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Engineer Inclusion

What is workplace bullying? (And how does it relate to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging?)

"What is...?" Talk Series

The purpose of the live “what is…?” talk series is to bring clarity, humanity, and strategies to a particular topic. Learn more and explore other recordings and upcoming events.

Have you ever experienced or witnessed bullying in the workplace? What about when bullying is rooted in bias or anchored to the status quo? I have, and I bet you have, too. So, let’s talk about it.

During this live interactive panel recorded on Friday, September 23, from 12 – 1 CDT, our panel of professionals (bios below) discussed workplace bullying, its intersection with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and what to do about it. You’ll find panelist bios, a recording, resources, and strategies on this page.

Facilitator:

Dr. Meagan Pollock, Engineer Inclusion founder

Panelists:

Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, Lise Tremblay, Retired Captain Shelly Carter

Workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment by one or more employees of an employee: abusive conduct that takes the form of verbal abuse; or behaviors perceived as threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; work sabotage; or in some combination of the above.

Workplace Bullying Institute @workplacebullying.org

Recording

Play Video

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE LIVE PANEL:

What to do if...

what to do if you are being bullied at work BE SAFE

What to do if you are being bullied at work:

Be Safe

BELIEVE YOURSELF

Trust your truth. If you are experiencing something that is causing your hurt or harm, try not to dismiss it.

ELIMINATE PERSONAL BLAME

You are worthy of respect. Remind yourself bullying is rarely about you, and you don’t deserve it.

SEEK SUPPORT

You are not alone. Find allies, advocates, and stewards who can help you navigate the situation.

ASSEMBLE EVIDENCE

Get organized and document what you are experiencing, witnesses, who you tell, and how it is handled.

FOCUS ON YOUR WELLBEING

The stress from bullying takes its toll on your body and mind. Practice healthy boundaries and do what’s best for you.

EXPLORE OPTIONS

Bullying can rise to the level of harassment and discrimination with legal implications. Find a safe place to work.

What to do if an employee or colleague is being bullied at work:

HELP

Heed the cues

A bully will corrode and corrupt team culture, affecting more than just the target’s well-being and performance. Ignoring the signs won’t make it go away.

Engage with empathy

Privately speak with the person targeted by a bully. Let them know you notice what’s happening and will listen to them and take action.

Listen to learn

Invite the target to share their experience, and believe them. Your biases can alter your perceptions, so be careful to listen with an open mind.

Protect your team

Take action to halt bullying behaviors, hold bullies accountable, curate a culture of respect, and allow latitude for targets to heal.

Panelists

Dr. Meagan Pollock

Dr. Meagan Pollock began her career playing with light projection on tiny microscopic mirrors as an engineer for Texas Instruments. Through her company, Engineer Inclusion, she now utilizes metaphorical projectors and mirrors to shine a light on micro and macro social systems that, when adjusted, improve student and employee success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

A TEDx speaker, author, and a past recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Meagan holds a PhD in engineering education from Purdue University, an MS in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University, and a BS in computer science from Texas Woman’s University. As an engineer turned educator, Meagan focuses on helping others intentionally engineer inclusion™ in education and the workforce.

Dr. Sabrina Ricks

Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks is the president of SBR Workplace Leadership Services, which specializes in developing healthy organizational cultures by providing training and workshops and designing curriculums regarding various management and leadership topics, emphasizing workplace bullying prevention. She received her Ph.D. in 2015 from Capella University in organization and management with a specialization in leadership. She customizes sessions, workshops, classes, curriculum, and support groups on the clients’ needs with great flexibility and attention to detail. She also serves as a keynote speaker for conferences in business and empowerment in your personal life. Dr. Ricks has been working in education for almost ten years, serving as an instructor for the fire and rescue service and an adjunct professor for a college and university in Northern Virginia and Washington DC.

Lise Tremblay

Lise Tremblay is an undercover geographer, passing as an IT Business Systems Supervisor for the City of Charlotte’s Public Safety IT. She helps technical and non technical people come together to solve problems, create solutions and implement changes to how they do things to improve people’s lives and jobs…. One small step at a time. An army brat born overseas, she moved to the US permanently when she was just shy of 13, and spent over 25 years in Washington State. Lise has a BA in Geography with a minor in Biology from Central Washington University and a Masters in Homeland Security with a specialty in Geospatial Intelligence from Penn State. She moved to North Carolina in 2015 and recently purchased a home with her veteran husband and stepson. She is the proud mother of a driven Gen Z daughter who lives in Portland and is working as a Med Tech at an ER and Pediatric Clinic, respectively, and enrolled and working towards a Nursing degree. Lise spends entirely too much time on YouTube learning how to do things and trying them out, especially homesteading and home improvement projects. She also wears her Pinky and the Brain shirt on Fridays and her colleagues love it. 

shelly carter

Shelly Carter

Shelly L. Carter served for 21+ years in the City of Hartford Fire Department. Captain Carter began her career with the department in July of 1999 and promoted to Driver/ Engineer, Lieutenant/Fire Marshals Office, Executive Officer, House Captain Engine Company 5, and Engine Company 10. Captain Carter retired from Hartford Fire in May of 2021. Since Captain Carters retirement, she was named the Operations and Training Manager/PIO for the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection within the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. 

Shelly is responsible for the state emergency management and homeland security training and exercise programs. She communicates and collaborates with local, state, federal, and private sector partners. Shelly is the Founder and CEO of Girls Future Firefighter Camp. “GFFC” is an interactive camp for girls ages 13-18 that teaches young ladies about careers in public safety. The camp has been in operation for seven years and is the first of its kind in the state. www.girlsfuturefirefightercamp.com Shelly is the Connecticut State Representative for the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services. She currently sits on the board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Safety and Survival Team as a trainer for bullying and harassment in the fire and emergency services. She is a member of the Capital Region Fire Marshals Association, International Association of Arson Investigators, International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, Connecticut Instructors Association, and International Association of Fire Chiefs. She is also a certified trainer for Cultural Bridges to Justice in conjunction with Center for Fire, Rescue &EMS Health Research, and “United in Service” Shelly has an Associate degree from Middlesex Community College, a Bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak State College, and a Master’s degree from Anna Maria College. She is a graduate of the Dr. Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute, Dillard University and is currently studying at Liberty University to obtain a Doctorates degree in Public Administration. Shelly is married to her Favorite retired firefighter Brainard “B.C” Carter. Together they have five amazing sons. Robert is in the United States Airforce, Miles is an Opera singer, Malcolm is a college student studying communication, and the twins, Brandon and Brendon are growing, rambunctious early teenagers

In response to feedback

The idea for this event arose from a series of conversations between Dr. Ricks and myself. She and I put out a call to our networks on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, recruiting volunteer panelists and soliciting questions and stories. We advertised for about 1 to 2 months in the early fall of 2021.

No men volunteered. 

In September 2022, I reached out to people who volunteered* to coordinate a time for us all to host a panel. Those for whom we could find a shared time ended up as panelists.

Our final panel included two white women and two black women. At least one person identifies as queer. Three of the women are in fields nontraditional for their gender.

We received honest critiques about the “lack of diversity,” specifically addressing the fact that no men were on the panel. First of all, I want to acknowledge how grateful I am for the feedback. This helps me improve my services!

To be completely honest and transparent, while I was very thoughtful about the racial demographics of the panel, it never occurred to me to find a man to contribute to the conversation. I need to reflect on why this happened, and in hindsight, I think it would have added great value to the conversation.

I will seek a male panelist if we do part 2 of the series. 

* One person volunteered but was not invited to this panel because of another potential collaboration with that professional.

Meagan Pollock, PhD

Dr. Meagan Pollock envisions a world where personal and social circumstances are not obstacles to achieving potential, and where kindness, inclusivity, and conservation prevail.

An international speaker, teacher, engineer, and equity leader, her mission is to provide services, tools, and resources that inspire awareness and initiate action.

As an engineer turned educator, Meagan Pollock is focused on engineering equity into education and the workforce.

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