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AECOMs Patrice discusses the importance of awareness months

AECOM's Patrice discusses the importance of awareness months

 April 04, 2019

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Patrice Graves is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for AECOM's Design and Consulting Services, Americas, and Construction Services groups. Patrice discusses her own approach to workplace equality and how she celebrates inclusion and diversity through awareness months.

"We live and work in a multicultural and diverse society. Awareness months help us understand various cultures and the attributes that make each of us unique. It’s this embracing of differences that strengthens our inclusion muscles," says Patrice.

Understanding the importance of inclusion

Patrice explains that AECOM is striving for an inclusive environment that values all employees and their differences. AECOM wants each individual to bring their true self to work every day and to give their fullest. AECOM knows that this is the key to the best collaboration and innovation.

Celebrating awareness months

Patrice celebrates inclusion and diversity through awareness months. February is Black History Month and March marks Gender Equality Month, Women’s History Month, and National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

"Both months represent, in some regards, elements of my personal journey. These experiences are just a few examples of things that have ultimately shaped who I am today," says Patrice.

"I am a working family member, mother of two sons — one with dyslexia, which is a learning difference — and I am of a generation not too far removed from the plights of Jim Crow segregation."

"For those unfamiliar with the term Jim Crow, it represents the U.S. state and local laws in effect in our recent history that enforced racial segregation. It also references a minstrel show character that gained popularity at the time — white actors would put on rags and use burnt cork to blacken their faces (a.k.a. Blackface) to present a mocking exaggeration of African-Americans as “lazy, stupid, and inherently less human, and unworthy of integration," explains Patrice.

Appreciating the experiences of others

For Patrice, recognizing these points in history inspires her and validates her desires  — to work at AECOM and be respected and appreciated for her unique perspectives, such as being asked to share her opinion on things from a new workplace cultural initiative to how best to market services to a diverse customer segment.

"Inclusion & Diversity and the various activities happening locally in support of awareness months are examples of opportunities to learn, share perspectives and appreciate the experiences of others —making AECOM an employer of choice," says Patrice.

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