Metropolitan Board’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum paves the way for future progress
One-of-a-kind workshop for Metropolitan shares best practices and bold ideas for action to promote diversity, equity and inclusion
LOS ANGELES, August 26, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Continuing on the path to creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, Metropolitan Water District leaders hosted its first ever Diversity, Equity and Diversity Forum this week. inclusion focused on creating a strong sense of belonging for all .
Metropolitan’s board of directors, senior executives, employees and the public participated in the district’s inaugural workshop on Tuesday (August 23). The “Play to Win, Advancing Inclusive Excellence” event explored best practices for advancing inclusive leadership and strategies for supporting a diverse workforce. Speakers from companies and external organizations also shared the essential role of diversity and how these values translate into success.
“My life’s work has been to increase diversity and as Chair of Metropolitan’s Board of Directors and its first African American to serve at the helm, I know that our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion must go beyond mere commitments and promises,” said President Gloria. D. Grey. “True progress and our ultimate success as an organization depends on the strength of our commitment and the daily actions we all take as we work together to create a place of belonging.”
A recording of the forum is available here.
“Throughout my career, working to advance DEI has been my top priority,” Metropolitan Chief Executive Adel Hagekhalil said. “My commitment to this vital cause grew out of my own experience as a first-generation American and I’m proud to support the Metropolitan Board of Directors as we take the actions necessary to fight racial injustice and create a safer, stronger and fairer workplace.”
The forum builds on other foundational actions Gray and the board have taken this year.
In October 2021, as part of its ongoing commitment to improving its workplace culture for all employees, Metropolitan’s Board of Directors adopted a Statement of Commitment pledging to support diversity, equity and of inclusion.
The board recently established a first-ever board committee exclusively focused on diversity, equity and inclusion issues and a new committee that will address issues related to underserved communities that have traditionally faced barriers related to employment. access to safe, clean and reliable water supplies and resources to support investment and employment development in the water sector.
In April, Metropolitan appointed its first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer to lead a new office created to propel and support a positive workplace for district employees. The DE&I Officer also leads the District DE&I Council, representing Metropolitan Employee Resource Groups and Unions that collaborate on how to improve policies, practices and the employee experience at Metropolitan.
In June 2022, Metropolitan became a founding member of the Equity in Infrastructure Project, a national effort to increase equity in the nation’s infrastructure construction economy and help create generational wealth in underprivileged communities. represented across the country. In signing the Infrastructure Equity Pledge, Gray and Hagekhalil joined four other leading infrastructure building agencies — Chicago Transit Authority, Denver International Airport, Port of Long Beach and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority — as part of of the initiative designed to promote better access to contracts and other professional opportunities. At the same time, Metropolitan’s DE&I office focuses on workforce development programs to create a job pipeline for the communities it serves.
“We need to grow the diversity of talent in the water industry, including more men and women of color,” Gray said. “This means teaching and engaging young people from the start, supporting internship programs, prioritizing reaching communities that have been disenfranchised, and opening doors of opportunity to employees who reflect the diverse communities we serve. in Southern California. I am fully committed to building this reimagined metropolis of tomorrow in a way that embraces equity for all and a greater shared purpose for our communities.”
“I’m encouraged by the progress I’m seeing at Metropolitan,” Gray said. “We are honestly reviewing our policies and our culture. We said it was time to have an open dialogue about racism. And we shared our desire to build a more equitable and inclusive workforce. Now it’s time to have an open dialogue about racism. It’s up to us to continue our work together to build the resilient, equitable and prosperous society we all know is possible.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, together with its 26 cities and retail providers, provides water to 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and northern California to supplement local supplies and helps its members develop increased conservation, recycling, storage and resource management programs.
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