As Martin Luther King Day approaches, WE DTE recently spoke to Joyce Hayes Giles, senior vice president of Public Affairs and chairwoman of the DTE Energy Foundation, about DTE Energy’s commitment to diversity.
Q: With a growing respect for diversity emerging in our society, how is that reflected in DTE’s workforce?
A: DTE’s work force reflects the broad mix of diverse backgrounds, cultures and experiences of the customers and communities that we serve. This is critical, because our success as an energy provider, employer and community leader rests on our ability to understand and serve a multicultural community. Like the nation as a whole, DTE has made tremendous progress toward fostering an environment of understanding and inclusion. We will continue to make workforce diversity a high priority, because despite our progress, there’s much more work to be done.
Q: Facilitating an appreciation for diversity is just as important within a company as it is externally. What diversity programs and/or events do DTE employees participate in and why?
A: We encourage our employees to participate in diversity training provided by DTE, as well as events we sponsor that tackle sensitive issues or showcase cultural traditions. One of the things I’m most proud of is the Employee Resource Network Groups. It is a network of employee groups representing different cultures and perspectives that exchange knowledge, advocate for change and work with our employees and customers to improve their experiences with our company.
Q: What are some of the community-based diversity programs and/or events DTE participates in and why?
A: The DTE Energy Foundation also helps to promote diversity through important dialogue in our region by funding diversity initiatives including the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University. In addition, in February, the foundation will once again present the National Sphinx Competition for Black and Latino string players. And, on yet another front, I’m excited about a new partnership with Detroit Public Television Station on a major Black History Month event.
Q: How else does diversity impact how DTE does business?
A: Our supplier diversity initiative is probably one of our best examples. It showcases how we recognize the benefits diversity brings to helping us meet our business objectives. In fact, DTE Energy was named Corporation of the Year for the third year in a row by the Michigan Minority Supplier Diversity Council for our work in creating opportunities for minority-owned businesses. We sponsor such activities because if our company and our state are to prosper, we need fresh perspectives, ideas and efficiencies that can only be generated by a diverse community.
So, what are you and your friends doing to promote diversity in your corner of the state? WE DTE wants to hear from you.