these programs that make it easy for small companies like ours that are busy trying to conquer the world to also give back to it.
Bintel will be participating in the program again next year and we highly recommend other companies do the same. We are always looking for ways to volunteer our time to encourage diverse talent development in all industries, so please reach out if you have suggestions.
I hope to amplify the conversations about DEIA in business and look forward to hearing from you.