Monday, November 28, 2022

Building DEI from the ground up at Southwest Gas

Southwest Gas’ Sharon Braddy McKoy and Courtney Moore 

Companies nationwide are experiencing a cultural shift in the wake of movements like Black Lives Matter and the expectations of employees and investors. Organizations that have begun making changes to ensure a more inclusive work environment are leading the charge to drive inclusion for all. Courtney Moore is the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) at Southwest Gas, and is using his experience at a global casino company to lead the function at the utility’s locations in Nevada, Arizona and California. 

“Joining Southwest Gas presented a unique opportunity because my role is new to the company. This affords me the ability to design, cultivate and shape the company’s growing commitment to DEI,” says Moore. “My experience has shown me that different employees have different experiences in the workplace, whether it’s due to often unnoticed factors like the geographic location of different roles — near or far from headquarters — or the more common DEI demographics, like race, gender and sexual identity. I’m grateful that Southwest Gas is giving me the responsibility of educating our employees because people are the most important aspect of an organization. The more a company invests in its people, with the appropriate lens of diversity, the more you can derive better results.” 

A benefit of focusing on DEI at Southwest Gas, which has about 2,200 employees, versus a worldwide corporation with tens of thousands, is that the smaller organization is nimble — allowing for quicker development of strategy, plan, and implementation. 

Over the next 2-5 years, Moore says what is most important at Southwest Gas is continued support from leadership. The more its leaders speak openly about DEI and demonstrate support through their actions, the easier it is to be accepted by employees. Success will be defined by continued DEI education and professional development opportunities for all employees. 

“This year, our focus areas are communication, where we disseminate information appropriately throughout our entire organization about the mission of DEI; upcoming opportunities and the importance of the program; ensuring our DEI programs and events are sustainable and scalable; and finally, continue to grow the function across the Company so it becomes embedded in the organization’s culture,” adds Moore. 

The focus on DEI at Southwest Gas is intended to infuse DEI into every aspect of the organization, maximize opportunities for all employees and uplift the communities we serve. 

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