“Throughout my life, I've been concerned with fairness and justice. As a small child, my favorite word was "why?". This search for answers has led me down some interesting paths - first in learning about inequities and then in trying to find solutions.”
In celebration of Global Diversity Awareness Month, we delve into the inspiring life of Patricia Smith, Technical Client Support Analyst for Equifax, and a dedicated advocate for diversity and inclusion. Global Diversity Awareness Month recognizes and celebrates the diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives that make our world unique. It serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about diversity's importance and create more inclusive communities.
Around a decade ago, Patricia couldn't ignore the division within her town—people of color residing in the north while white residents occupied the south. Patricia was conflicted by the divide in her community and strongly desired to understand the issues faced by people of color in that area. The realization laid the foundation for her future endeavors in diversity and inclusion work, eventually shaping her path toward becoming an ally and fostering a more inclusive and empathetic world.
Can you share a pivotal moment that compelled you to become an ally?
Appalled by the separation in my community, I embarked on a journey to connect with those on the other side of town. My path led me to the Interfaith Mission Service, an organization working to fulfill Dr. Martin Luther King's global vision of a world where everyone can prosper. I have also worked with Faith in Action Alabama, a group that advocates for changes in laws to address the unequal treatment of people to end systemic racism.
My work with Interfaith Mission Service and Faith in Action Alabama allowed me to connect with patient and kind individuals willing to share their experiences. As a result, I have gained a better understanding of the experiences of people of color and strengthened my commitment to creating a more inclusive and empathetic community. I've learned to appreciate and deeply respect the diverse fabric of my community, and I feel fortunate to have been a part of these efforts.
What motivated you to become an active member of various Equifax Employee Networks?
My Father was a navigator for Pan Am World Airlines in the late 30's and 40's. He got to see the world and appreciate other cultures. He taught me that people of different cultures are to be appreciated and celebrated, not feared.
So it is with intentionality that I have joined various Equifax employee networks where I am in the minority, like BOLD (Black Organization for Leveraging Differences). Within BOLD, I facilitate a book club where we read fiction and non-fiction works from black authors, including those prominent during the Harlem Renaissance. As the facilitator, I have opinions, but I'm there to learn from others in the group. Through our discussions, I can see the world differently and better understand different perspectives.
What are your tips on how to be a better ally at work?
Looking at the definition of allyship specific to the workplace means using your privilege to support colleagues from historically marginalized communities. Allies wield their influence to amplify the voices and elevate the employee experience of their underrepresented coworkers.
First seek to understand others point of view through education and personal experience. Joining the various Networks at Equifax is a safe space to learn and grow in understanding. This leads to better allyship.
Why be a better ally? To help create an organization that values each employee and their contributions. Acceptance for who you are removes the fear of offering bold new solutions to benefit our company and customers.