The African-American/Black Association laboratory resource group has long been a strong advocate for the laboratory’s African-American community by encouraging and supporting the creation of an inclusive environment. The group’s efforts gained a new and powerful voice recently, as Head of the Office of Quality Assurance Jemila Adetunji has taken on the role as its executive sponsor.
Adetunji is not new to the LRG; she’s been a member since 2014 and has participated in various activities over the years. But when the chance came up in December to serve as sponsor for the organization, she didn’t hesitate for a minute. “As a member, I knew the AABA had the potential to do amazing things at the lab and with the broader community, however, it was not getting the visibility or support it deserved,” Adetunji said.
“I am privileged to sponsor this group and bring attention to how we are creating an environment where everyone at the lab—including African-Americans and their allies—can thrive as professionals. We’ve had our challenges in the past, and at times, it wasn’t clear how our efforts were moving us forward. But I’m confident that with a new perspective and a new vision we can demonstrate the progress we’re making and the value our group brings to the lab every day.”
Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Sandra Charles is excited to see all the group can accomplish under Adetunji’s leadership. “Jemila brings a strong background as a facilitator and collaborator. Her leadership will help guide AABA to the next phase of its evolution,” Charles said.
One of the key issues Adetunji hopes to focus on is retaining and recruiting a culturally diverse lab workforce. “Ensuring the lab’s workforce is representative of the community as a whole is a priority for Fermilab and an area where the AABA can make a significant contribution,” she said. “The group has dealt with this issue firsthand and has many ideas around it—we just need to find our voice and share those ideas on a broader basis.”
Another opportunity area is mentorship. “Many of our members have years of experience that those who are new to the lab could tap into and benefit from,” Adetunji said. “We need to find a way to incorporate this into existing lab mentorships or create new opportunities for sharing that make full use of this knowledge.”
Like all LRGs, the African-American/Black Association laboratory resource group is open to all employees of all backgrounds. If you are interested in learning more about the AABA LRG, click here or reach out to Sandra Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org.