Beyond the Flag: Equity in the Workplace

By: Julie Drinkhahn, Director of Philanthropy

At this month’s Coffee & Conversation on June 9, a few dozen community-minded people gathered to talk about the importance of equity in the workplace that affords team members the ability to bring their whole selves into their place of work. Too often people leave part of themselves at home because, well, it’s just easier.

The work environment we create for our teams directly correlates to their ability to show up as their authentic selves. And I’m not talking team-building activities at breweries or casual Fridays. Organizational policies play a huge role in the environment team members experience.

Our open and real conversation today helped me think differently about how policies at work create barriers for people to be themselves. And how human resources policies, healthcare plans, recognition of domestic partnerships and more, are hurdles that I, a cisgender, white, straight, woman, don’t have to overcome.

So how can we show up as authentic allies? As a wise attendee shared, “People get confused sometimes about what their voice is. Fight for equity in your own way.” And isn’t that what equity is truly about? Showing up as your true self – so advocate as your true self. That can look like speaking up when you see injustices, checking in with your LGBTQ+ teammates or stepping aside to give voice to the people who are experiencing the struggle.

If using your voice isn’t your thing, advocate with your wallet. Shop LGBTQ-owned businesses and support LGBTQ+ organizations. Whatever you do, be intentional about it. There is a role in this work for everyone.

I am grateful to Madison, a Pathways Career Navigator at Goodwill, who shared her story at Coffee & Conversation. In her role, she supports dozens of retail team members on their personal and professional development journeys. If she couldn’t show up as her true self, how could she possibly help create pathways to prosperity for others?

The environments we create have an impact far beyond what we physically see and I’m proud to work at an organization that takes that responsibility seriously. In fact, Goodwill has supported Madison throughout her journey. From her name change in the system to approving time off for surgery. Because of that support, Madison is uniquely positioned to help countless others see possibilities, seize opportunities and prosper.

About Coffee & Conversation

Goodwill’s Coffee & Conversation event series is an opportunity for all in attendance to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of Goodwill’s work in the community and how collective investments and advocacy play a role in building pathways to prosperity for all. 

Our next event is August 11 – Equity in the Workplace: Black Women Equal Pay Day. Register today!

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