Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is not a new concept. Over the past few years, DE&I became a top priority at companies and in recent history, some have even questioned the validity of this effort. Louisville Water continues to lean into its multi-faceted approach to its DE&I commitment of ‘being a force for positive change.’
Louisville Water recently announced the hiring of Cathy Scrivner, the company’s new Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B). Scrivner brings over 25 years of DEI&B experience to this newly established position. Prior to this role, Scrivner worked as a consultant for Louisville Water through Integrity Development, the organization that helped build Louisville Water’s current DEI&B agenda.
“The great thing about Louisville Water is they had embarked upon their most recent diversity conversations before the George Floyd and local Breonna Taylor tragedies. It started in 2019,” Scrivner said.
“Louisville Water employees make a difference, and our product is something we can be proud of. I’m excited to be part of the team and to support the organization with its inclusion initiatives.”
“Having an on-site diversity director is important in ensuring that Louisville Water has a guided and sustained focus on the company’s efforts in supporting and promoting inclusive and engaging initiatives,” said Vice President of Human Resources & Labor Relations, Terrence Spence. “Everyone brings something unique and different and that adds value to who we are and what we do.”
In 2019, Louisville Water planned to launch a robust internal DEI&B initiative to help employees understand the role they play in our internal community as well as with customers. While COVID delayed this launch, Louisville Water pressed forward through the pandemic hosting virtual ‘courageous conversations’ and trainings facilitated with staff at every level. Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, protests erupted in Louisville. Protective property shields went up for a short period at the company’s corporate headquarters downtown. The company reinforced its commitment through having local youths’ artistic expressions publicly displayed in front of the main entrance.
“Over the past several years, we have been working to ensure everyone feels truly connected to the organization. This means we have an inclusive culture where we all feel a sense of belonging,” said Louisville Water President & CEO Spencer Bruce. “I’m grateful that Cathy is joining our team and leveraging her incredible experience to help drive this important work.”
Many steps have been taken to move Louisville Water toward becoming a more people-centered organization. One step includes the creation of the CORE council, an innovative employee-led council that encourages and promotes DEI&B through a Culture of Ownership, Respect, and Engagement (CORE).
Other steps include implementing two culturally-based holidays— Juneteenth and a personal floating holiday which allows employees to recognize other important religious or cultural days. New banners were designed to support community diversity, designated spaces provide privacy for nursing mothers, and new pronoun options in email signatures allow for self-expression, complementing many other steps that aim to facilitate a culture of respect for all.