Bridgestone Aims for Greater Inclusivity through BPROUD
Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas recently received a score of 90 on the HRC’s 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). While it’s not even the highest score for a major Nashville brand, it reflects one of the largest local company’s commitment to LGBTQ workplace equality, with respect to tangible policies, benefits, and practices.
In 2018, Bridgestone launched a number of achievements that helped boost its CEI 2019 score over previous years. Some of these efforts included the implementation of a Global Human Rights Policy, and a Sustainable Procurement Policy that align with the company’s overall corporate social responsibility mission, Our Way to Serve.
Additional initiatives included establishing a Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, and the approval of a new, Nashville-based employee resource group, BPROUD, which focuses on supporting LGBTQ employees and allies. The company also has a history of supporting the HRC through its presenting sponsorship of the annual Nashville HRC gala for 12 consecutive years, and Nashville Pride as presenting sponsor for the past six years.
Bridgestone at Nashville Pride
“As a company, we’re committed to making our workplaces as diverse as the customers we serve – both locally in Nashville, and across the U.S.,” said Susie Long, Vice President of Talent Management & Development for Bridgestone Americas. “We are proud of the progress we’ve made – and will continue to make – toward this commitment and I believe our 2019 CEI score reflects that.”
Long admits even a company like Bridgestone always has more work to do on these issues, but she’s proud of the hard work that has been put into it. “Honestly the hardest work is often acknowledging that as a company there’s work to do to improve our own perspectives when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. When I came to Bridgestone, we were just starting to recognize that we had a gap in our employee diversity, and while that’s not unique considering the industry we’re in, as a leadership team we had to take a hard look at ourselves and determine how to improve these gaps.”
“In 2018 we conducted an employee-wide engagement survey that more than 33,000 employees participated in. From that survey, 72 percent of employees said they believe Bridgestone values and promotes diversity” Long added. “Do I want that number to increase? Absolutely. But it’s a starting point to continue moving the needle toward a more diverse and inclusive workplace for all.”
Iris Ocasio, Senior Supply Chain Analyst, Bridgestone Retail Operations, and President of BPROUD, sees the resource group as one of the keys to continued progress for the company. “Now that we have our employee group, BPROUD, we’re able to have more representation as an LGBTQ community within company. The next step is to use BPROUD to provide opportunities to talk to coworkers who don’t identify as LGBTQ and help them learn about the community and how to be an ally. We want to educate others about viewpoints that may differ from their own; awareness and being visible is half the battle.”
Bridgestone is definitely positioning themselves as Nashville’s next 100-scoring company!