We’ve been hard at work developing our Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) movement since 2020. The racial tension in America over the course of the last several years spurred organizations everywhere to ensure their environments are diverse, and that those environments are supported with equitable and inclusive practices.
We chatted recently with Damian Dyer, PSECU Director of Internal Audit and DIB Committee Leader about his career at PSECU, his involvement with PSECU’s DIB efforts, and his experience as a multi-racial person.
Damian, you’ve been with PSECU for 23 years! That’s a long time. Can you share your career journey here?
I began my journey with PSECU as a part-time Member Service Representative in the Card Services Call Center while I was still studying for my undergraduate degree at Penn State. Since then, I have worked as a Cards Services Service Advisor, Investigator, Managing Investigator, and Manager of Internal Audit.
What's your current involvement with PSECU’s DIB efforts?
I lead the DIB Employee Resource Group (ERG) Subcommittee. ERGs have grown in popularity as diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have taken hold in the workplace. Employee-led and voluntary, ERGs represent a way to build diversity and inclusion aligned with the organizations they serve. They are typically formed by employees with similar interests or characteristics and give employees a way to cultivate relationships with others as well as develop skills, share experiences and knowledge, and create community within their workplace.
Our committee has had several accomplishments since beginning our work. We created ERG governance and socialization via the creation of an ERG toolkit, proposal template, landing page, and company-wide communications. Additionally, we secured funding from the PSECU budget for the creation and sustainment of ERGs, and our committee assisted with the launch of PSECU’s first ERG in 2022. We’re currently working with a few other employees to help them get their ERGs going.
What made you want to get involved in the DIB movement at PSECU?
My life experiences, dedication to making PSECU an even better place to work, and a passion for people.
Can you speak a little bit about what your experience as a person with a multi-racial background has been like throughout your career? What about in your personal life? How did it shape you/your life experience?
My father is African American, and my mother is Caucasian. They were married in 1975 when mixed race couples/families were not socially acceptable in many areas. For example, several of my family members elected not to attend their wedding, and this has always bothered me.
My parents did their best to find a place for me and my siblings to grow up where there wasn’t a stigma and there were as few challenges as possible for a mixed-race family. Even with the positive choices they made and a foundation they built for accepting people for who they are and not how they look, I struggled to find my identity as a young man of color. Was I black? Was I white? Was I something all-together different? And, where were others who had the same background as me?
With these identity questions, I found myself morphing into what I thought people would want me to be and not who I truly was. I often felt overlooked, outcast, and misplaced – simple things like genre of music, extracurricular activities, clothing style, etc. became big decisions for me as I was striving to fit in and find myself.
Although challenging, I think that my background, upbringing, and these struggles have taught me many valuable lessons about inclusion, belonging, and how I interact with people from all walks of life. One thing I’m incredibly happy to share is that in my 23 years at PSECU I never felt these challenges in the work environment. I think being involved in DIB can help propel our organization forward even further to make sure all employees have the same sense of belonging and inclusion that I have experienced.
What guides your dedication to DIB?
My faith. I have a strong foundation in Christ and His unconditional love. No matter what someone has been through or where they are from, I offer them understanding, acceptance, and welcome them into my community – whatever sort of group that might be.
My life experiences. As stated earlier, I think the choices my family made and the struggles that I endured have helped me understand the importance of celebrating differences, fostering inclusivity, and promoting belonging.
My personality. I am an extrovert and lover of people by nature. Relationships and working toward a common goal really energize me!
Finally, can you share any community work you do?
I am most active in my local church where I have served in several capacities – greeter, life group leader, worship leader, elder, treasurer, etc. Being a part of my church community is a way for me to practice the principles of diversity, inclusion, and belonging every single day.
Thanks Damian! To learn more about ERGs, you can check out our blog with tips on how to start your own!
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