NEWS + ADVICE
Find Cleared Opportunities and Your Community at Battelle
Storm Woods serves as the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Battelle Memorial Institute. Hear why Battelle was the right career move for Storm, and possibly for you too.
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, really focusing on DEI and how those things drive business and a business’s 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 want to believe people 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 able 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.
So Battelle is a great place to work for folks who are really 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 be able to do it with other folks who are also passionate and purpose-driven.
Opportunities at Battelle
We’re always hiring in corporate support spaces. And then you’ve got the folks who are really doing that applied science and technological work, in the spaces of national security, health, environment, and infrastructure.
The big thing that we’re looking for at Battelle are folks who are excited about continuous learning opportunities. There’s always going to be something to learn. We really seek out those people who are excited about continuous improvement and learning something different. In fact, we nurture that through different programs like Cyber Academy. It’s a great internal learning opportunity.
Six Employee Resource Groups
The employee resource groups (ERGs) are a passion of mine. I’m excited about the work that they do, the value they add to the organization, and the communities that 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. We have the African American and Black Leadership Excellence (AABLE) ERG which focuses on making Battelle an employer of choice for Black and African American employees. We’ve got 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.
We also have 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. Then Prism is our ERG that supports the LGBTQIA+ community. They are super passionate, deeply engaged, and they partner across a lot of our other ERGs.
We also have the Women’s Network. And the Women’s Network 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 and 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 really 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 so 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.
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. 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 representative, most talented, 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 be able 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.”
Profit for a Purpose at Battelle
John McCracken, Director of Talent Acquisition at Battelle, discussed the idea of profit for a purpose on a podcast episode of Security Cleared Jobs: Who’s Hiring and How. John was spot on. I think this idea of profit for a purpose is one of those things that helps to unify folks across Battelle.
Our goal is to make the world a better place, and that carries through everything that we do. When you work at Battelle, you’re not working to increase profits for shareholders. That’s not our focus. Battelle was founded through a nonprofit philanthropic trust. It is our responsibility to generate funds as an organization and to be fiscally successful and responsible, so that we are then able to contribute to making the world a better place.
Most of that goes into things like STEM education. We’re super passionate around STEM education in the K-12 space, and helping folks not only get educated in STEM, but then working in STEM.
Over $27 million was given in philanthropic gifts by Battelle in 2022. More than $17 million of that supported education, and just over a half a million dollars went toward organizations that were directly supporting military and veteran communities.
When I got the opportunity to work at Battelle, I could not say no. I knew that I could leverage my skills to generate profits for shareholders, because I’ve done it before. This was an opportunity to do this work in a way that was going to make the workplace better for everyone who was there, so that those folks could make the world a better place. And that was an easy choice for me.
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.
For transitioning military job seekers, dig deep during the hiring process. Ask about what resources might be available, and whether or not they can connect you with anyone. 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 that kind of similar shared experience. Being able to look up and see yourself in someone else, or to find someone who might be able to provide mentorship or sponsorship is also incredibly important.
If you have questions, we encourage you to reach out using our careers page.This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 11:40 am