- To avoid “fixing the issues” later, begin intentionally building equity now, starting with employee amenities such as child care and hybrid working options for parents.
- Establish and advertise a supportive workplace culture of kindness and excellence to retain the best diverse and young talent.
Equity in the workplace is an expected necessity across all industries, and two C-suite executives in the Detroit Region are setting the standards for such workplace practices, all while growing their businesses and profitability.
During the 2023 Detroit Auto Show, Walker-Miller Energy Services Founder and Chief Executive Officer Carla Walker-Miller sat down with Our Next Energy Chief Strategy Officer Deeana Ahmed to discuss their clean mobility careers and how to apply equitability to any industry and workplace.
Build It Now, So You Don’t Need to Later
The executives offered many options to begin building equitability, but offering child care and flexible working options were at the top of their lists. The child care issue is a business issue to them, as it can be the deciding factor for women staying in the workforce.
“Child care allows women to work because primarily when there is no child care, the woman is the one that by default ends up leaving the workforce,” Walker-Miller said. “And when women leave the workforce, knowledge, thought leadership, inclusivity, empathy … decrease.”
Ahmed added that providing equitable amenities and support is great for business and the overall economy.
“If you want women to also have the agency and the resources to be able to go buy an EV, you also [need] to support their ability to have that capability by having access to the workplace,” she said.
Think About Who’s Not in the Room and Establish a Safe Environment for Them
The C-suite executives challenged those with a voice to think about who’s not in the room when making decisions. From an analytical point of view, Ahmed said, “when you have missing voices, you have missing data.”
Walker-Miller additionally encouraged those who do not have a voice to “take two deep breaths” and speak up whenever needed.
“When we’re in the rooms, we have to have the courage to say the things no one else will say,” she said. “Courage is a renewal resource.”