Why it’s Personal
These are a few personal examples from PYP’s founder and CEO, Jenn T. Grace,
about why diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of what we do:
Factory Work. When I was 19 I took a year off between high school and college. During that year off I found myself with an opportunity to work on the assembly line of a hot water tank factory. In this role, I was one of four women in a factory of over 100 men. This role prepared me for life in countless ways. What it taught me was—how to navigate a working world dominated by men, the true meaning of hard, grueling, physical labor, and my assertive view on how to succeed in your career. Over the course of that year, I started working in the packing department, where all women were relegated and slowly moved my way through the entire assembly line (except painting). I learned that if you work your ass off, and do your job well, you can succeed despite the odds not being in your favor. Working on a job getting metal sliver splinters in your hands on a daily basis deeply teaches you what you will and won’t tolerate in your professional and personal life. It also taught me that at our core, we are all human, and looking for the same things in life, regardless of what path we are on, or path we plan on taking. Humanity is the core of our commonalities in a world where we focus too much on our differences. This experience taught me to focus on the here and now and enjoy the company of those who are very different from us. I will be forever grateful for the many life lessons this job taught me.
Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation. My first job out of college was with an insurance company. I had been working in retail management previously and being openly LGBTQ was a non-issue. I quickly learned that being “out” in an office environment put a target on my back. I worked surrounded by people with bigoted and homophobic views. I learned very quickly I was not welcome there. I worked hard for 5 years to try to change the culture of the organization from the inside with no success. Upon my departure, I made a vow that I would not ever allow someone to treat me the way I was treated in that environment, and further, that when I was in the role of employing or managing others that I would not allow that to happen to them either. This remains my commitment to this day.