A local woman is teaching others how they can build a more diverse workplace.
Crystal Heard has been an electronics engineer for the department of the air force for more than 23 years. Currently, she holds the title's Cyber System Integrator and Studies and Assessment Analysis Director. But she is more than just her job title. She is also a wife, mother, and a woman of faith who says she wants to be the example she wishes she had growing up.
“One movie that I watched a couple years ago was hidden figures. And in it, I saw all of these mathematicians and engineers that looked like me and I said had I known then... I probably would have pushed myself even harder," says Heard
Heard says some practical ways you can help create a diverse workplace is by inviting someone to your dinner table that doesn’t look like you.
Sometimes we tend to meet with the same people who look like us or have similar life experiences, but Heard says it is important to branch out.
She also says to be sure to listen.
"A lot of times we bring someone here, we want to ingest or put in our opinion or what we think about how someone is feeling. But what I want people to do is listen. Listen to it, sit with it, acknowledge it, lament over it. See how you can empathize and see what that person is going through," says Heard.
She also says to try to educate yourself.
"I want people to educate themselves because we can’t move forward from an ignorant stance. We have to empathize and then move forward," says Heard.
Some ways that you can educate yourself is by watching movies, reading, and having conversations.
"Right now, my big thing is to study the bible and I know you are like 'What? How does that impact?', Well God has told us exactly what we need to do," she says.
Heard says shifting your perspective can also help you to relate and open up to others.
“There are a lot of things that we believed for so long that might be false. There might be perspectives that we have that are false and we want to change those. Because when we change those we can start growing, we can start building relationships, and being the multi-ethnic church that God wants for us." says Heard.
”Right now it means a big deal to me because I want to get in front of more people so they can say 'hey she looks like me' and 'I can do what she is doing.'”
Every month Polished, Oklahoma City hosts discussions for women in business. Their next meeting is on March 2nd. Kat Armstrong, Co-Founder of Polished Network, will talk about making peace with our past, finding peace in our present, and stepping confidently into our future.
Polished is a network that gathers working women to navigate the workplace and explore faith together in an authentic community.
Click here to learn more about Polished.