In celebration of Women’s History Month in the U.S., Beehive is once again celebrating with a month-long recognition of women leaders who inspire our team with hopes of inspiring others.

Today, we’re excited to feature Annie Rezac, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at Ulteig. Annie has over 15 years of experience in senior and executive leadership roles and program management and specializes in relationship building, training and development, strategic planning and communications. Annie is a data-driven, strategic thinker with a strong passion for diversity, equity and inclusion change management.

What changes are needed to better support women in your workplace and/or in your industry?

There are a number of changes being made in both our industry and here at Ulteig. First and foremost are foundational policy changes. Companies should spend time thinking about things like parental leave policies to ensure they are being inclusive in their practices and accounting for all workers and family types.

Beyond that, companies need to be analyzing pathways to leadership for women in their organizations. Setting employees up for success through intentional mentorship and sponsorship and outlining clear pathways for advancement really helps everyone. Lastly, real allyship from men is extremely important. It’s not always something we think about, but their role in challenging norms, mentoring colleagues and doing their own work to examine their implicit bias is really important. Employers’ role here is to really set expectations for behaviors, provide resources like implicit bias trainings, and be accountable to the promises you make.

How have you been a mentor or resource to women during this time?

In my position, I am grateful to have both formal and informal mentorship opportunities. For me, mentorship isn’t just about teaching what you know, it’s about creating space, access and opportunity and learning from new people at all levels of their career who have their own unique experiences. I am a mentor in the new class of individuals in our Women’s ERG—which we launched last International Women’s Day—mentoring individuals at all levels across the organization. I’ve also found myself being a more informal mentor for trans women in our industry. I just hope to be a resource, a thought partner and a safe space for those individuals who are navigating something our industry isn’t as accustomed to.

What are some ways to create true inclusion and belonging in the workplace?

Belonging is what you get when you have really been successful in building a strong foundation of equity and inclusion in your workplace. It’s what happens when you have a group of diverse and unique individuals who feel seen, heard and valued. Building a culture and processes to support these goals is complex. But a key foundational element is implicit bias training, which can really help us all find our blind spots when it comes to true inclusion. And it enables us all to have broader conversations within our teams and organizations. At Ulteig, we’re coupling implicit bias training with dialoguing to help our employees to take purposeful and intentional action, which connects back to our values. There’s a big difference between being a respectful human and practicing intentional inclusion. Intentional inclusion includes curiosity, growth mindset, humility and learning your blind spots to come to terms with the barriers that others have faced that you may not have.

We’re honored to work alongside Annie and the Ulteig team every day. Stay tuned this month for more features from inspiring women in a variety of industries and organizations.

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