By Peggy Wooten

WAPA has been pursuing a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture for many years. We have provided leadership and opportunities for our current workforce to serve on the Inclusion and Diversity Committee, engaged in discussions about societal issues and offered training on topics such as unconscious bias and how to mitigate it. 

As employees are being asked to adjust to new changes in how we work, leadership has recognized that the behaviors found in an inclusive culture are more important than ever. Behaviors such as respecting others, working for a common good and consciously connecting with people who are not the same as you or not in the same situation as you are reflected in WAPA’s core values.

Helping leadership and the workforce practice inclusive behaviors and create a culture in which everyone is welcomed, valued, respected and heard is the primary focus of the Inclusion and Diversity Program. Where diversity exists and inclusion is practiced, innovation can thrive and ideas can be transformed into solid achievements that support WAPA’s mission.

Just like learning to play an instrument or a sport, achieving a truly inclusive culture means starting with the basics. Over the next few months, employees will see more and more D&I concepts introduced through leadership communications, Closed Circuit articles, the D&I Update and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity website. 

The purpose of these micro-learning opportunities is to help employees come to a common understanding about basic D&I concepts so that we can begin to work on strengthening the inclusive behaviors each of us possesses but aren’t able to practice as often as we should.

OEID staff will be collaborating with senior leadership, the Inclusion & Diversity Committee, our Human Resources partners, the Leadership Development Program and every department at WAPA to deliver quality products to employees. 

What’s in it for you?

Inclusion with integrity includes everybody. Everyone wins because diversity and inclusion are not just about physically identifiable attributes.

Every individual possesses more than 30 dimensions of identity. Any mix of these dimensions can trigger a judgement or an unconscious bias in someone we interact with.

We are looking forward to guiding WAPA on this journey and we encourage you to keep an open mind and come along with us. It will mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but we have been doing that for the past three years, so let’s keep going! 

Note: The author is an equal employment specialist.

Last modified on September 12th, 2023