Pensacola, Fla. (May 11, 2022) – Pen Air Federal Credit Union (Pen Air) promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion by celebrating heritage awareness months. The recently formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee purpose is to provide visibility, awareness, representation, pride, support, and education for all members of the Pen Air staff, every month of the year.
“Diversity encompasses all human differences and excludes no one.” says Dana Mullins, Chief People Officer and sponsor of the DEI Committee at Pen Air. “When we not only listen, but celebrate what is common and different, we become a better, more inclusive and all-around stronger credit union.”
First quarter efforts included a variety of initiatives aimed at celebrating Black History and Women’s History months.
- February kicked off the Black History month by recognizing compelling voices, communities, contributions and achievements of Black Americans from the Pensacola area. Highlights included: 1. General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., born in Pensacola, FL in 1920, was a war hero and the first African American four-star general in the Air Force; 2. Abe’s 506 Club was a center of entertainment for African Americans in segregated Pensacola. Located in the historically black Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood, performers like Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Ike and Tina Turner, Fats Domino and B.B. King performed at Abe’s as part of the “Chitlin’ Circuit.”; and 3. Julee Panton’s Cottage stands as an early example of platform frame construction, reminiscent of the Creole cottages of the New Orleans French Quarter. Built around 1805, the Julee Cottage was named for one of its earliest owners, Julee Panton, a free woman of color, and is located in downtown Pensacola.
- March saw a focus on Women’s History. Employees nominated fellow Pen Air team members who inspire them. A total of 19 women were highlighted spanning all sectors of the credit union, from Administration, Member Service Representatives, Member Advisors, Managers, CFO, Learning and Development, Litigation Specialist, Consumer Credit Analyst and Mortgage Originator. While they represent a fraction of Pen Air’s female workforce, the impact they provide is significant.
Additionally, the committee has produced a reading list dedicated to each heritage month, complete with titles that were read and recommended by committee members. February offered a collection of Black authors featuring Tarana Burke, Malcom Gladwell, and Yaa Gyasi. March focused on inspiring female authors such as Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, Shonda Rhimes and Malala Yousafzai. The committee plans to expand the reading list this summer into an all-encompassing recommendation list that includes podcasts and documentaries that will encourage employees to explore various cultures even further.