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Pro Tips from Granite Telecommunications’ DE&I ‘Rockstar’

Kim Meyer, enablement project manager, explains why and how she does it all and how you can, too.

Granite Telecommunications' DE&I Rockstar
Rock sign gesture for music festival - logo, illustration on a dark backgroundBoychenko Alexey/Shutterstock

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Granite’s Kim Meyer

After 17 years working at Granite Telecommunications, Kim Meyer has made a big impact on the company and its culture. As enablement project manager, she has been an instrumental member of Granite’s project management (PM) organization, and now dedicates much of her time to supporting Granite’s DEI efforts. Some Granite teammates even call her a DE&I rockstar!

In this Q&A, Meyer explains what it means to be a DE&I rockstar, why she did it and how you can do it, too.

Q: How are you involved in DE&I efforts at Granite?    

A: Well, I’m an enabler. It’s in my job title, and it’s just what I do. I was very fortunate to help start Granite’s philanthropy initiative in 2008 with the founding of Granite Cares. We were focused on finding ways Granite could support its community, so with our other founders, I worked to enable that.

As the Granite Cares organization grew, we wanted to take that same outwardly focused energy and look inward to see what additional things we could do for our own employees. We started looking at ways to develop resource groups for our employees to get involved and find a welcoming place at Granite. We started RockOUT (a group for Granite’s LGBTQA+ community and its allies), CANDID (Corporate Advancement Network in Diversity Inclusion and Development) and WE CAN (Women Empowered through Collaboration, Appreciation and Networking).

Q: Why do you find it fulfilling to be involved in Granite DE&I initiatives?

A: I have always wanted to feel a sense of belonging wherever I was, and I also recognize that everyone feels differently in every situation or environment. I wanted to help create ways for Granite employees to feel comfortable and welcome. And I want all our employees to know that we value them as people — not only for the jobs they do.

We spend so much of our lives at work that a sense of belonging is very important. I want people to have a safe place to let their strengths shine, be able to discuss challenges they face and embrace all of the beautiful differences among us. So, I help drive the publicity of these resource groups and plan activities so our employees can benefit from them.

And through this work, I’ve been so fortunate to connect with different people that I might not have known before or worked with before. It has really been such a gift.

Q: You have been called a DE&I champion. What does that mean to you?

A: The word “champion” to me means “supporter.” It’s not necessarily someone who has won or achieved anything, but someone who supports something they believe in and shows up without fail. And if I have won anything, it’s the benefit of hearing all of the different voices of our employees. I think of all the ways our DE&I groups have helped people feel involved and included. I think of all the conversations that have taken place within these groups and among allies helping us all to embrace diversity. That’s what being a champion is all about.

Q: What do you recommend someone do to start DE&I efforts within their organization?

A: Create opportunities for conversation. We started by having a simple lunch for each group. We didn’t know what to expect because people value their lunch break as personal time. We didn’t know how many people would show up, but we got a great turnout, especially with RockOUT. There were about 65 people there! All it took was a calendar invite, a flyer and some pizza, and the conversations started flowing. After that, we started meeting more regularly, appointed group leaders and started hosting activities and events. It has been an incredible journey.

Q: How does Granite compare to other companies when it comes to DE&I?

A: We have a very honest and open workplace, and that starts at the top with our president and CEO, Rob Hale. He is the ultimate DE&I champion and incorporates DE&I values holistically across the company. That makes a difference in so many ways. It fosters free thought and innovation, encourages open communication and differing opinions, and strengthens us all around.

Q: What is the future of DE&I efforts at Granite?

A: Our efforts are constantly growing and continually improving. I look forward to offering even more opportunities for celebrating our employees’ individuality. That’s just who we are, and DE&I will always be a part of what we do.

 

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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