A Culture of Belonging

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A Culture of Belonging

Everyone wants to feel like they fit in at their company. Belonging makes for more satisfying days at work and encourages team members to speak up and share ideas. Ensuring all individuals feel included and welcomed is something Midco is focusing on even more through its Belonging at Midco Council.

“The Belonging at Midco Council started to take shape in 2019,” said Amber Schwiesow, Midco’s Vice President of Procurement and Supply Chain and one of the founding members of the Belonging Council. “There was a question in our team member engagement survey that asked people if they could really be their authentic selves at Midco. We had a good response to that question but still wanted to fully engage team members on this topic.”

What grew was a place for leaders and team members to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity within our organization,” continued Schwiesow. “This is about celebrating people. We want people to feel comfortable at work and that they can come to work and be their authentic selves. Not to mention what that does for an organization if you have people that can come to work, feel comfortable, collaborate and bring their best selves to work. From an organizational standpoint, that’s a win.”

Living out the mission.

Over the past few years, the Belonging at Midco Council has worked to further its mission of fostering an environment of belonging where all team members feel safe, have a voice and can be themselves.

“One of our core values is being a force for good,” said Noelle Tieszen, Senior Customer Experience Operations Manager and one of the Belonging at Midco Council officers. “We are committed to being a workplace where team members can learn and grow while feeling valued for their experience and expertise. Inclusion and diversity strengthen Midco by celebrating unique viewpoints and challenging each of us, every day, to think beyond our traditional frames of reference. To achieve that goal, we focus on three pillars: awareness, education and innovation. In that spirit, we’ve built an extensive library of relevant and meaningful resources covering a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion topics for team members to utilize.”

From inclusive language to the history of Juneteenth, the library is an easy way for team members to engage with internal and external resources covering a multitude of topics. Tieszen also encourages people to check out their communities and learn about what’s available right outside their door.

“It’s Pride Month and Juneteenth is coming up. I encourage people to explore activities and celebrations that are happening in their communities,” suggested Tieszen. “There are a number of events happening across our Midco footprint that can offer you diversity of experience and understanding and would be a great way for you to enhance your awareness and appreciation of others.”

“The Lawrence, Kansas Juneteenth Celebration event is getting bigger every year,” explained Vivian Sanders, the Retail Manager at the Customer Experience Center in Lawrence and one of the newest members of the Belonging Council. “Lawrence has a rich history in the Underground Railroad, so they are going to do tours on Saturday. There will be a Gospel concert, a parade and so many activities that it’s going to be a full weekend.”

The event is sponsored by the Lawrence, Kansas Juneteenth Organization, a recent recipient of a Midco Foundation grant.

Looking to the future.

As the Belonging at Midco Council works to continue its internal impact, its members are ready to bring more topics and conversations to the forefront.

“I am excited to get started,” said Sanders. “There is a lot of good information out there that we can bring to our team members. Plus, it speaks volumes that Midco has a team dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s good to know that Midco truly celebrates people who look like me because that’s not always the case at every company. But this really holds true to who we are as an organization.”