If you’ve been watching closely, you might have noticed that here at Ecolab, we’ve begun using the word “equity” in our discussions and communications about diversity and inclusion (D&I).
Even though we’ve been doing this work for a long time, adding the “E” to our DE&I conversations is the right thing to do. Equity is different from equality—it’s about outcomes and changing systems from the inside out.
After George Floyd’s death in May, our CEO, Doug Baker, made it clear where we stand. I am grateful to Doug for amplifying our voices and leading the way on what true allyship looks like. I am inspired by his commitment to being part of the change we need right now in our societies, when so many of us are hurting and demanding change.
In my role leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) for Ecolab, the link between what’s happening outside our walls and what we’re trying to build internally has never been more important. What’s happening in our community has inspired us to think about what DE&I looks like for us and what the future holds.
We’re working to assess and redefine our DE&I vision through this lens, to build more collaborative, integrated and wide-ranging alliances internally and externally, through our partnerships with Ecolab leaders, customers and our communities. We are also committing to faster progress and transformation, and we are holding ourselves accountable. Doing so will help us accelerate in delivering on our incredibly compelling purpose in making the world cleaner, safer and healthier.
Make no mistake: I am enormously proud of our diversity, equity and inclusion progress. Earning honors from groups including Working Mother Media and DiversityInc is no easy feat. But in my mind, we’ve reached a tipping point. I can see that the energy and enthusiasm for this work internally is building and growing. And though we are making progress, there is still so much more to do – and so we continue listening, learning and striving to do better.
As a Latina, during Hispanic Heritage Month I am especially heartened to celebrate our progress and recent recognition by the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility. Latinxs represent the fastest-growing and youngest ethnic or racial group in the U.S., making up roughly 18 percent of the total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Our valuable contributions both culturally and in terms of economic growth are undeniable. Between 2010 and 2016, Latinxs accounted for 76 percent of all U.S. labor force growth.
I am the proud daughter and granddaughter of strong, smart, hardworking Puerto Rican women – and I can attest to the sense of pride that comes from the struggle to survive, thrive and succeed in spite of our poverty. Growing up, I remember watching my mother sacrifice her own needs and desires, working tirelessly to put three daughters through college. Being largely raised by Tita, our dear grandmother, then moving to the continental U.S. at age 18to attend college, I was certain I would return to the island home that I love. Things don’t always turn out the way you plan, I’ve learned. Every day I am reminded of my good fortune, creating a fulfilling career here in Minnesota and watching my children grow into the wonderful humans they are and will be.
As a longtime Ecolab employee, I am profoundly grateful—to my colleagues, our community of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), our business leaders and the incredibly diverse chorus of global voices, ideas and perspectives they bring to my team’s work.
The passion for doing the right thing here at Ecolab runs deep, and I couldn't be more honored to be a part of this team.