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Pacific alumni share thoughts on workplace ‘belonging’

Jul 24, 2020

The topic of “social belonging” in the workplace was tackled with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion by two University of the Pacific graduates in a webinar July 22 sponsored by the Pacific Alumni Association.

The panelists were:

  • Lyndon Huling ’09 EDU, who is manager for Leadership Recruitment and Diversity Services at the University of California, Davis.
  • Michael Orozco ’15 BUS, a technical recruiter for Netflix.

They shared thoughts on empowering underrepresented communities, disrupting the status quo and more in a 50-minute virtual session moderated by University Ombuds Hector Escalante.

Here are 10 key points from both:

Lyndon Huling

Lyndon Huling
Lyndon Huling
  • “I have this deep understanding that diversity matters in the workforce, particularly as it pertains to supporting diverse students. They need to see folks who look like them. I have an opportunity to play a crucial role.”
  • “Functionally, the best piece of advice that I give our managers or our supervisors in leadership roles is just listen. It is the idea of humility and understanding that nobody has all of the answers. And that’s OK.”
  • “Don’t start with throwing resources at problems to make them go away. Have those conversations and understand that the discomfort that you are feeling is what we are feeling every day.”
  • “I want to emphasize the importance of people doing work and being self-reflective. A lot of this work is introspective. When we think about policies and the roles that we are in, it is important to challenge the status quo.”
  • “Data can be a compelling tool in order to identify trends or populations that are missing from your workforce or the clients you serve. You can look at the numbers and try to identify strategies for the gaps or inequities you may be seeing.”
  • “Do your homework. Know that no organization is perfect, but there are always ways we can improve.”
  • “There is an emotional burden that underrepresented communities feel when they have to be the ones to navigate their own emotions and feelings … and then to ask the same folks who are being marginalized and oppressed to educate people in power. That doesn’t always sit well.”
  • “When you are trying to reframe what is described as the status quo, you can feel lost.”
  • “Diversity is net gain in your workplace. It’s not box-checking, compliance driven or a thing you do because you have to. Diversity brings value.”
  • “I work in HR, and we see that organizations that have more diversity make more money. They have higher satisfaction rates with the folks that they serve. I am driven by my heart and my mind, but certainly there are many other reasons why diversity is essential.”

Michael Orozco

Michael Orozco
Michael Orozco
  • “What I do in my job is to create space for diversity and inclusion.”
  • “Inclusion is actually one of Netflix’s core eight values. ERGs have been very successful. ERGs are employee research groups. UOP should have those for students and faculty as well. If you can intercept faculty and students together, I think it can be very powerful.”
  • “If you are going to promote someone, inclusion better be one of the reasons why you are making that promotion.”
  • “When you are having conversations with employee resource groups, folks of one demographic, I would recommend going to that conversation to listen. Learn what the communities are experiencing.”
  • “We have to use our experiences to impact others. Two things that are important to me that I also want to share: I identify as LGBTQ. I am gay and I am proud to be it. I wasn’t proud to be it at UOP, I will say that. When I was a student, it was difficult to express myself due to the demographics on campus. I also identify as Latinx Hispanic. Those are identities that are extremely underrepresented at UOP and in the tech industry … It’s our job to help others.”
  • “I didn’t know a role like Lyndon’s even existed for higher education, and I think that it is imperative.”
  • “I have pep talks with myself that I choose to be in a diverse and inclusive space. I choose to be vulnerable and to show what it is like to be the only gay person on a team. It’s not fun. And when there is a diversity and inclusion discussion, who do they look to? The person in the room who is underrepresented.”
  • “There is a tax that comes with being underrepresented. Some folks will want to have the conversations and want to make an impact. Some are just tired of it.”
  • “You need to invest in the talent and recruiting team for UOP. Who is doing the hiring? They definitely need some resources. It’s part of my job as a recruiter to be able to discover and identify folks who are underrepresented.”
  • “Sometimes what it takes is to be bold, to push back and advocate as well.”

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