By Rob Ferguson
Let’s face it – talking about inclusion and diversity can be hard.
Often, it makes us feel vulnerable and at times uncomfortable, but the conversation itself is so important.
That’s why Clorox joined 150 companies in the CEO Action Day of Understanding in December, and that’s why we created a similar event for our summer interns. We wanted to show them how an inclusive work culture can look and feel and inspire them to take that knowledge and experience with them when they leave Clorox.
Our intern Day of Understanding consisted of a series of interactive sessions to encourage people to share their experiences and listen to one another discuss topics related to I&D. Michelle Talford and Dalia Ballesteros-Torres from our Clorox I&D team and Lauren Powell from our Pride employee resource group facilitated the sessions, which covered topics like personal values, unconscious bias and more.
The conversations were open and honest. And they created a space for our interns to reflect not only on their own experiences but also the experiences of others.
Here’s what some of our interns had to say about the experience:
- “I learned a lot about myself, like when we discussed parts of ourselves that we conceal or “cover” in the workplace to seem less different from our colleagues,” said Sanmi Toyobo, IT intern. “It required a lot of introspection because I had to ask myself ‘Who exactly am I presenting to my co-workers, and how is she different from who I really am?’ It was refreshing to have that conversation with my peers because we were all asking ourselves the same question and finding the answers together.”
- “It’s easy to look at inclusion and diversity at a surface level or even neglect it, which sadly happens too often,” said Vignesh Karthikeyan, R&D intern. “I really appreciated the Day of Understanding because our conversations went deeper into I&D topics like values, unconscious bias, equity and “covering” in the workplace. It’s important — and the day reinforced this — to promote a culture of inclusion, and create a space where everyone is respected for who they are.”
- “My favorite part of the experience was the privilege of listening to the lives of other interns. We all come from diverse backgrounds, and we were virtually strangers when this summer began,” said Allie Welsh, Sales intern. “The Day of Understanding allowed me to reflect on how grateful I am for each person and how I have learned from the unique strengths of others in our cohort. My summer internship was richer because of them.”
We hope as these summer interns enter their final years of school (and ultimately the workforce full-time), they carry with them and build on the insights and skills they picked up at the Day of Understanding, empowered and encouraged to push for greater inclusion and diversity wherever they go next.