ITE Journal - May 2021 - 28

within our firm including: Black employees, Hispanic employees,
Women, LGBTQ Community, Veterans, Physical and Cognitive
Challenged, Global Ethnicities, and Career Diversity.
The firm also recently developed an Action Plan for Advancing
Justice and Equality, accelerating actions that were well underway
at Jacobs (for more visit www.jacobs.com/equality). If anything,
the events of 2020 were the catalyst to reemphasize discussions and
initiatives that were already taking place. This plan was introduced
during a series of " courageous conversations " that took place
globally. Over a six to eight month period, Jacobs estimates that we
had more than 200 calls in various regions of our organization to
discuss the racial inequities in society and in the workplace. These
conversations were extremely transparent, allowing employees to
share their stories, speak from varying perspectives, and express
themselves in a way that many have never had the opportunity to
do before. These conversations created a " safe place " to share, and
for others to listen and learn. As a result, many points of view have
changed after hearing the impact that racial inequities have on the
everyday life of their coworkers.
These I&D efforts create an inclusive environment and culture
that transcends how we conduct business, compose project teams,
recruit new employees, and retain employees. We are creating a
workplace where diverse employees feel included, feel heard, and
are advanced into leadership roles not traditionally fulfilled by
diverse candidates, which can be an example for other firms and
organizations looking to do the same.

Representation Matters
As your organization considers implementing I&D initiatives there
will be challenges along the way. As you create employee resource
groups, I&D councils, or even appoint a I&D leader, consider
the following:

Freddie Fuller representing APTA at the " Introduction to Infrastructure
Careers - Gateway to Opportunity " Cardozo TransSTEM Academy 2019
Summer Program Graduation.
28

May 2021

i te j o urnal

ƒ	 Include employees from all levels within your organization.
Beyond ensuring racial diversity, be inclusive of gender,
disability, and other unique qualities.
ƒ	 Some employees may a feel left out of the process. Develop
platforms that allow all employees the option to contribute if
they desire to participate.
Most organizations have struggled with I&D efforts and many are
implementing I&D teams successfully. We have to remember that I&D
is not about a moment in time or a passing initiative. I believe organizations that are successful in the I&D space are the ones that recognize
that a significant culture change is required within the workplace.
Companies that are successful in I&D have likely prioritized it very
similarly to how they prioritize their safety culture. Safety is ingrained
in every aspect of how many organizations conduct their business,
and I&D has to be treated in the same way. Every aspect of our work
should take I&D into consideration. Here are some suggested steps
that could help increase the visibility of your I&D efforts:
ƒ	 Open meetings with a " culture of caring moment " as
opposed to a " safety " moment
ƒ	 Align I&D goals with employee performance, especially at
the leadership and management levels
ƒ	 Be intentional about addressing groups that have been
historically disadvantaged within the organization
ƒ	 Do not be afraid to talk about race

From the Top, Down
Addressing concerns with equity, both on boards and within
organizational leadership, can ultimately influence how transportation services are developed and delivered. I have the pleasure of
serving on two industry boards where we talk about this relationship, giving me firsthand experience in addressing concerns about
the composition of the leadership of the organization. These efforts
have led to leadership becoming more reflective of the membership
that the organization serves, and-ultimately-the community its
agency members serve.
Both the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials
(COMTO) and the American Public Transportation Association
(APTA) are continuing to take steps to ensure that transportation
organizations around the country are more reflective of their
communities at all levels-from boardrooms to C-suites, all the way
to the frontline employees serving their customers daily.
COMTO. Founded in 1971 at Howard University, COMTO
is celebrating 50 years of fighting for diverse leadership in transportation, and we continue to create opportunities for people of
color to network and interact with leaders that look like them.
COMTO offers training and professional development to ensure
that minority transportation leaders understand the latest


http://www.jacobs.com/equality

ITE Journal - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - May 2021

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