Creating a Culture of Positivity and Inclusion: Q&A with Granite RockOUT Chair Deanna Jordan

Granite's Deanna Jordan describes the company's RockOUT employee resource group and how your company could benefit from establishing something similar.

Raul Medina, National Relationship Development Manager

June 12, 2024

5 Min Read
Pride Flag
Danler/Shutterstock

At Granite, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are business priorities and integral to the company’s culture. The company supports a range of employee resource groups (ERGs), including Granite RockOUT, which was formed in 2019 to support Granite’s LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. We interviewed Granite relationship manager and RockOUT chair Deanna Jordan about the group, its impact and advice for starting an ERG.

Q: What is RockOUT?

Deanna Jordan: Granite RockOUT is an employee resource group created to highlight our LGBTQIA+ community internally and externally while enhancing Granite’s corporate citizenship and continuing to create a culture of positivity and inclusion. Personally, RockOUT is a way to get closer to my Granite peers, go deeper in our relationships and be more authentic.

Q: Why did Granite create RockOUT?

Granite's Deanna Jordan

DJ: RockOUT’s mission is to create a culture of positivity and acceptance within the Granite workplace so that all teammates can celebrate diversity, feel welcome and enjoy their work environment.

Q: What are RockOUT’s overarching goals and objectives?

DJ: A few objectives we have for RockOUT are to:

  • Create a collaborative environment where all feel welcome without any judgment.

  • Highlight LGBTQ+ Allies leaders at Granite.

  • Build community with other LGBTQ+ Allies leaders and organizations.

  • Create a network and safe space at Granite for all teammates.

  • Give back to the community.

Related:‘Women Should Not Have to Do This Alone’: A Q&A with WE CAN Founder Jamie Brown

Q: How does RockOUT support LGBTQIA+ communities and allies at Granite?

DJ: RockOUT supports the LGBTQIA+ communities and allies at Granite by promoting a safe environment for people to collaborate and meet. RockOUT meets regularly to discuss, plan and take steps towards advancing our DEI initiatives. We’re constantly exploring fresh ideas and new ways to engage team members and foster a greater sense of community.

Q: What are a few examples of RockOUT initiatives and their impact?

DJ: Here are some examples of our past initiatives:

  • Participated in Boston Pride’s Parade to reinforce RockOUT’s message of inclusivity and solidarity with the Boston community.

  • Organized awareness campaigns and activities, including a virtual Jeopardy-style game show celebrating Pride Month for Granite teammates.

  • Donated nearly $20,000 since 2021 to the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (BAGLY) to support mental health in the LGBTQIA+ community.

  • Launched the Allison Ordway Pride Leadership Award, which is given out monthly to a nominated Granite team member in memory of Allison Ordway, a talented salesperson and longtime member of Granite’s Relationship Development team, who passed in 2021 after a long battle with cancer.

  • Displayed Pride flags at each of Granite’s 12 locations around the U.S., including Granite’s headquarters.

  • Donated over $5,000 to the Ryan O’Callaghan Foundation, which provides scholarships, support and mentorship programs for LGBTQIA+ athletes.

  • Hosted LGBTQIA+ networking events, such as a panel of “out” professionals from the business community, with the goal of uplifting and connecting the LGBTQIA+ community within Granite and beyond.

  • Raised money and awareness for several DEI organizations, including BAGLY, Gay for Good, The Trevor Project and True Colors United.

Related:A Q&A with DE&I 101 Honoree Granite CEO Rob Hale

Q: How are Granite teammates involved in RockOUT?

DJ: Teammates have the opportunity to volunteer, help with planning events, participate in DEI events and meetings and donate to great causes with great impacts!

Q: How has RockOUT impacted LGBTQIA+ communities and allies at Granite and the surrounding community?

DJ: RockOUT has provided a supportive community for LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies, promoting diversity, awareness and education. Through advocacy and events, the group contributes to a more tolerant and accepting environment that extends well beyond Granite. By aligning with Granite’s commitment to community involvement, we team up with local nonprofits to amplify our impact. Together, we’re not just talking about change; we’re actively working to create a better world for everyone.

Granite recognizes and values everyone, making team members feel seen and allowing them to be their authentic selves. We want to show everyone that they are not only welcome but also empowered, knowing they are surrounded by team members who embrace and support them wholeheartedly!

Q: What advice can you share with others in building an employee resource group focused on LGBTQIA+ communities and allies?

DJ: Creating an LGBTQIA+ ERG takes a lot of time, patience and commitment, but the return is priceless. Our recommendation is to think about the purpose and goals of the group and then work on identifying leadership to help. Once you build the foundation, you can work on branding, communication, member engagement, activities, etc.

Ultimately, participation is key. Start with the onboarding process and encouraging teammates to be active in committees and show up to events if possible. Don’t forget to offer opportunities for employees who work in satellite offices – they can make a difference in their communities, too.

Q: Why should individuals join their company’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group?

DJ: We highly recommend getting involved with your companies’ ERGs. Joining your company’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group offers a unique opportunity for individuals to connect with like-minded colleagues, contribute to a more inclusive and diverse workplace culture, be part of a collective effort to amplify LGBTQIA+ voices, play a role in shaping company policies and practices that positively impact LGBTQIA+ employees and lastly, promoting a more equitable and affirming work environment.

Frankly, it’s more fun than work! And, you might even find some new friends along with better relationships with your peers. Even if you don’t identify as LGBTQIA+, you can be an ally for your peers and the people in your life. The biggest thing you can do for these communities is listen.

About the Author(s)

Raul Medina

National Relationship Development Manager, Granite Telecommunications

Raul Medina serves as chair of the Granite RockOUT employee resource group for the company's LGBTQA+ employees and co-chair of the Granite Corporate Advancement Networking Diversity Inclusion and Development (CANDID) organization. The goal of both groups is for all Granite teammates to feel welcome and enjoy their work environment.

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