In December of 2020, nearly 80 Evonik employees came together to participate in a diversity focused BarCamp. Unlike a traditional conference, a BarCamp is an open-format discussion where the topics discussed are driven by participants themselves. At the BarCamp, employees were able to attend a variety of breakout rooms that focused on topics such as unconscious bias, diversity recruiting, and the correct usage of gender pronouns.
The BarCamp was put together by Evonik’s North American Diversity Steering Committee. This committee was formed as a response to the political unrest that was seen in the United States during the summer of 2020. The Diversity Steering Committee is made up of approximately ten Evonik employees who come from a variety of professional backgrounds, locations, and walks of life throughout the company. The employees volunteer their time to meet anywhere between three to five times a week in order to focus on taking actionable steps to better communicate and promote Evonik as an inclusive company to all.
Maryella Matthews is a Senior Administrative Assistant at the Mobile Site and serves on the Diversity Steering Committee. She explained that the goal of the Diversity BarCamp was to openly discuss topics, introduce skills, and get employee feedback on diversity issues. “Human beings themselves have created an unequal playing field for others, but that means that it can be undone and that we can re-level the playing field again,” Matthews said. It is the goal of the Diversity Steering Committee to hold another BarCamp in the future so Evonik employees can continue to contribute to leveling out the playing field one discussion at a time.