When you hear the word “diversity,” what comes to mind? Race, gender, or religion, perhaps? For Emily Leon, Diversity Specialist, it’s a broader concept. “Diversity includes those demographics, but it goes beyond that. For us to be innovative, we have to provide diversity of thought,” she says.
Leon encourages a diverse and inclusive workforce, largely through community outreach. She partners with organizations at the University of Central Florida (UCF), including Women in Engineering, National Society of Black Engineers, CareerSource, PROSPERA and the Orlando Economic Partnership. And, she serves on the board for the Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce. Leon sees diversity at OUC as a benefit for customers, too. “If we have a workforce that mirrors our community, then we’ll understand our community better,” she says.
Her favorite project has been the Emerging Student Program (ESP), which creates paid internships for students at OUC. It enhances diversity and provides real-life work experience for students, and it is a strategy for succession planning. “Our hope is students are hired as opportunities become available,” explains Leon.
Leon’s future goal includes expanding the program with a focus on skilled trades, and inclusion initiatives for OUC’s current employees.
She holds a bachelor’s in psychology from UCF and is pursuing a master’s in human resources management from Colorado State University.
Proud OUC Moments
Leon’s proudest moments have been seeing ESP participants join the organization as employees, and partnering with several agencies to host career readiness workshops highlighting opportunities within the utility industry for foster youth.
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