Today at Berkeley Lab

Rebecca Hartman-Baker on NERSC and the Inclusion Insights Game

I was skeptical at first about the Inclusion Game, but NERSC has had some great results so far and is a strong leader in the game. I attribute this success to two things:

1. As a champion of diversity and inclusion at the Lab, our Division Director Sudip Dosanjh had announced a new expectation for all NERSC employees: to dedicate at least 40 hours of staff time toward diversity and inclusion activities as part of their performance evaluation.

2. I was able to tap into the division’s competitive streak and encourage employees to challenge rival divisions (in the most inclusive way possible, of course!).

As part of these efforts, NERSC has been holding facilitated discussions every month, which consistently exceed 15 people (the highest level on the facilitated discussion credit form).

Our discussion after watching the “Insiders vs. Outsiders” video brought to the surface the fact that some of our folks were feeling left out of the supercomputer procurement process, despite management’s best effort to make sure that everyone felt welcome to participate. We’ve taken that into consideration and are working to make it clearer.

Recently, I had someone thank me for facilitating the previous month’s discussion. He said he hadn’t expected to get as much out of it as he did.

I’ve also had people approach me with ideas about more discussions and events they’d like to have. For example, one person met some cyclist brothers (one brother is blind and has autism) who rode across the Sahara on a tandem bike to raise awareness of autism. They created a documentary about their experience, which my colleague thought would be great to screen at the Lab.

Overall, I think this has been a really positive experience for NERSC. I hope that after the competition is over, we will continue to have opportunities to foster discussion about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the division. The videos make it easy to do because they provide a set topic for us to talk about.

I highly encourage other divisions at the Lab to participate in the “Inclusion Insights” game, and if possible, facilitate a discussion to learn about the various perspectives of your colleagues. It’s been a worthwhile experience for us!