How does GDIT provide a diverse and inclusive community that is supportive to its core? Just shy of 14 years at GDIT, Rachel Kliewer speaks to how its culture, built on the mission that we are proud to serve, has changed and grown over time.
A culture for all at GDIT
“When I think of our culture, I think of the change that the President of our company, Amy Gilliland, brought with her more than three years ago,” she says. “Before then, I didn’t feel like I could always show people who I really was as a whole person. My coworkers were wonderful, but we were a very serious workforce.”
With the support of leadership and the development of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Rachel feels able to bring more of her personality, humor, and positivity to work while getting to know her co-workers better.
“Once you know what people's expertise in their backgrounds are, and you know what their passions are inside and potentially outside of work, you get to problem-solve faster, sharper and smarter when the hard stuff hits.”
Authentically you at GDIT
Our everyday heroes are provided with support and resources to bring their entire selves to the workplace. Rachel has found a number of ways to bring her fun-loving, positive attitude to work.
“I love bringing my whole self to work and one of the things that I enjoy doing most is team building through humor. I was able to host a team-building exercise with over 50 people doing live karaoke. Events like this bring us all closer and bringing your whole self gives you more comfort and productivity at work.”
Our ERGs are another way we provide support for employees to be authentically themselves. Rachel serves as a lead for the ForWARD ERG - For Women's Advancement, Recognition, and Development.
“We are there to make sure that we're positioning women for success in the IT industry and providing a haven for sharing. We focus everywhere from recruiting young women, to investing in each other, to creating events where we learn more about STEM.”
Diversity at the table
Our ERGs host events that help people share different perspectives and you can’t have different perspectives if you don’t have diversity at the table.
“When I’m asked about what diversity and inclusion mean to me at GDIT, I think about the conversations that have been hosted. Sometimes the conversations are messy, sometimes they’re uncomfortable,” Rachel says. “However, we can all agree that not having the conversations doesn’t increase our diversity, solve any issues, or make people feel more included.”
Allyship is important to Rachel and as an ERG lead, she hosts events open to the masses. ForWARD hosted a He for She series, which invites men in as allies to listen and share their perspectives.
“I personally invited 12 men on my team to the last ForWARD event and all 12 men came. And it meant a lot to me. Their perspectives after the session were different than some of my female colleagues. Having them be part of those conversations is really important because they’re the majority of our workforce. If only the minority of our workforce is talking about the issues then the conversation is not moving and we aren’t thriving as a community.”
Having an inclusive workplace where underserved communities are being supported is important to Rachel because when people are able to feel welcome and safe in bringing their whole selves to work, we can begin to make valuable change
“Bringing your whole self to work gives you a way to connect with people personally and those inner personal connections are what builds your ability to problem solve with them. I think the reason I feel most comfortable bringing my whole self to work is we just don’t talk about it, we’re doing it, with the full support of our leadership team.”