Joining a New National CEO-Led Diversity & Inclusion Initiative
Diversity and inclusion have been core values of Sempra Energy since our founding. I strongly believe that diverse perspectives, experiences and ways of thinking lead to innovation, keeping us connected and relevant.
When it comes to increasing diversity and inclusion, I don’t believe there is a single path to success. A common thread, however, is a commitment that never ends – one that becomes embedded in an organization’s unique culture. That’s why, when Sempra Energy was formed 19 years ago, we established a dedicated office of Diversity & Inclusion to develop programs from the top down and the bottom up to support employees, suppliers and our communities. This “embeddedness” accelerates our understanding of diversity and inclusion and allows us to more effectively overcome barriers.
I’m proud to say that, today, nine of our 13 corporate directors are women or people of color, and women comprise almost 30 percent of Sempra Energy’s senior leadership team, including several C-suite roles. People of color make up more than half of our management team. We have implemented a rigorous succession-planning process that spans the organization and focuses on identifying high-potential leadership candidates who are capable and diverse.
“When it comes to increasing diversity and inclusion, I don’t think there is a single path to success. A common thread, however, is a commitment that never ends – one that becomes embedded in an organization’s unique culture.”
More broadly, representation by people of color in our workforce has increased to 58 percent and we were early adopters of programs and policies that supported our LGBT employees. We also have built a highly successful supplier-diversity program that reflects the customers and communities we serve. Last year, more than one-third of the spending by our California utilities went to a group of diverse business enterprises that execute with excellence and deliver on quality and price.
Many of our employees serve on a company-wide diversity and inclusion council or one of our local employee councils. The councils develop and execute broad-based and local programs. They increase awareness, facilitate action and foster an environment of respect and inclusion at work, in our communities and with customers. Based on one of the many recommendations by our diversity and inclusion councils, we launched a mentoring initiative that gives diverse candidates experience and access to advance their careers. Through this, we perpetuate an organization of highly engaged employees who value diversity and inclusion. We also created a grass-roots speaker’s bureau where local ambassadors deliver training and messaging on important diversity and inclusion topics.
We also hold annual diversity and inclusion summits that feature company leaders sharing their perspectives, relevant workshops for employees and recognition of our diversity and inclusion champions. These events create a forum where we can discuss sometimes difficult but important issues, advance different viewpoints and celebrate success.
As a diverse enterprise, we are still a work in progress, but I am honored to lead an organization that strives to reinforce values and actions – both large and small – that support diversity and inclusion every day, at every level.
Debra L. Reed
Chairman, President & CEO, Sempra Energy