By Morenike K. Miles
Dominion Energy is a company with a long history of dedication to customer service, diversity, and community involvement. Those are more than just words, but an active commitment to creating genuine opportunity for all people.
We believe a diverse workforce is essential in fulfilling our core values of safety, ethics, excellence and teamwork. We want not only to represent the people and communities we serve, but also to foster innovation and collaboration. An inclusive environment encourages the coming together of different talents, perspectives and energy and, we believe, it makes us a better company.
One area where we focus on diversity is in our workforce. The breadth of our employees’ backgrounds and experiences allows us to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing our communities. Ultimately, this makes us a stronger company better able to serve our customers. To help ensure we take advantage of this benefit each of our business units has established its own diversity council to fully integrate Dominion Energy’s diversity and inclusion strategy and to serve as an advisory body.
Another way we promote diversity is through employee resource groups (ERGs). For example, our African American Resource Group supports Dominion Energy’s initiatives to recruit and retain African American employees and provides valuable professional development, training and mentoring opportunities to participants. This group has extended its reach beyond our employees and now is providing development opportunities for those in the community. It partners with local nonprofits to provide high potential students from challenging circumstances with tools and experiences necessary to pursue higher education.
In another example, our employees all the way up to the executive level are very active in the American Association of Blacks in Energy. The organization’s focus on energy policy, education, professional development, and networking aligns well with our employees’ development interests. We also believe it’s important that all voices are heard in the national dialogue on energy policy.
Along with workforce diversity, we are committed to diversity in our supplier base. To facilitate that, we set rigorous annual corporate goals for spending with diverse and local businesses. We believe minority, women and veteran owned businesses, as well as small disadvantaged ones, are a great source for collaboration and innovation. One of our goals in working with diverse suppliers is for them to conduct business not only with Dominion Energy, but also to grow and be more competitive with other companies as well.
This means Dominion Energy is actively looking to work with diverse suppliers. In 2017, we increased our spending with diverse suppliers by 12 percent compared to 2016 and set a company record in the amount we spent with diverse suppliers. We also began holding matchmaking events that paired local businesses with members of our management and procurement teams to discuss pending projects and opportunities. These partnerships translate into economic growth in our communities and we are excited to bring them to South Carolina.
We are also intentionally focused on diversity by giving back to our communities and investing in people. Many of our community partners, which receive support through the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, already are serving South Carolina’s African American community. This includes groups you might be familiar with, such as the wonderful Brookland Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and many others. Together, Dominion Energy and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation annually award about $28 million in four focus areas: human needs, environmental stewardship, education, and community vitality.
We support community revitalization and we are committed to helping those who need it most. We do that through programs like EnergyShare, Dominion Energy’s energy assistance program for anyone facing financial hardships from unemployment or family crisis. Last year, EnergyShare spent more than $5 million to assist customers in need and we are expanding the program.
Dominion Energy is a company committed to helping communities thrive. It is a company that is doing more than talking a good game. It is a company full of opportunity for all people of South Carolina.