Q: The IDEA Office has been busy in the past few years. Do you have an update on how IDEA has become part of the Lab’s culture?
A: Yes, we have a report coming out soon that will share progress from our IDEA journey so far and the greatest opportunities for impact on the road ahead. Through this progress report, we will be able to be more transparent and direct with the Lab community and showcase the milestones, efforts, and most importantly, the people, who have helped ingrain these important principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, accountability into our Lab culture. We will release this report in the next two weeks, so be sure to look out for it.
Q: What type of learning activities does the IDEA Office have planned for the year?
A: We are excited at the range of learning opportunities throughout the Lab. We are working with the areas to come up with best-in-class examples of how areas are implementing IDEA. We will present these examples as case studies and include supporting material to foster the adoption of these ideas in other areas. We may add lunchtime learning sessions to the written material to answer questions and engage in a more in-depth understanding of what worked in each area.
Q: Is Equity Reset going to continue in 2023?
A: Yes, we plan to have two Equity Reset sessions this year. For those unfamiliar with it, Equity Reset is an ongoing and evolving approach to racial equity learning, development, and action. It is a way to put the Lab’s organizational value of stewardship into practice, and embody the behaviors and practices essential to sustaining a diverse, inclusive, equitable work culture.
There are two ways to engage with Equity Reset. The first is a self-directed program of reading and reflection. For those who enjoy learning with others, there will be sessions on the first Fridays of April, May, and June. People can join for two hours of discussion in either a morning or afternoon session. There is pre-reading material so you can come prepared to join the small group learning experience. It is open to everyone at the Lab.
Q: What other programs can we look forward to this year?
A: We will pilot a program to support allyship in the workplace starting February 24.
It starts with two two-hour workshops followed by three one-hour small group sessions. Allyship is about people stewardship and living Berkeley Lab’s Stewardship Values of respect, trust, service, and team science, and this series teaches you more than 50 specific, research-backed actions you can take to show up as an ally. The workshops are open to anyone at the Lab. The registration deadline is Feb. 17.
Q: Will there be another Stewardship Summit in 2023?
A: Yes, we look forward to bringing the Stewardship Summit back to the Lab this fall. The Lab ran two separate pilots of the Stewardship Summit in 2021 and 2022, engaging nearly 200 participants ranging from aspiring managers to senior leaders of the Lab. We, along with our partners in Learning and Organizational Development, have received amazing feedback and have learned a lot about how to optimize the learning experience for future cohorts. For more details about the program, please visit stewardshipsummit.lbl.gov and check back later this spring to apply.
Q: How does the IDEA Office support research at the Lab?
A: This is a huge area of growth for us. Over the past year, we have produced a guide to help researchers incorporate IDEA principles and activities into their proposals and project plans, and we’ve worked with researchers to support them in assessing their internal work and team cultures through culture assessments. We are learning from our researchers what types of support from our office will be most useful.
Q: Mentoring appears to be taking off at the Lab as well.
A: I’m excited about the increase in formal mentoring opportunities and programs. The incredible IDEA Mentorship Working Group, under the guidance of the IDEA Senior Leadership Council, has been in operation since 2021 and has been responsible for launching a slew of lab-wide mentoring-related activities over the past year. Please visit and bookmark mentoring.lbl.gov for more details, which includes updates on new Just-In-Time Mentoring events, the launch of the new Operations mentoring program, and the new Entering Mentoring program that is getting started. Note that all of this programming is in addition to the amazing formal divisional and area-level mentoring programs that have already been running at the Lab for years.
Q: Normally mental and physical health are not associated with diversity and inclusion. How did the IDEA Office get involved in those areas?
A: The program, like many things, grew out of the pandemic. We saw that people were interested in staying healthy during a very challenging time. We reached out to EH&S, and they were thinking along the same lines, so we collaborated on developing resources and scheduling speakers. That evolved into Healthy & Well at LBNL, a website with a wealth of resources on everything from mental health, physical fitness, mindfulness, and community-building.
The Be Well at Work workshops were very popular in 2022, so we will continue them this year in partnership with the Employee Assistance Program at UC Berkeley. The Employee Assistance Program includes counseling and referral services (at no cost to Berkeley Lab employees) and access to the UC Berkeley Be Well at Work programs and workshops like Parenting & Caregiving and Eldercare. We will host a series of workshops on various mental health topics just for Berkeley Lab employees. Look for more information in Elements and on the Healthy & Well at LBNL calendar of events.
Q: Heritage months are also something we look forward to at the Lab. Are those going to continue?
A: Yes, we support all of the Employee Resource Group (ERG) heritage and awareness months. In addition to being a purposeful way to get together, these observations allow for collaboration and learning from each other. All of the heritage month activities are open to all Lab employees, so we encourage everyone to participate.
ERGs promote diversity and equality by raising awareness and ensuring that group members have a voice in the organization. ERGs are often organized around traits or characteristics of underrepresented groups; for example, ethnicity or race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or veteran status. But ERGs also are spaces that represent and celebrate the breadth of diversity and complexity within any one of these groups. Take a look at the ERG website to see the full list of all nine ERGs.
At the Lab, our ERGs also allow employees to participate directly with our ongoing IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accountability) initiatives and assist in fully integrating IDEA into the Lab’s day-to-day business practices through strategic initiatives and policy-related goals. ERGs are open to all Lab employees, including allies!
Q: What is the IDEA Office’s involvement in outreach?
A: We partner with the Talent Outreach Office and help support the Lab Ambassador Program. The Talent Outreach Office is responsible for developing and leading the Lab’s diversity outreach efforts focused on women, veterans, under-represented minorities, and individuals with disabilities. We help recruit Lab employees who want to take part in those efforts. Lab Ambassadors attend conferences and events and can participate in panels, talks, networking, and career fair booths. They represent the Lab by promoting it as an employer of choice, share our values, share their passion for science, and engage with underserved communities by showing students the power of scientific research. We are always looking for volunteers who are interested in participating in the program.