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An Interview With Battelle’s VP of DEI, Storm Woods: Why Battelle Should Be Your Next Career Move

I come from a family that’s really passionate about doing the best thing for the people around you. My father served in the United States Army and my mother was a teacher. Growing up, they instilled in me ideas around social justice, not making assumptions about other people, language or food, and not passing judgment on customs or things people value. 

I studied theater at the Ohio State University, and later got my Master’s in Human Resource Management, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion and how those things drive business and a business’ strategy. I got myself a mentor, a great job in the retail space, and then this opportunity at Battelle came along. It was the right time to make a move, not because I was unhappy in my current role – I was actually quite content. I told myself I wasn’t going to take a leap until the right company really spoke to me. 

I know what I want to hear and experience from an organization's leadership. I want to believe leaders when they tell me this work is important to them. I want them to have a great reputation for corporate social responsibility. I want them to be involved in the community. I want to be proud of where I’m working. And this opportunity came about at Battelle. So here I am, loving it, and having a wonderful time learning something brand new every single day from incredibly brilliant people. 

Why Would I Want to Work at Battelle as a Cleared Professional?

Cleared professionals are driven by passion, purpose, and the mission. And Battelle is an organization of individuals who come together to move forward our mission of applying science and technology into innovations that have a positive impact on the world. 

Battelle is a great place to work for folks who are focused on this type of purpose and passion – and also to find like-minded individuals to work with. It’s one thing to be passionate and purpose-driven on your own. It’s a completely different thing to work with other folks who are also passionate and purpose-driven. 

Six Employee Resource Groups

The employee resource groups (ERGs) are a passion of mine. I’m excited about the work they do, the value they add to the organization, and the communities they build and create. They are inclusive by design. You just have to be curious to part of an ERG. We have six employee resource groups at Battelle.  

  • African American and Black Leadership Excellence (AABLE) ERG which focuses on making Battelle an employer of choice for Black and African American employees. 

  • Embrace, which is for individuals who are really passionate about cultural differences.  

  • The Military Support ERG is centered around providing support, resources, and community for individuals who are serving, have served, their dependents, and also folks who are passionate about engaging more deeply with the veteran and military communities.  

  • NextGen, which is centered around bridging generational gaps in the workforce, and how we can help folks of every generation get to what’s next in their careers.  

  • Prism is our ERG that supports the LGBTQIA+ community. They are super passionate, deeply engaged, and they partner across the business and a lot of our other ERGs. 

  • The Women’s Network which is also an incredibly diverse group of folks. Some folks are parents, some are not parents, and some are adult caregivers. Some folks are at different levels of the organization. So, you have all different levels, careers, and identities. 

A great thing about our ERGs is they do a lot of work around intersectionality and collaboration. How do we bridge gaps together? How do we partner to build understanding that no one of us is a single identity? 

Our ERGs work really hard to help employees navigating challenges and experiences, moments, opportunities, and conversations, in a safer space. We want the space to be as safe as possible to have challenging conversations and to share our experiences. 

And the ERGs help us to build community, bridging some of those gaps that may exist when we talk about different geographic locations, different skill sets, etc. They also help with navigating transition in the workspace, whether you’re transitioning from one career to a new career, one level to another, a new geographic location, or from in person to remote. All of these things are pretty significant stressors and the ERGs provide support. You’ve got a community of people who have successfully done the things that you’re working to do. 

DEIs Impact on Recruitment, Engagement and Retention

We work to establish Battelle as an employer of choice, understanding that an ‘employer of choice’ is going to be different for different people. Difference makes a difference. 

I had an experience with someone entering the workforce, that had always known they were going to be on a team that looked different from them. They were likely going to be the only one. Coming to an organization that helps support not only individuality, but also their membership in a group was beneficial. Having a community here made a difference to that person. It makes a big difference for me, too.  

Have you ever experienced a lot of bad days in a row at work, but there’s one or two people that you look forward to seeing at lunch or on a meeting? You send them a quick message and their response makes you feel seen, heard, and respected. That’s what we’re looking to do for everybody. Everyone deserves to have a community at work. It’s how we feel best supported, most engaged, and most encouraged. 

And when we think about inclusion, we need to have folks who are excited about bringing difference into the conversation and teams who nurture the value of difference by leaning in. So, we spend a lot of time thinking through who’s here and who’s not. How can we seek out some new and different information? Who’s going to challenge us the most? How do we bring together the most talented, most skilled, most representative, most excited, most passionate group of folks to solve a problem? 

And when it comes to engagement and retention, we’re not afraid to have a difficult conversation. We have difficult conversations when we innovate and develop something new. And so we also have to be able to have difficult conversations about what it’s like to be in spaces, work teams, and environments every day, and then come together to focus on a project so that we can be physically and psychologically safe when we’re doing these things. 

Our goal is for everyone to come to work and go home having a wonderful day, feeling safe, secure, and happy. We can’t do that if individuals don’t feel a strong enough sense of belonging and safety to be able to say, “hang on a second, we need to stop,” or “there’s a better way to do this,” or “we need to have a conversation about this,” or “based on my lived experience, we need to invite somebody else to the conversation.” 

Advice for Transitioning Military

As a member of a military family, I’ve seen great value in finding a community. Find a community that is supportive, motivating, and that also speaks your language. To be in the military is to be multilingual. It’s helpful to have a community of individuals who are also speaking all of those languages, with a shared experience to help translate and navigate challenges. 

For transitioning military job seekers, dig deep during the hiring process. Ask about what resources might be available. Will you have a community when you arrive? If so, would they mind introducing you to someone in that community to help bridge that gap ahead of time? 

It’s important not only to have peers in that space, but to identify whether or not there are leaders in this space that have had similar experiences. Being able to look up and see yourself in someone else, or to find someone in a position to provide mentorship or sponsorship is also incredibly important. 

If you have questions, we encourage you to reach out using our careers page: 

https://www.battelle.org/careers  

Other helpful resource links: 

Careers for veterans: Careers for Veterans | Battelle Careers 

Clearance jobs: https://jobs.battelle.org/us/en/clearance  

Learn more about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (including ERGs): Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Battelle 


Read the entire article on ClearedJobs.net https://blog.clearedjobs.net/find-cleared-opportunities-and-your-community-at-battelle/ - you’ll find out more about opportunities at Battelle and even our work in STEM.

Photo: scientist examining samples in the lab

Posted
September 08, 2023
Author
Battelle Insider
Estimated Read Time
6 Mins
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