Black employees’ dialogue with CEO Garland poignant, powerful
Four Black employees sat down with Phillips 66 Chairman and CEO Greg Garland to have an open dialogue about inclusion and diversity as well as the broader issue of racial injustice.
The conversation, organized by the company’s Black Employee Network, was wide-ranging, candid and emotionally powerful. There was much discussion on leadership representation at Phillips 66, hiring to ensure more diversity at the company, and the emotional toll on the employees from the summer of 2020, when the death of George Floyd led to a painful — and still ongoing — reckoning over racism.
Asked what he would take away from the conversation, Garland was optimistic.
“One word: hope,” he said. “Hope for a better future, hope that the dialogue leads to a stronger, better company and better experience for all of our employees.”
Phillips 66 Director of Inclusion and Diversity Natacha Buchanan moderated the event, which included Garland; Brooke Bobbitt, Product Optimization Coordinator for the Gulf and East Coasts; Tressie Conde-Parker, Manager of Finance at the Lake Charles Refinery; Jerry Manning, Sweeny Refinery Scheduler; and R.J. Salter, Midstream Project Manager in Houston.
“I've never been prouder of Phillips 66,” Buchanan said of the event. "You can't build a perfectly inclusive and diverse workplace in one day, but what we are showing is that we are stepping into the journey with open minds and good intentions. As we celebrate Black History Month, we’re reminded how honest conversations like these can help us work toward a better future."
The discussion pulled in about 475 viewers across 20 Phillips 66 locations. It was deeply personal and also touched on issues in the industry at large, with Garland addressing the need to increase supplier diversity and bring in more minority-owned businesses. And it was marked by a common resolve among the panelists to speak openly and create an environment of trust.
Maybe we can’t change the world, but we can change the people we’re around. And if enough of us are bold enough to do that, to have these conversations, not be afraid to be vulnerable, we can make a difference.
"The key is just don’t give up," said Manning, the scheduler at the Phillips 66 Sweeny Refinery in Texas’ Gulf Coast region. "Maybe we can’t change the world, but we can change the people we’re around. And if enough of us are bold enough to do that, to have these conversations, not be afraid to be vulnerable, we can make a difference.”
It's that message that Buchanan would like to carry forward.
“These discussions require navigating some of the most emotionally fraught terrain — they will be raw, tough and may even veer off course sometimes,” Buchanan said. “But the goal here isn’t perfection. It’s connection."