Throughout 2020, South Carolina-based CarolinaPower, together with its sister companies in Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, is actively participating in an employee resource group (ERG) recently chartered by parent company PPC Partners, Inc.
Known as the “United Women of the PPC Companies,” the new ERG was formed in July 2019 to promote gender diversity across the companies. More than 62 employees in the PPC family of companies have already joined, with membership expected to increase as the new year unfolds.
“The overriding goal of this professional networking group, which is dedicated to supporting the women of the PPC Companies, is to engage all women in the workplace – both in the office and the field – and improve the employee experience for all,” said Chris Moore, President of CarolinaPower. “I’m pleased to say that the group’s membership does includes men, and I’m proud to be one of them.”
Moore went on to say, “PPC leadership supports diversity and has charged all employees with building the best teams possible, based on merit. Women can’t demonstrate superior performance if never introduced to the industry and given the opportunity to excel. It is our job to make that introduction and facilitate that opportunity. My advice to other men is to get involved with the United Women of the PPC Companies to promote our company, our industry, and the abundance of opportunities that we offer.”
The UWPPC’s mission is rooted in the foundational beliefs of the PPC family of companies: The Power to Serve, The Pursuit of Excellence, and Entrepreneurial Spirit. The United Women of PPC Companies holds quarterly business meetings and educational events via Microsoft Teams, shares resources on the PPC Partners intranet, and regularly communicates with its members through LinkedIn, Facebook and an e-newsletter.
The UWPPC Book Club completed its first book, Dare to Lead, by Brené Brown in December 2020. Over 20 members read the book or listened to the audiobook and 12 participated in the ending discussion. Additional UWPPC Book Club reads will be held throughout 2021 as a result of the positive feedback received from participants.
In one of the ERG’s educational sessions held in October 2020, Charlotte’s own Demi Knight Clark, founder of She Built this City, was a guest speaker for a virtual Lunch-n-Learn session with the group. She Built this City is a non-profit organization committed to sparking interest in construction and the maker trades for women and girls ages 9-17. Clark is a residential construction industry executive with over 20 years of experience. She envisions a world where #20PercentBy2020 is not only a smashed glass ceiling by thousands but also a world where women and men are equal in all trades. As the “only woman in the room” for much of her career, she is a passionate advocate for equal representation in all things – from boardrooms to sports endeavors.
Clark’s presentation explored how cultural and generational differences impact our workplace interactions – from gender and beyond. She also offered five tools that will jumpstart a successful diversity and inclusion strategy in the construction environment.
“For companies in the trade, construction and energy space who are actively advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion – these programs are necessary if we’re to achieve our She Built This City mission of ‘50/50 by 2030’,” said Clark. “In the world of COVID, we’re able to conduct these ‘safe space trainings’ virtually, which may be more comfortable for teams who are beginning their journey of change and want multiple layers to discover manager sentiment.”
Clark added, “For any other companies, associations or trade programs who would like this type of program, I’m always available to help for a small donation to our mission in 2020 and beyond. Contact me so we can begin that positive change that companies as courageous as the United Women of PPC Companies have undertaken!”
Speaking on behalf of the 40 individuals who attended the Teams call, Kateri Justice, executive assistant with PPC Partners, Inc., deemed the Lunch-n-Learn a hit with the United Women of PPC Companies. “Some of our employees in Wisconsin were fascinated with She Built This City’s success in effectively promoting the construction trades in the Carolinas and expressed interest in trying to duplicate those efforts in their region.”
Dr Edwin Garcia, Chief People Officer of PPC Partners Inc, and a pioneer in the diversity and inclusion (D&I) field, noted “At PPC Partners, we are an employee-owned business founded on principles of Servant Leadership. We see our commitment to ERGs within an industry not known for them, as an extension of our call to serve. We are proud to start our ERG journey with the launch of United Women of the PPC Companies. For over 70 years, our company has been serving customers and communities providing exceptional service and innovative solutions as an electrical, mechanical and automation contractor – and now the firm has one of the few women ERGs in the construction industry.”
Benefits of Belonging to UWPPC Employee Resource Group
- Attracting and retaining more women in our workplace
- Inclusion and involvement in decision making
- Having your voice heard/strength in numbers
- Connection to construction related groups
- Addressing inequalities in our workplace
- Professional and personal development
- Volunteering community Involvement
- Mentorship opportunities
- Conference attendance
- Education events
- Peer support
“We are passionate about creating an inclusive environment where each woman achieves her full potential.”
– United Women of the PPC Companies