Make A Difference: Apply for the Belonging & Excellence Committee

Published: October 1, 2021

SMART has long been committed to creating an environment of welcoming, belonging, and excellence for all of our members. However, SMART recognizes that not all individuals and groups are situated the same, with the same access to resources and opportunities.

Therefore, the BE 4 All effort is a targeted approach to ensure that all members, particularly those from historically marginalized groups, experience these universal goals.

We need a culture that enables our union to attract and retain the best, most skilled workers. And in doing so, affirms the dignity and worth of every human being who walks through our doors. We need to reinforce union solidarity so that each and every one of us has the other’s back. We need an industry that embodies professionalism – not only in our technical skills, but in the work environment we create, free from harassment, discrimination, bullying, and hazing. We need an industry where our members and contractors can do the best possible work efficiently and effectively. These are all critical ingredients to creating a thriving culture and industry. And SMART believes BE 4 ALL is the vehicle for how we make this happen.

SMACNA’s leadership shares our vision for transforming the industry. Over the last year we have engaged in numerous discussions with SMACNA’s leadership, as well as International Training Institute (ITI) representatives, to build alignment and a shared sense of purpose. To be clear, this effort is not about blaming or shaming individuals or granting special treatment to one segment of the membership over another. It is about increasing awareness about how we can create an environment for welcoming, belonging, and excellence – one that attracts and retains anyone who has the skills and desire to meet our culture of excellence.  It is about union solidarity.

To that end, we are seeking volunteers to join SMART’s Belonging and Excellence for All Committee. The Committee is a collective of 10 to 12 representatives who will help shape and guide this work over the next year. The Committee will work on SMART’s diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, as well as work collectively with SMACNA’s Committee and ITI representatives to ensure a broad and effective process.

Seven Other Things You Should Know About the Be 4 All Process:

  1. Committee members will help guide the overall direction of the diversity, equity, and inclusion work and make recommendations to leadership. The goal is a passionate and committed group with representation across regions, roles, and identities.
  2. SMART has appointed Donna Silverman, Assistant to the General President and Special Counsel, to staff the SMART Committee. From SMACNA, Joye Blanscett, Dir. Of Labor Services, will help staff the SMACNA Committee. Dushaw Hockett, our outside belonging and excellence expert, will provide facilitation and technical support. Donna, Joye, and Dushaw will coordinate our combined efforts.
  3. On the question of time commitment, it’s envisioned that Committee members will meet at least twice per month through October 2022. Total time commitment (including meetings, emails, document review, etc.) is expected to be a minimum of 6 hours per month. Most meetings will be conducted virtually, with the exception of a few in-person meetings if they can be held safely.
  4. To apply, please visit this link and provide a short (one paragraph) statement of interest. Also share your answers (encouraged but not required) to the 8 identity/demographic questions that follow, as we are seeking to build a team that reflects diversity in all areas.
  5. Staff and leadership will select Committee members based on the content of their statements of interest, and with an eye toward representation from across the organization.
  6. Because the goal is to embody diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of our work, including this process, if there is overwhelming interest in serving on the Committee, we may propose a modified structure.
  7. Applications are due by Friday, October 15, 2021.
We’re building this together. Please let us know if you have questions or feedback regarding the DEI process or application form.
Much appreciation. Forward we go.
Joseph Sellers, Jr.
SMART General President