How One ERG Leader Encourages Participation by All

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When Kavita Sanghvi, Senior Director of IT Business Solutions, talks about diversity and inclusion, she immediately focuses on how it’s everyone’s responsibility. From being a part of an Employee Resource Group (ERG) to showing up for activities, she believes every step taken by an individual helps the organization as a whole.

Embracing differences to find strength

“Amy Gilliland, our President, said something recently: ‘Embrace our differences in our workforce and embrace the strengths of those differences that we have,’” Kavita shares. “And that really stuck with me.” She has seen how it’s the actions every employee takes to embrace these differences that move things forward.

“Participation by all means it’s every individual person’s responsibility to join the conversation and join the dialogue. You do not have to be a member of a certain ERG or a certain demographic or gender to participate. You participate to really learn and be educated about all the different areas.”

Whether it’s from attending virtual chats to reading blogs or what’s posted on GDIT’s intranet site, Kavita sees opportunity for employees across all levels to get involved. “When we really participate in all of it, then we know what strengths everyone brings.”

Putting inclusion in motion

As a council member with Asians in Motion (AIM), GDIT’s newest ERG, Kavita helps promote and foster the participation of others to create a more inclusive culture. “When we define Asian, some will think Indian, some will think Far East or Middle East. Asian incorporates so many diverse communities of people. It’s amazing what constitutes Asian.”

Her passion is to bring all these different communities together to help educate, but also to help Asians grow in their careers. For most AIM members, this is the first time they’ve had an ERG focused on them at a company and it’s allowing a space for important discussions.

“This ERG is the first of its kind for me and it’s great to see,” she says. “We’ve addressed a lot of current events from an individual perspective and then from an Asian perspective, ‘How did this impact you? What are your thoughts?’”

They also know how to have fun! To introduce AIM to the company, they hosted a karaoke challenge, virtually stringing together their voices to “Don’t Stop Believin’”. And Kavita’s favorite event so far was Bollywood Prom, co-hosted with the PRIDE ERG. “Seeing everybody really enjoy my culture was definitely a great moment. To see that come to life at work was a great feeling.”

How respect creates a people-first culture

Most important to Kavita though is how it feels to be a part of GDIT. She says, “You always hear about people first and people are our assets, but you really feel that here and the leadership is genuine about it.”

She’s experienced this first hand during the COVID-19 pandemic. What impressed her most was the people-first attitude the company took to ensure flexibility for team members to be able to do their jobs, as well as be present at home for their families.

“To me, an inclusive environment is one where everybody feels respected, accepted, and supported,” she says. “I see that in my leaders and in my own group. We’re always here to listen with an open mind, without judgement, and with respect. I think that’s key.”