EMBRACE – it’s time to talk
Conversations about race can sometimes feel uncomfortable – but that’s no reason not to speak out. Newsline recently spoke with Bhonae Tayali, EMIT digital support advisor, of the EMBRACE Network about its latest activities, which seek to show why we must actively listen, learn and talk about the experiences of our colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds, in order to live out the ExxonMobil value of being inclusive.
EMBRACE – it’s time to talk
“We recognise that talking about race, however awkward or challenging, is necessary,” says Bhonae. “For this reason, the EMBRACE team has been working to provide some guidance that empowers everyone to join the conversation. Only by helping colleagues to start and participate in these conversations, can we truly work towards racial equality,” she adds. “And how better to get people talking than by providing them with the tools to do so. That’s where we hope our new EMBRACE Ally Guide and EMBRACE 101 training will help.”
EMBRACE 101 is designed to support conversations about race within ExxonMobil. It aims to discuss the problem at hand and show how conversations can be used in the context of specific discussions about race and racism to help connect colleagues. It also explains how talking openly about race can overcome the obstacles that prevent real progress.
Bhonae explains that one of the aims of the EMBRACE network is to raise awareness of the issues and help people overcome them. She says: “We want people working across all levels and business units in ExxonMobil to be part of the solution. This material will be an introduction to racial diversity issues. It will challenge colleagues to question their own views and give tips on how they too can become an Ally.
So, what is an Ally? Within this context, an Ally is someone who actively promotes a culture of inclusion through intentional, positive and conscious efforts that benefit people as a whole. It is something that has worked successfully to help the LGBTQ+ community, and Roland Parrott, EAME technology operations manager, who was instrumental in developing the ExxonMobil PRIDE 101 Guide, has also been leading the creation of this material for EMBRACE.
“People worry they will say the wrong thing or put their foot in it,” Bhonae adds. “We need everyone to overcome these fears by providing some light touch education, so they feel comfortable and empowered to have a conversation.
“It is exciting to see this coming to fruition. So far, we've created pages for Black and South Asian history, as well as resources that people can go to for further information – taking them from curious to courageous as part of their allyship journey.”
The new EMBRACE Ally Guide is available for download and will be accompanied by interactive online EMBRACE 101 webinars over the summer. To book your place on the first of these taking place on Monday, 21 June at 12 noon, please register online at goto/EMBRACE101 where you can also download the Ally Guide.