Our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Journey 


Our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Journey 

by Kara Hopkins
Posted June 29, 2022

Our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Journey 

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Committee here at BBBSEM is an employee-led committee that provides education, advocacy, and opportunities to ensure that we are building an agency that is reflective of our program participants, staff members, and the diverse world we live in. We aspire to strengthen, celebrate, and empower everyone we can as a core part of our work. With Pride Month winding down, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share about a project we have been working on over the past year.

In an effort to make BBBSEM as welcoming and inclusive as possible to our matches and staff, SOGI collaborated with another organization,  GDIBC , to obtain our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Business Certification. GDIBC gave BBBSEM the tools to become more inclusive of transgender and gender diverse individuals, and to create spaces where people feel comfortable being themselves.

This process was an effort by the entire organization. While SOGI took the lead, every single BBBSEM team member participated. We were introduced to GDIBC by Program Services Director Carly Segreti, Sam Phillips collected and organized documents to be reviewed from every area of our organization; a mammoth undertaking, and SOGI prepared to put best practices into place even before the entire staff participated in a two-day training.

We really want to highlight how incredible this training was. We as a staff were educated, but also moved emotionally. We were given the tools to be inclusive professionals, to be stronger LGBTQ+ allies, and how to teach others to do the same. We learned how important language choices can be, we practiced how to respond to microaggressions, and we were given space to ask questions and to learn. The training was incredibly powerful and many staff left feeling better equipped to be active allies.

After the trainings, SOGI had several follow up meetings with GDIBC to continue to learn and to receive feedback on the documents they reviewed and learned how to improve them. We have already made physical changes to our offices to make them safer and more welcoming. This is an ongoing process but it’s one that we’re excited to continue!

SOGI leadership will continue to check in with GDIBC at regular intervals to be sure we are doing our best to guide the agency as we continue on our Gender Diversity and Inclusion journey. All new staff has GDIBC training as a part of their onboarding. Any new content created by BBBSEM will use our inclusive language standards, and anything being reused will be updated.  SOGI is providing guidance for every interagency department to help ensure we are putting our best foot forward when engaging with other organizations or anyone outside of our agency.

This project will be an integral piece of all parts of our agency work from now on. We love to be able to say that, and would not have it any other way.

With Pride,
Hillary, Jessica and Erin
SOGI co-leads & SOGI Manager Sponsor

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