Valuing a Culture of Inclusion at SourceAmerica
Q&A with Maria Lawrence-Jenkins: SourceAmerica’s Diversity & Inclusion Council Chairwoman
SourceAmerica’s five values are steppingstones for achieving our mission of increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Those values are integrity, accountability, passion, collaboration, and inclusion. Inclusion focuses on appreciating people for their differing abilities, backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and perspectives.
We recently sat down with SourceAmerica Diversity & Inclusion Council Chairwoman Maria Lawrence -Jenkins who shared her thoughts on fostering a culture of inclusion at SourceAmerica:
Q: Why did you decide to step up into this role at SourceAmerica?
A: I decided to lead the Diversity & Inclusion Council because I have a strong commitment to making SourceAmerica a great place to work. I am also passionate about bringing more awareness to fair and equitable career development for all team members at SourceAmerica. It is important that all individuals feel valued and have a fair shot at upward mobility.
Q: Why do you think diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for any organization?
A: Diversity, equity, and inclusion are so important to any organization because together they create a culture to help every employee show up as their authentic selves. This fosters a higher degree of productivity, engagement, and innovation, which are especially important to an organization like SourceAmerica. At SourceAmerica, we know that our nation's workforce is more successful, more productive, and more innovative when people of all abilities participate. When the right person is matched to the right job, everyone wins. That's why we do what we do—creating jobs for people with disabilities, raising awareness about how different perspectives and skill sets transform businesses for the better, and shaping a more inclusive future of work.
Q: How do you think diversity, equity, and inclusion have changed in our workplace overall?
A: One of the best things we have now is the support and attention of leadership. Diversity, equity, and inclusion really matter. Leaders should set the tone, but EVERYONE has a responsibility to live and breathe inclusivity. Those small changes and shifts will cascade across the organization, and you will see more and more evidence of real behavior changes. Although we still have some work to do, as most organizations do, I think we are headed in the right direction.
Q: What are some of SourceAmerica’s major initiatives regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion?
A: One major initiative in 2022 that the council is working on in collaboration with Human Resources is SourceAmerica’s recruitment strategy. We want to cast our net a lot further to reach different demographics of people for a bigger talent pool. We have big plans, so stay tuned.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as chair of SourceAmerica’s Diversity & Inclusion Council?
A: I hope to create a greater sense of belonging among SourceAmerica employees. When we feel like we belong, we will work more passionately, smarter, and produce higher quality work. I also hope to establish measurable and trackable matrices/benchmarks to show our progress to leadership.
To learn more about our values, check out our strategic plan framework.