The world is changing for companies of all shapes and sizes, including those within the transportation sector. Diversity is no longer a box to be checked on a list of corporate goals, but rather a cultural change being felt at every level. This aim to diversify perspectives, teammates, and project partners will be discussed in depth during the inaugural Diversity in ACT session at this year’s upcoming Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo.
“We have to be careful not to only use buzzwords like diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says Evette Ellis, co-founder and chief workforce officer, Charger Help!, and one of the session’s panelists. “It’s vital that decision-makers and people in positions of power and influence are committed to self-awareness, personal development, and life-long learning because what they think, believe, and do affects other people.”
Ellis’s company offers in-demand charger repair services by aggregating electric vehicle supply equipment network provider and manufacturer error codes and station issues to provide improved insight for repair and maintenance. When creating the company, Ellis and her team didn’t simply add diversity initiatives to their overall strategy.
“We are obsessed with leveraging technology to remove barriers and enable economic mobility within all communities,” she says. “We also work with Workforce Development programs and agencies to ensure that folks from different backgrounds are aware of our training and hiring opportunities. Once the opportunity is shared, we naturally get a diversity in applicants.”
Lisa Ann Pinkerton, the founder and chairwoman of Women in Cleantech & Sustainability (WCS), sees the same opportunity for creating a more inclusive environment within the industry, which she says will lead to “a greater depth of thought, more experiences to draw from, and more options on the table for a team or company to make a more informed decision.” Pinkerton will also be on hand for the Diversity in ACT panel, as well as Terry Travis, managing partner and co-founder of the EVNoire’s Mobility Intelligence Consulting Group, which focuses on e-mobility best practices, equity, and inclusion.
“Organizations like WCS have also successfully built communities to better support women, giving them the tools, connections, and confidence, they need to succeed,” Pinkerton adds. “The best way to improve having more women at the table specifically is to remove the ‘Motherhood penalty,’ improve paternity leave policies, and broaden work/life balance initiatives such as the ability to work from home and have flexible schedules.”
For both Ellis and Pinkerton, change must begin with an honest discussion of the issues at hand before any real change can be made. But the Charger Help! Co-founder also believes that discussion cannot only be about a lack of diversity and unfair hiring practices.
“Our industry has to be intentional about identifying hiring practices that do not yield a diverse pool of applicants,” Ellis says, adding that the industry needs to start “listening or speaking up about race relations, having hard conversations that lead to self-reflection, and owning your responsibilities as an individual, company, and industry to make workforce development a part of the very fabric that makes companies equitable and successful.”
The Diversity in ACT panel will be held Wednesday, September 1, from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. Register today to experience this innovative panel discussion, as well as the numerous sessions at our return to live events.