- Jul 7, 2020
As part of Gilbane’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) Ally Series, HOL@ (Hispanics Organizing Leaders @ Gilbane) promotes Hispanic culture and inclusion to our employees, business and community. The vision of HOL@ is to be a visible and trusted resource within Gilbane to forge a culture-forward workplace and become the most Hispanic-friendly company in the industry.
We Care. Latinos are the fastest growing minority group in the United States, but many have been in this country for multiple generations. The perception that all Latinos are immigrants is both incorrect and alienating. Many U.S. born Latinos struggle with the sense of belonging as they are often treated as ‘foreigners’ in the country of their own birth and by the people in their family’s country of origin. Latinos pursuing STEM careers continues to grow and our vision is to become the most Hispanic-friendly company in the industry that looks to recruit and retain Latino talent.
We Ally. The responsibility as an ERG to create a place of inclusion also comes with the responsibility of addressing the issues of race and racism that have been recently highlighted in the U.S. and the world. HOL@ seeks to make intentional efforts of anti-prejudice by both identifying it within ourselves and making the personal choice to reframe our thinking. Just as important, we need to also provide learning opportunities for non-Latinos to make a positive impact on our organization’s culture. A simple act like correcting someone that mistakenly or intentionally calls a Hispanic employee a “Mexican” (where they are not of Mexican origin), could help refine the culture and make a positive impact. We hope that our allies can find empathy in our struggle, inquire and listen to our story, be intentional about advocating for professional growth and actively condemning discrimination wherever they see it. That is a big challenge as it requires having uncomfortable conversations with our employees, partners and clients.
To continue to advocate for HOL@’s mission and values, below are some highlights from various chapters within Gilbane throughout the country.
- Mexico/Western Chapter
- Works to promote a deeper understanding of the impacts of discrimination by discussions about unconscious bias and how to increase our awareness of it.
- New England Chapter
- Engages in open conversations about race and racism to address the complexity of Latino culture, origin and history. This includes offering clarification and transparency that “Latino” is not a race, not all Latinos are immigrants, many Latinos are black, and that personal identities are often very fluid. Latinos also share a common ground of caring for one another and a strong family culture.
- New York Chapter
- During the quarantine, this chapter organized a virtual site tour for the entire New York division to view an active jobsite while working from home. The virtual event help connect employees to daily construction activities. They received such positive feedback from this event that now other ERGs are planning to host similar events.
- Rhode Island Chapter
- Supported Gilbane volunteers and their families in the 2020 Building Hope of Life effort in Guatemala to improve quality of life in rural Guatemala through infrastructure upgrades. Spearheaded by HOL@ chapter lead Edwin Montas, over $15,000 was raised to support the construction of a new education facility. Click here to read more about this amazing effort, and here to learn more about Hope of Life International.
- Washington, DC Chapter
- Hosts weekly virtual training workouts for HOL@ members along with a playlist of all Latino artists to get everyone’s heart pumping
- Supports employees in learning the Spanish language through the Duolingo App and hosting bi-weekly virtual meetings to practice the language with HOL@ members
We unite. Nationally, all of our HOL@ chapters will continue to hold workshops that educate employees about the differences between Latino, Hispanic, Spanish, and other similar words. These are often used interchangeably but have different meanings. By educating ourselves and others, we can learn to properly identify people instead of generalizing an entire population.
Gilbane supports inclusion and diversity and together with our ERGs, we can make a positive difference in both our workplaces and in our communities.
Our next Gilbane Ink blog in the ERG Ally Series will be published on Tuesday, July 14th featuring insights from Gilbane Young Professionals: a group that engages, provides a community, and gives a voice to our younger generation of employees.