As president of Bechtel Energy and the executive sponsor of B-PROUD, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) community, I am pleased that we are increasing our focus on celebrating affinity and heritage months like Pride. Raising awareness about LBGT+ rights, experiences, and challenges is important, not only in June but during every month of the year.
My focus as B-PROUD’s executive sponsor is realizing our vision of bringing together colleagues who identify as LGBT+ and their allies to help foster an inclusive and respectful culture. We seek to demystify the challenges people face so they can be their full selves and achieve their best at work. But, unfortunately, for some of us, the freedom to be our full selves is not a given.
That is one of the issues we are working to address with our company-wide Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) program and strategic D&I Action Plan. We are putting programs and procedures in place that empower all Bechtel colleagues, no matter who we are or who we love, to be our full selves at work. We don’t want any of our colleagues to expend energy hiding who they are to “fit in” or find acceptance.
I recently participated in EqualiTEA, an internal B-PROUD event where employees had the opportunity to meet B-PROUD’s global board and hear heartfelt stories and experiences from LGBT+ allies. During the session, I shared a story about participating in a panel at our semi-annual Global Business Meeting, entitled The Intersection of the Working Partner. The culturally diverse panel included three couples discussing the relationship challenges of having partners with demanding, full-time jobs. It was one of the most satisfying moments in my career to be a senior leader at such an important meeting where my colleagues could see me sitting alongside my partner Jay and comfortable bringing my whole self to work.
We invited our colleagues to celebrate Pride Month and participate in several compelling and fun activities and events. For example, we started a new book club where the first meeting focused on a discussion about gender-swapped fairy tales; ran a photo competition designed to celebrate our families of origin or the ones we choose; and, partnered with our customer bp for a panel discussion about the experiences and challenges associated with being LGBT+.
We see our diversity as our superpower and we host these events, in part, to ensure that all Bechtel colleagues, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or background, feel comfortable bringing all of who they are to work. The events organized by B-PROUD provide education and awareness that will help negate some of the misperceptions and stigmas around the LBGT+ community and create a safe space for all employees to feel valued, respected, welcomed, and treated fairly.
We hope that you will join us not only during Pride Month but throughout the year and stand in support of the LGBT+ community here at Bechtel and around the world.
Learn more about B-PROUD and Bechtel’s other business resource groups.