Initiative leader, Inclusion Network Board member, inaugural Spreetail Pride Alliance Chairperson
Fellow initiative leaders: Michael Blake, McKenna McConnell, Aryn Huck, Levi Witthuhn
An organization and corporate framework for celebrating, supporting, and nurturing Queer voices.
2020 was a fun year for everyone, except those of us on Earth. In the midst of COVID shutdowns, the public murder of George Floyd shocked the United States. Many companies issued statements, decrying the violence against Black people in America. We decided that Spreetail needed something better for the future - not a canned, corporate response, but a pathway for the growth and betterment of historically excluded communities.
A small group of my peers formed around these conversations. Several of us had tried to start diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conversations in the past, but hadn't been successful. With the momentum in conversations around DEI, we presented an idea to the HR People Development team: a system for establishing and growing employee-lead resource groups.
We weren’t the first corporate group to see the need for equity, so I broke out my UX research and networking abilities. After 14 interviews and countless notes taken, we had an idea of the do’s and don’ts of the DEI world. Using these, I proposed the idea of “Inclusion Networks” within Spreetail. We started with three of the identities represented by our founding group: Professional Women Rising (PWR), Spreetail Professionals of Color (SPOC), and Spreetail Pride Alliance (SPA).
Establishing the norms and expectations for these organizations took about 6 months - from June to December of 2020. I created the “pillars” for the Inclusion Networks - the main principles of all three networks. This led to the C.A.R.E. framework - focusing on Community, Advocacy, Resources, and Education. Additionally, I set the processes for budgeting, leadership elections, and group dynamics.
Taking cues from my love of parliamentary procedure, we created an All-Inclusion-Network board. This board provided a quarterly touchpoint and retrospective for leaders in HR and the Inclusion Networks.
In December 2020, we launched the Inclusion Networks to the wider Spreetail employee community. The SPA membership elected me as the first chairperson of the network. Throughout the year, I established the cadence and norms for a Queer organization within Spreetail. In our monthly meetings, we educated the membership on Queer topics, and provided resources for community. Through my own network connections, we were able to partner with several organizations to benefit our membership and raise funds for Queer non-profits.
One of the highlights of my year as SPA Chair was June 2021: Pride Month. With the help of our Internal Comms and Merchandising team, I created a fundraising initiative. We sold Spreetail Pride Alliance branded t-shirts to members, their families, or anyone who wanted one! We were able to raise over $3,500 to benefit CenterLink: a national collection of LGBTQA+ community centers. To top it off, we participated in the Omaha and Lincoln Pride parades, and had an absolute blast doing it.