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Continuing Culture - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Report

Continuing Culture

The Power of Collaboration

In welcoming new perspectives, employees nurture vibrant culture

A diverse culture is a healthy culture and, like an ecosystem, it can better withstand disturbance. When people learn and grow from each other, they tap into the type of power only born of collaboration. And that collaboration generates trust.

At TVA, every new perspective is valued. Individuality – not conformity – is at the heart of diversity-focused development. And rather than fade into the background, employees at TVA are invited to bring their entire selves – their vibrancy – to the table.

“It is important that you feel psychologically safe in the workplace, so rather than look at employees as just an asset doing work for TVA, we look at them as people and acknowledge what they bring to the table,” Tequilla Hurt, senior manager of Diversity and Inclusion, said. “If this culture is in place, a person’s evolution will happen organically. They will grow and advance in this space of work.”

“When I first started at TVA over 19 years ago, I had support – colleagues reaching out to ask how I was doing personally, not just about work,” she said. They encouraged her as she continued her education.

“Even when I was in school, my manager was intentional about investing in me,” she said. “I knew from the beginning that they had my back and wanted me to be successful in all I did. And I could always be me. I’ve strived to lead in that same manner and pay it forward to others.”

On work strategies, her leaders ensured she knew the best ways to build a network and where to focus her time. Nurturing this culture of inclusion requires more than just setting goals. It calls for checking and adjusting, and maneuvering through issues as they arise.

Recognizing that IwD pillars and foundational principles are only as strong as the behavior changes they incite, TVA leaders are working diligently to ensure there are no gaps in communication.

“When you are trying to create a fully inclusive environment, what we’re doing at our level has to be cascaded throughout the organization,” Hurt said. “We can’t be there during everyone’s day to day – so leadership expectations were developed and given to all TVA leaders, and even to our Code of Excellence ambassadors.

"Those individuals are influential boots on the ground. They can help resonate IwD expectations with peers in their work areas.”

What’s more, TVA employees are encouraged to offer feedback. Honesty, transparency and diversity of thought are at the forefront of change, progress and innovation.

“If an employee has an idea or concern, they need to know they can talk with leadership respectfully without any negative consequences,” Hurt said. “When employees are comfortable sharing the good or bad – and they help hold each other accountable and welcome different perspectives – they truly have that sense of belonging.

“When you take the opportunity to learn from each other, that’s when you build compassion.”

To be proactive in addressing any challenges that may lie ahead, TVA is developing intentional listeners now – equipped with empathy and understanding to harness energy that will power an equitable future.

Tequilla Hurt

TVA employees talking in control room

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