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Introduction - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Report


A Message from Jan Brown: Advancing the Journey of Inclusion

In welcoming new perspectives, employees nurture vibrant culture

I like to say that inclusion is a journey. As I reflect on this past year and the steps we’ve taken to further inclusion with diversity at TVA, I am confident we’re farther along in that journey today than ever before. We’ve made significant strides in the past year, and we have a lot to celebrate.

I’m appreciative of Megan Flynn, who was designated as TVA’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in October 2021. She helped develop the framework to further build an inclusive environment and diverse workforce. This framework was key in increasing our transparency and accountability within the Inclusion with Diversity (IwD) space, expanding our efforts to attract talent that is reflective of the communities TVA serves and fostering an increased community presence across our seven-state region.

Building upon these accomplishments throughout the past year, we began to expand discussions around our IwD work by introducing equity principles and discussing ways our leaders play an important role in advancing fairness within TVA.

We also established aspirational goals aimed at increasing the number of women and people of color in leadership positions by 2033 to match the available workforce, and we incorporated performance goals focused on IwD for every leader and non-represented employee. And we’ve worked to increase the accessibility of our IwD core metrics using our People Advantage dashboard to support talent management and employee development opportunities.

TVA leaders participated in a series of cross-functional IwD Leadership Forums in 2023. The forums were focused on driving understanding and alignment across the enterprise regarding the importance and direction of Inclusion with Diversity.

Other notable accomplishments this past year include our recognition as one of Fair 360’s Top Utility Companies, being named a 2023 Top 10 Military Friendly employer, and being recognized as a 2023 Leading Disability Employer from the National Organization on Disability.

As we begin the new year, there is much to look forward to, and many opportunities to foster an inclusive and welcoming work environment. In 2024, the Diversity and Inclusion Program Office will continue building upon the foundation we’ve set by:

  • Partnering with our stakeholder to help ensure TVA policies, procedures and activities are fair.
  • Exploring new ways to deliver innovative IwD tools and resources for our leaders and employees.
  • Continuing to partner with employees and leaders on creating work environments that are welcoming, inclusive and foster a sense of belonging.
  • Growing our partnerships with our strategic business unit IwD and TVA IwD councils as we listen and refine our approaches and programs to best serve the needs of our employees.
  • Performing an IwD program review through the lens of the evolving legal landscape.
  • Updating the IwD training portfolio.

The driving force of our culture and inclusion initiatives are our employees – showing up as they are, providing their unique perspectives and displaying curiosity to learn about others. My role as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer involves collaboration, partnership and, most importantly, listening. This work cannot be done alone – it takes all of us to drive successful and measurable results. I know that together we will continue to advance on the journey of inclusion at TVA.

Jan Brown

Jeff Lyash and Jan Brown

Built for the People

A mission of service for all

Since its inception, TVA was founded on a mission of service – one that’s built for the people. People are as intrinsic to a place as its mountains and streams, and together they create a vibrant culture. Each experience is shared, each achievement is collective. And molded over time, these characteristics become the face of the Valley region.

Because the mission of TVA is to serve the people of the region, our workforce should reflect the diverse and dynamic characteristics of its seven-state territory.

“It has to go beyond just metrics,” Jennifer Grace, director and associate general counsel with TVA Employment Law and Ethics and Compliance in TVA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), said. “It’s how we talk about what we do at TVA, how we communicate with the people we serve. Are we communicating in a way that everyone we serve feels represented and valued? So that everyone in the TVA service area can say ‘I see myself in TVA.’”

Cultivating this type of inclusive environment starts with listening, but does not end there. True representation can only happen when everyone in TVA feels like their voice, no matter how small or distinct, can be heard effectively and fairly. Making steps toward this goal of active listening, Grace and her OGC team sought to address the topic of psychological safety in the workplace.

“We’re trying to make sure we pay attention to what our employees are looking for,” Grace said. “One of the biggest things we focus on when talking about an inclusive workplace is that employees feel comfortable coming to work as the person they are.”

“The first step to creating a sense of belonging is just listening,” Jan Brown, TVA’s Vice President of Culture, Inclusion and Performance and TVA’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, said. “Being curious about others, their work, personal journey, and more, lets them know you care about them as an individual.”

A leading component of TVA’s mission is to provide power – a basic human need that encompasses everyone. And it’s with everyone that we power progress.

“TVA employees are committed to service across the Tennessee Valley region,” Brown said. “And every employee has a story to tell that brings a unique perspective to the table. We have an opportunity to embrace active listening and invite everyone to share their experiences and thoughts so that we can arrive at a better outcome for the people we serve. Doing so will position TVA to attract, recruit and retain difference-makers.”

Linemen repairing power lines

TVA employees at Muscle Shoals Solar Farm

Uniting and Empowering

Culture, Inclusion and Performance team helps strengthen values

TVA Culture, Inclusion and Performance consultants Xavier Cotto and Joan Williams work to ensure fairness and increase diversity and inclusion at TVA each day. Learn more about their work in Diversity and Inclusion and how they help employees feel confident in bringing their authentic selves to work each day.

In your role, how do you work to ensure TVA’s culture remains inclusive?

Cotto: I’m excited about the opportunity to join the Diversity and Inclusion team this year and contribute to the great efforts that have been in place to influence and support our enterprise. We help curate resources that are easily accessible to all and we produce events that unite our people and strengthen our inclusive values. We help empower employees and remove barriers so our Employee Resource Groups can continue educating and inspiring our people. We are focused on spearheading initiatives that help us ensure fairness in the workplace and diversification of our talent pipeline. These efforts and many others are all important pieces of the puzzle as we continue working to ensure our workforce more closely reflects the communities we serve.

Williams: In my role I have the awesome opportunity to meet individuals across the company, hear their experiences and use that information to help transform the TVA workplace to be a place where everyone wants to work and can thrive through the various initiatives of the Diversity and Inclusion team.

What does working at a company that values inclusion and diversity mean to you?

Cotto: As a transplant from Puerto Rico to Chattanooga who joined TVA about 13 years ago, it was important for me to see this inclusive culture being valued at all levels. It helped me to quickly feel like I belonged, that my opinion and contributions were valued and that I was being given a fair chance at growth opportunities. At the same time, we weren’t shying away from celebrating the differences that made us unique and made our company culturally rich. It’s exciting to see the progress that we’ve made in this space and to know that we continue affording everyone the same great opportunities that I received.

Williams: It is very important to me because it means TVA sees the importance of valuing, respecting and including all of the individuals connected to our company. I enjoy coming to work at TVA and knowing that I get to be part of a company that advocates for you to be your authentic self and not feel excluded. This is important to me because everyone wants to feel like they belong and are valued.

Xavier Cotto

Joan Williams

Q&A with TVA's Chief Nuclear Officer

Tim Rausch talks company culture

Good cultures don’t just exist – they’re thoughtfully created and carefully maintained throughout time. Here, TVA Chief Nuclear Officer Tim Rausch talks about the culture of inclusivity at TVA, the journey we’re on and the steps we’ve taken to get there.

What makes a good company culture?

A good culture is created when you’ve taken the time to determine what kind of company you want to be, what results you want to achieve and how you want to achieve them. You define the culture based on your desired outcomes.

As you do that, you consider the existing culture that you’re starting with. Look at what needs to change to enable those future results. Too many times, people just set performance goals not realizing you have to have a culture that’s going to support those goals, or they won’t be sustainable. I think a good company does that cultural work and doesn’t just establish goals.

Why is it important to foster an inclusive, diverse culture at TVA?

Every team or organization has a maximum, optimized capability. The more inclusive and diverse the culture is, the closer you’ll be to actually achieving that team’s full capability, which is what we want to do at TVA to deliver on our mission of service.

And also, it’s rewarding to be part of a culture of inclusivity. Inclusivity, to me, is feeling respected and valued, and knowing that your work is part of what helps the team succeed. That’s a culture people want to be a part of. An inclusive culture is one that closes that gap between where the team is performing versus its full capability. The more inclusive, the closer to the team’s full capability you’re going to get.

What have you seen leaders do at TVA to improve company culture, and what are you doing in Nuclear Operations?

I see leaders listening more and asking more questions. Something we’re doing in nuclear is working to achieve cross-functional teams. For example, when we do interviews, we’re using diverse panels and bringing in people from outside of nuclear to sit on the panel – they bring different perspectives, not just the nuclear perspective.

When we problem-solve a plant issue, we’re bringing in individuals from multiple departments, including maintenance, operations, radiation protection, chemistry and engineering, because each person brings different perspectives to problem resolution.

Bringing in those different viewpoints, different levels of experience and that cross-functional teamwork can really build a better product from the beginning – from its design phase – so when it actually gets to implementation it’s more holistic.

What would you suggest to an employee who wants to be part of bettering the culture of inclusivity at TVA?

Be open to actively learning every day. Observe, ask questions, and surround yourself with people who you don’t normally interact with. We’re doing something I really like in nuclear called Coffee with a Co-leader, which is a half-hour where you have a cup of coffee and learn about each other outside of work-related conversations. Asking questions like: Where are you from? What’s your background? What’s your favorite experience? Why are you at TVA? This creates an intentional time to get to know someone.

From that, I now know handfuls of people on a personal level that I didn’t know before. I think it betters the culture when you know more about people outside of work, and their background, and what motivates them and some of their experiences. I think human connection is what moves the needle forward in terms of inclusivity.

What do you want people to know about inclusivity and company culture that they may not realize?

Inclusivity is a journey. We’re not going to be perfect at this and we need to be comfortable with the fact we’re not going to get it right every time. Culture change takes time. Open dialogue is the key. When you see something that’s not right, be open to having a conversation about it. That’s how we’ll make progress in this journey and reach our fullest potential.

TVA Chief Nuclear Officer Tim Rausch

“Inclusivity is a journey. We’re not going to be perfect at this and we need to be comfortable with the fact we’re not going to get it right every time. Culture change takes time. Open dialogue is the key.” —Tim Rausch, TVA Chief Nuclear Officer

Jeff Lyash and Tim Rausch talking