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Spotlight on Diversity and Inclusion in the Professional Setting

18 May 2017 8:27 AM | ASCE Blog Editor (Administrator)

By Linda Kaplan

ASCE Pittsburgh was recently recognized by National as the winners of the 2016 ASCE Section and Branches Diversity Award for continued focus on and attention to this important issue.  This is the second year in a row that Pittsburgh has won this award.  “The groundwork for our efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within our section and to communicate the matter to our members began four years ago when one of our board members, Lauren Terpak, opined that the Pittsburgh Section needed to be at the forefront of this matter and volunteered to chair the Diversity committee,” says ASCE-Pittsburgh Past President, Pat Sullivan.  “Thanks to her initial efforts and the effort put forth by the Pittsburgh section to recognize diversity at selected events throughout the year, we are grateful to be the recipient of the award for a second consecutive year.”

When most people think of diversity they typically are referring to “primary diversity” factors – those characteristics you are born with, such as age and ethnicity.  However, when addressing diversity in a professional setting, there are actually 4 levels of diversity factors that should be considered.

Primary Factors Secondary Factors Workplace Factors Style Factors
Those traits you are born with and are unlikely to change. Those differences that are the result of choice made throughout your life. Those factors developed by workplace structure and roles. How you show and present yourself differently from others.
  • Age
  • Physical Abilities
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Education
  • Class/Income
  • Language/Accents
  • Marital Status
  • Parental Status
  • Military Experience
  • Religious Beliefs
  • Geographic Location
  • Nationality
  • Organizational
  • Occupation
  • Job Level
  • Job Classification
  • Department
  • Work Location
  • Work Shift
  • Skills
  • Years with Organization
  • Leadership Style
  • Work Habits
  • Performance Expectations
  • Personality Type
  • Communication Style

ASCE-Pittsburgh Board Members at the 2016 E-Week Awards BanquetIt is only by recognizing and learning to value differences across all four of these categories, and then using them to leverage superior results for our organizations, that we can truly be inclusive.  A diverse population that is not included will not contribute, and may leave the organization.  A non-diverse population, even if fully engaged, will never produce change.  A successful organization will desire differences, rather than just tolerate them, knowing that this produces healthier, more open dialogue and superior performance.

The Pittsburgh Section has made an effort to encourage dialogue on this important topic through the use of the “Diversity Minute” at major events.  By sharing a quote related to diversity, and allowing members the opportunity to respond, we begin to recognize diversity and foster an inclusive atmosphere. 

If you are interested in becoming more involved with Diversity and Inclusion efforts through the Section, please contact President Coreen Casadei.  


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