I would like to share an important update regarding SEEA’s work on diversity, inclusion, and integration. For the past two years, Pamela Fann, director of SEEA’s membership program, has been developing a plan to implement our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Pam took on this task based on her assessment of SEEA’s needs and her passion for helping people to learn and realize the benefits of a more equitable work culture.
As the national outcry for racial justice continues, SEEA’s focus on diversity, inclusion, and integration is more important than ever. To ensure our momentum with this work continues, I am pleased to share that Pam’s role is formally changing to director of membership and diversity integration. In this role, she will continue to lead SEEA’s membership program and develop and implement initiatives to further behaviors, attitudes, and policies that support diversity, inclusion, and integration within the organization. We believe that creating an organizational culture where all people feel welcomed and valued will better equip us to realize significant, systemic change in the energy industry.
I am pleased to share a personal message from Pam about her journey and the work ahead at SEEA.
Over the past two years, SEEA has been on a path to honor our commitment to incorporating diversity, inclusion, and integration in our organization and the energy industry overall. During this time, I obtained my certification as a cultural diversity trainer, helped guide the creation of SEEA’s diversity and inclusion statement and president’s message, and developed a framework for training SEEA board, staff, and other stakeholders on DII topics.
As I reflect on the work we have accomplished as well as our plans for the future, I want to share my personal story and why I am committed to furthering diversity and inclusion in individuals and institutions.
I grew up in the small midwestern town of Owasso, Oklahoma. Being the only Black family in the neighborhood and the only Black person in the classroom, I experienced direct and frequent racism. In 1988, I went through one of the most frightening and hurtful moments of my life. Members of a white supremacist group burned our home and spray painted the words “N***** Get Out” on the rock wall entrance to our property. I had endured disparaging words and racial slurs, but never encountered the visceral hate that took away our family home, memories, and led to many more obstacles for my family to overcome. This profound awakening started me on a journey for reckoning and understanding a history of hatred that I had not previously comprehended.
However, there were two things that I was gifted from that injustice: the pleasure of volunteer service, thanks to the first responders and The American Red Cross, and my passion for the understanding and advancement of diversity. The latter came from the compassion, empathy, and support that we received from many white people in our community and the knowledge that the actions of a certain group of people do not represent the entire race. I have carried this message of understanding with me throughout my personal life and career and have supported diversity initiatives in the hope of encouraging others.
Taking the Next Step
SEEA’s regional focus on energy efficiency topics in the Southeast requires an understanding of the underlying issues and policies that have perpetuated inequities in our communities. While our organization has been tackling the matters of diversity, inclusion, and integration for the last couple of years, the recent racial injustices across the U.S. has amplified the need to address these issues within our organizations, our industry, and the communities we serve.
I am truly excited about continuing SEEA’s journey and supporting the energy industry in these efforts. I look forward to working with the SEEA team, our members, and our partners in making a difference in all our organizations and our communities.
Reach out to me if you have questions or want to talk about how to get started in addressing diversity, inclusion, and integration in your organization.
Learn more about SEEA’s journey to advance diversity, inclusion, and integration.