The Lab’s inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability – IDEA – strategy begins with inclusion. Inclusion refers to building a welcoming environment where everyone feels respected, heard, supported, and valued and can fully participate.
We asked Kat Bedford, a member of the Facilities team, for her thoughts on inclusion at the Lab.
Elements: How do you define inclusion?
Kat Bedford: Inclusion is involving everyone in the life of the Lab. I’ve been here 23 years, and it is a good feeling when we can all feel like we are a part of something bigger. I don’t do science, but I always ask people, what are you working on and how can I help? Inclusion is feeling like you matter, what you say matters. You feel appreciated for who you are and what you contribute.
Elements: How do you handle situations where you’ve not been included, or you’ve noticed others who are not being included?
Bedford: As an African-American woman, I know what it is like to be excluded. People are often overlooked because of perceived expectations. I think people pigeon-hole others into positions because of the way they look. I dress in work clothes because that is my job, but that is not who I am. I am not defined by others’ expectations. I make myself visible and speak up when needed. I’m here to help others do the same.
Elements: What is your personal commitment to making IDEA part of the culture at the Lab?
Bedford: I love IDEA. I get excited because it is new and designed to bring people together. My personal commitment to IDEA is to educate my co-workers and people I run into about our changing culture. I know that not everyone reads emails or Elements, so I’ll spread the word personally and ask others to share as well. We’re all here to do our job, and I think IDEA is one way we can come together.