Creating spaces where great people can do great things

Safety Manager, Hayley Moore was recognized as an honoree for Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by the Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ). 

MAR. 25, 2024
Nestor and Mary Fernandez at the end of the Dalton Highway in Dead Horse, Alaska

“A chord was struck my first week at Storyteller Overland, I felt inspired reading our Galaxy Guide. The guide is all about creating spaces where great people can do great things, in order to thrive and flourish both at work and in life.” – Hayley said.

The mission of the People and Culture Department is clear: 

Influence behaviors, drive action, and change mindsets. This approach is key to success in both the Safety World and the Advocating World.

The efforts we're making today will enhance Storyteller's workplace, making it safer, more inclusive, and overall, more effective.

Incorporating neurodiversity in our workplace isn’t just ethical; it’s a strategic decision that fosters a dynamic and innovative company culture.

Hayley’s nominator - Christina Linton, Chief People Officer - said “Hayley champions Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging pioneering as a Woman Leader at the helm of safety, health, and environmental initiatives in a male-dominated production and engineering landscape. Her approach resonates, earning unwavering respect across the entire workforce.” 

The BBJ is all about spotlighting the movers and shakers who put diversity center stage and committing to DEI efforts in the metro area. 

How do they do it? By bringing together like-minded individuals in the business realm for roundtable discussions and informative panels led by local thought leaders in a Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion series. They are now in their fourth year, recognizing outstanding contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion.

Check out Hayley’s full article in the Birmingham Business Journal.→

Hayley's Responses for the BBJ - DEI Questions

What motivates you to be a difference-maker in the DEI realm?

Witnessing the impact of systemic inequalities and discrimination throughout my career and personal life has fueled my commitment to being a positive change-maker. I feel driven by the vision of a world where everyone, regardless of their background or biology, feels valued and has equal opportunities to thrive. I am inspired by the potential for transformation that comes with fostering diverse perspectives, cultivating inclusivity, and educating others about equity. By actively promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, I hope to be a catalyst for positive change in both individual lives and larger societal structures.

In your career, are there any common missteps or misconceptions you’ve regularly seen for companies looking to improve their diversity and inclusion?

Previously in my career, the companies I have worked for tended to focus on visible diversity or disabilities. It is important to also consider those with invisible disabilities with different needs. Companies can embrace neurodiverse inclusion by recognizing and accommodating individuals with neurological differences, such as autism or ADHD. Often, companies miss the opportunity to tap into the unique perspectives and talents that neurodiverse individuals bring to the table. Implementing inclusive hiring practices, providing reasonable accommodations, and fostering an environment that celebrates neurodiversity can significantly contribute to a more comprehensive DEI strategy.

What’s a best practice for diversity and inclusion efforts that you would like to see more companies implement?

While DEI initiatives focusing on gender, race and age have been at the forefront of companies’ efforts for years, the creation of a truly inclusive environment for neurodiverse employees is just in the beginning stages. A best practice that companies can begin with is implementing accommodations to support neurodivergent employees’ success. These accommodations may involve providing flexibility in work hours or locations, offering assistive technologies, or creating sensory-friendly spaces. Companies should proactively engage in open conversations with neurodivergent employees to understand their specific needs and tailor accommodations on a need-by-need basis.

Where I have seen Storyteller Overland thrive in these efforts is having a best practice that shifts away from traditional notions of work and productivity–recognizing that neurodiverse individuals may not conform to conventional working styles. It is important for companies to value diverse ways of contributing. Just because someone does not work like a traditional worker has in the past does not make them invaluable. 

In your view, what is the biggest opportunity for metro Birmingham and/or its economy when it comes to diversity and inclusion?

When a community, whether that be a small workplace to metro Birmingham overall, actively cultivates diversity, it brings together a range of perspectives, skills, and talents. This diversity becomes a driving force for creativity and innovation, fostering an environment where new ideas can flourish. Inclusive communities attract a diverse workforce, which can be a magnet for businesses looking to tap into a pool of varied skills and experiences. 

Embracing diversity and inclusion can lead to a powerful social cohesion within a community. When individuals from different backgrounds feel included and valued, it creates a sense of belonging that extends beyond the workplace and spills over into the local community. This sense of unity contributes to a more stable and harmonious community vibe, fostering a positive environment for residents and businesses alike.

How do we get more Birmingham executives to buy into keeping DEI in the forefront?

Inclusive strategies can lead to significant outcomes, which includes boosting a company’s financial status. Building teams without different perspectives and the same skills represented, a company’s problem-solving potential diminishes. There is greater potential for success when you bring together diverse people with qualities that complement rather than mirror others. When a company includes and celebrates individuality in the workplace, it benefits the bottom line through easier recruitment, meaningful employee engagement and higher retention rates.

Are you confident commitments to diversity and inclusion will lead to significant change?

Of course! Ultimately, if the motivation for DEI stems from a deep-seated belief that embracing diversity is not only the right thing to do but also the key to unlocking a more just and prosperous future for everyone, significant change would be inevitable.

What is Birmingham doing right regarding diversity?

Many businesses (like Wal-Mart and AMC Theaters) within Birmingham have implemented accommodations for the neurodivergent to reach a population who would not necessarily come in due to being sensory-sensitive. Birmingham attractions (like the Birmingham Zoo and the McWane Science Center) have both been certified by KultureCity as being a sensory-inclusive facility. KultureCity is an amazing resource for both businesses and individuals to find venues, organizations, and businesses who are inclusive in regards to neurodiversity. Their educational programs are for anyone who wants to learn more about sensory needs and how to better engage with individuals with sensory needs.

Wonderful, joyful celebrations of diversity like The Exceptional Foundation, Studio by the Tracks, the Magic City Acceptance Academy, and businesses like Storyteller Overland show me that Birmingham is not as far behind the curve of DEI initiatives as it has felt in the past.

What does Birmingham need to improve on when it comes to diversity?

Even though there are many more improvements that need to be made to make our city an inclusive environment for people living with physical disabilities, city planners and urban designers could improve how they design, not just buildings and inside spaces, but cities, streets and public gathering points broader for the non-visible disability and neurodiverse population.

By fostering an inclusive environment, Birmingham will continue to build its reputation as a welcoming and progressive place. This positive image can attract investments, tourism, and a skilled workforce, contributing to the overall economic development of the city. Recognizing diversity as not a necessity, but a reason to celebrate will move this city in the right direction. 

We're thrilled that Hayley had the opportunity to represent Storyteller and receive recognition for her efforts in advancing diversity and inclusion. We are thankful for her contributions of helping create spaces where our team can thrive and flourish!

– Team Storyteller

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