Diversity, equity, and inclusion aren’t just corporate buzzwords for ATPCO—they’re at the core of how we operate. Our motto of “passion plus action” guides us towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future.
What is DEI?
It’s important to not only understand what the three terms that make up the acronym DEI are, but also what they embody. One of the first steps in building a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy was understanding what these terms mean to us:
Diversity refers to the representation across all dimensions of human difference. This can mean a variety of different identities like age, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, as well as different thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and values. Diversity ensures people from all walks of life are represented.
Equity refers to ensuring the fair treatment, access, and equality of opportunity and advancement for everyone—plus the identification and removal of barriers to participation. Unlike “equality,” which refers to treating all people the same, “equity” takes a person’s unique circumstances into consideration and adjusts treatment accordingly to even opportunities for people.
Inclusion refers to the act of creating an environment in which any individual or group will be welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as a fully participating member. It ensures everyone is included, visible, heard, and considered to evoke a sense of belonging for all.
How is ATPCO making DEI change happen?
After years of grassroots-style activism from our employees, ATPCO decided in 2021 to create a formal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Council. Its mission is to establish a workforce and culture within ATPCO that reflects and celebrates people from all backgrounds at all levels. By establishing strategic accountability for results, providing governance and oversight for all our diversity efforts, and playing a crucial role in achieving organizational change, this council helps us build a workplace where every employee across the globe is empowered to thrive. This employee-led council has three impact groups:
- Employee attraction and retention: Focuses on attracting a more diverse candidate pool to enhance company diversity while increasing overall employee engagement and retention across the company.
- DEI education: Focuses on establishing a common language and deeper understanding around DEI while increasing knowledge of DEI best practices to drive organizational change and consistent modeling of inclusive behaviors.
- DEI communications: Focuses on increasing knowledge of DEI and applications of DEI principles through a regular cadence of communications in various formats and across multiple channels.
This DEI Steering Council is supported and advised by an Executive Sponsor, the company’s Chief People & Culture Officer, Maya Bordeaux, who says, “This council means so much to me because DEI is my life’s work and passion. We’re striving to create a place where all are welcome at ATPCO. I’m honored to help lead these important efforts at ATPCO... and our work is just getting started!”
What DEI initiatives are taking place at ATPCO?
Over the last few years, ATPCO’s DEI efforts have really taken off thanks to the hard work of the steering council. With their strategic plan, APTCO has been able to take the following measures since Q4 2021:
- Published and distributed 60+ DEI-related articles for employee education, ranging in topics from employee spotlights during Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Pride Month; Gender Pronouns in the Workplace; the Meaning and Practices of Eid al-Fitr; How to be an Ally to Colleagues; and Understanding and Accepting Neurodiversity.
- Hosted several company-wide DEI sessions by external speakers in 2022, including “Generations in the Workplace,” “Bring Your Authentic Self to Work,” and “How to Drive Employee Engagement through CSR & DEI Initiatives” with all-new sessions coming in 2023.
- Committed to increasing female representation in the aviation industry by joining the IATA 25by2025 program.
- Creating partnerships with organizations like Upwardly Global, Out 4 Undergrad, and Workplace Diversity to expand diversity-centered hiring efforts.
- Centering DEI at our annual conference, Elevate, by hosting an industry panel on DEI topics and ensuring both gender and geographical balance of speakers across all panels.
- Rolled out a company-wide DEI curriculum for all employees to continue furthering their education.
- Provided DEI-related volunteer opportunities for our bi-annual Volunteer Days, where employees are encouraged to go out and give back to their communities.
We’ve got the ball rolling on quite a few exciting initiatives for the upcoming year, including hosting a speaker session with Amanda Simpson, the first openly transgender female presidential appointee in US history, increasing external promotion of DEI-related content on our social media channels, and so much more to come.
“DEI is personal to me, in many ways, but importantly I want to do what I can to ensure everyone can live, love, and work in a world that doesn’t discriminate against who they are,” says Anne Kolodziej, Lead, DEI Communications Impact Group. “Our work in the DEI space means so much to me because I can see we are embracing and appreciating the unique qualities and capabilities each one of us brings to the table. It means that as we learn more about our differences, we find that we are the same in many ways. We all want to be accepted for who we are and feel like we belong. I truly believe our work is bringing us together and that makes me very proud!"
Just like travel itself, DEI is crucial because of the cultural and ideological bridges it builds. At ATPCO, we are only as strong as our people. We empower our people to bring their authentic selves to work, because ATPCO thrives when our people thrive. While we’ve made great strides in our DEI initiatives, our work is truly only just getting started!