Like home, work should be a place where you feel safe and supported to reach your fullest potential. This belief is in the fabric of Mercy Housing’s founding — everyone should feel included no matter their ethnicity, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Jane Graf, Mercy Housing President & CEO is passionate about fostering a sense of inclusion from the communities we serve to our very own offices.
Recently, Jane and Janice Turner, Mercy Housing Senior Vice President of HR, sat down to discuss steps forward for Mercy Housing’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative. Janice has been guiding these efforts— “it’s not a program, it’s our company culture, it’s who we are,” she says.
“This is a topic we [society] have talked around, it’s time to start doing something about it.”—Jane Graf, President & CEO
Jane is passionate about this initiative reaching every part of Mercy Housing all the way up to the leadership teams because that’s what builds trust, an irreplaceable part of diversity. “We need our board to reflect the diversity of our communities and residents,” Jane says.
Mercy Housing isn’t stopping with leadership teams. It’s important for leadership to reflect a variety of perspectives and backgrounds, but company-wide efforts at all levels are necessary for us to grow. Mercy Housing has initiated many steps to foster meaningful equity, inclusion, and diversity:
- We launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page on our internal website to give employees access to videos, articles, monthly quotes, employee spotlights, and many more resources.
- The Mercy Housing California board is actively forming diversity and inclusion strategies to incorporate.
- Mercy Housing Lakefront has had a Diversity Council for 16 years and continues to have three diversity days each year celebrating the concept of ‘many voices, one mission.’
- Leadership teams from Mercy Housing came from all over the country to attend diversity workshops analyzing root causes and solutions for solving systemic racism.
- Mercy Housing Northwest completed a racial equity work plan.
We hope to see diversity and inclusion initiatives to be successful beyond Mercy Housing. Our sentiment for authenticity through action is echoed in a recent Forbes article stating that “one of the common misconceptions surrounding diversity and inclusion is that it isn’t achieved simply by bringing diverse individuals into a space and calling it diversity and inclusion.”
Mercy Housing is working to ensure that the necessary resources, education, and strategic planning keep these issues at the forefront of our work. These efforts are meant to build trust, an irreplaceable ingredient for diversity and inclusion to truly be company culture. At Mercy Housing we create communities, through stable, affordable homes. Trust is at the root of our work, it’s the foundation of our partnerships and an essential ingredient of what we offer residents because a home with trust is where people can be themselves, to learn, and reach their full potential.
We will continue our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative and invite you to reach out with resources, feedback, and perspective.