Our community relies on the essential work we do, which in turn demands a pipeline of diverse talent. We sat down with Gabrielle Camacho, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, for a few questions about how we seek out a variety of perspectives and why it matters.
Why is this intentional focus necessary?
If everybody in our community felt they had a fair opportunity and were treated with respect, then this purposeful work wouldn’t be needed. But clearly there are gaps. People are not experiencing the world in the same way.
If you think about the people you cherish most and hold most dear, you want them to realize their full potential. What if they weren’t able to achieve that – not because they didn’t have the skill or talent or intelligence, but because something was standing in the way of their success?
That’s why we continue to look for ways to improve our systems and processes to do what we can to ensure everybody has the opportunity to contribute and reach their full value.
What are some of the strategies TEP is employing?
One of our core values is that our differences make us stronger. It’s embedded in our culture and part of our everyday conversations about our work. We regularly ask employees how we’re doing. We offer resource groups where employees can share ideas and issues specific to their needs.
Our employees also work to ensure equity in our practices. You’ll find us connecting with veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce, for example. We also work to promote social equity through our community investments and seek to ensure that electric vehicle charging infrastructure is available in under-resourced areas.
Why does this work matter to customers?
A diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace produces better results. If we want innovative solutions that allow us to work more safely, more reliably and more affordably, our employees need to be at their best. Maximizing the full potential that exists in everyone is really grounded in building an inclusive environment that welcomes and values divergent ideas. It’s also how we recruit strong candidates and retain the valuable experience we have across our company. Employees want to contribute fully.
A diverse mix of employees also better represents the diverse mix of customers within the communities we serve.
What strategies can we incorporate in our daily lives to make a difference?
People sometimes ask if being kind is enough. It helps. It can be a difference-maker when we go out of our way to be kind and encouraging to people. But that’s not going to remove the barriers that some people face that have nothing to do with who they are, but are the result of systems that have built up over decades and over centuries.
So yes, let’s be kind. Then let’s go out and do something to make a difference.
That might mean being intentional about expanding your circles. Seek out that person who thinks exactly the opposite of you and have open conversations with them and try to understand another perspective. It’s not just OK to be different. Differences are necessary, because they give us an opportunity to learn, grow and innovate.