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For I&D Week, a call to connect and celebrate

By Eunice Bridges
Phillips 66 Corporate Communications

When it comes to inclusion and diversity, look inward. Have you shut the door to certain people or perspectives before a conversation even begins?

That question was posed by author and diversity-training expert Jess Pettitt, speaking at Sweeny Refinery during one of several events for Phillips 66’s Inclusion and Diversity Week.

Pettitt encouraged employees to think of conversations as invitations and give people — even the most annoying or frustrating — “grace in the moment.”

The goal is “to remain at least a cracked window instead of a closed door,” she said.

The speech, attended by about 275 people in person and online, was a partnership with the Pride Network. Brian Mandell, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Commercial and executive champion of the Pride Network, introduced Pettitt at the Sweeny event.

‘Safe, seen, heard and respected’

Phillips 66’s Inclusion and Diversity week presents an opportunity to understand and learn through the experience of others, said Senior Advisor of Inclusion and Diversity Yeni Ortega. “It supports the company mission to build an environment where all employees feel safe, seen, heard and respected.”

Sonya Reed, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Communications, said Phillips 66 is making good progress. Nearly half of the 156 interns this summer are women. And of the roughly 400 new employees hired in 2022 through the end of May, 49% are from racial or ethnic minority groups.

“There is no one business or one segment or one location that is seeing these kinds of results; we're seeing it across the entire company,” she said at a kickoff event for the week’s activities. 

The kickoff event featured a presentation by April Rinne, an in-demand keynote speaker who regularly contributes to major news outlets about the new economy and the future of work. She focused her remarks on leveraging change as a strength and embracing a “flux mindset.”

“Your relationship to change can improve," she said as she offered up what she called the eight “superpowers” that make people better fit for a world in flux. "What exactly needs to improve varies from person to person, but we can all use some help.” 

Learning our values in four languages

At Houston headquarters, Employee Resource Groups joined forces for a fun language mixer where employees learned to say words and phrases — including the company’s core values of safety, honor and commitment — in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Chinese.

In Bartlesville, a panel featuring representatives from the Pride Network, Women’s Network, Veterans Network and Black Employee Network discussed topics including the benefits of joining an ERG, the challenges in seeking different perspectives and the meaning of inclusion and diversity.

At the Sweeny event, Pettitt said employees should be open to learning about someone else’s life experience and “lean in” to that ability to connect.

“It's really hard to shut that door when you enter it from a curious place,” she said.