I have always been personally invested in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I’ve grown up outcasted as someone different, both in appearance and way of thought, for reasons far too large for a toddler to explain but blatant enough for a toddler to understand. Because of this, I’ve always naturally gravitated towards DEI work in any workplace I’ve been a part of, so it only made sense for me to pursue this as my full-time role, with an internship to start. Multiple interviews later, I started working at UW Credit Union (UWCU) as their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Intern in May, just two weeks after my first year of the MBA program came to an end. Before I started, the team was extremely welcoming and made sure I would be well-prepared for the first day, setting aside time to answer any questions I had all down to the smallest of details. The first few weeks of my internship were all about integration and making sure I had all the base knowledge and tools I need to be successful in my role.
While DEI work is not new to UWCU, the formal DEI team relatively is. The DEI team is still developing our strategy, but the foundation of the work is actively being built and I get to be a large part of that. Key players in embedding the DEI “here for every you” mission into UWCU are our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – teams of people across the organization connected by identity. In my role, I get to work with the leaders from each of these teams to help them all on the same page and create more opportunities for cross-collaboration in consideration of intersectionality and allyship. Since the majority of our ERGs represent people whose identities are commonly unfairly discriminated against, it is very important that these groups have a voice to share their perspectives on workplace policies and practices from the lens of their identities. I have the opportunity to be the bridge for these leaders to make sure their voice has a seat at the table. Other projects I have so far been able to be a part of include a policy analysis against the Corporate Equality Index, leading the redesign of the internal UWCU website, creating curriculums centered around embracing and practicing DEI in the workplace, and so much more.
All in all, while I am still in the midst of this experience with UWCU, I am very grateful for the support and encouragement from the team at the Bolz Center to pursue this personal-passion-turned-career dream of mine. The decision to pursue this in the midst of a blur of a first-year was not an easy one, but the Bolz Center was there every step of the way. I am excited to continue my internship through the second year of my MBA program and utilize what I am learning in my classes to the diversity, equity, and inclusion industry.