LaNita Whittle, PPG IT planning project manager from our Pittsburgh headquarters in the US, is passionate about diversity. She tells us first-hand about the challenges she has faced, how she overcame them, and what she is doing now to help build a stronger culture of equality and inclusion at PPG.
‘I Strive to Be a Living Example for My Kids’
LaNita attributes her strong work ethic to her parents.
I was taught from an early age that I would always need to work twice as hard to be successful.
She has been with us for 14 years, having joined PPG after she graduated from university, and is now a project manager within the IT Planning organization based in Pittsburgh, USA.
I strive to be a living example for my kids and extended family members. They are my motivation to excel in every aspect of my career.
’Inclusion Is Everyone’s Responsibility’
Whether due to her gender or the color of her skin, LaNita recalls instances of subtle discrimination throughout her career – both those she perceived to be intentional and those that could be attributed to unconscious bias. Her advice is to openly and honestly confront the situation so that the instigator can better understand how their actions are being perceived.
Studies across sectors in the United States suggest a significant wage gap between Black women and both white men and white women.
Those gaps are discouraging and speak to me directly. Personally, I want to see more Black women in senior leadership roles and being promoted within the organization.
LaNita highlights the difference between diversity and the act of inclusion. To LaNita, diversity is the “what”, it is having an environment that is fairly represented in numbers with people of different races, backgrounds, gender, beliefs, orientation or status. While inclusion is the act of embracing diversity on a day-to-day basis with those who may not share the same demographics.
Inclusion should be the responsibility of everyone in our society to participate by recognizing and celebrating differences in order to build a culture of equality.
LaNita during 'Kids In Need' school drive event in 2019
Equality At PPG: Growing and Harvesting a Better Tomorrow
LaNita recognizes that no company is perfect, but feels #PPGProud in the belief that “We do better today than yesterday” in tackling diversity and inclusion issues, with leadership making it clear that racism and any form of discrimination have no place at PPG.
We acknowledge that we may not be doing everything perfectly today. But we continue to learn and do our best so we might grow and harvest a better tomorrow.
However, we should not stop there, she says, but continuously strive for inclusion and equality for under-represented groups.
It is about bringing awareness to shortcomings and working to make a change. Doing better today than we did yesterday!
Positive Changes for a More Diverse Future
LaNita has led PPG’s Minority Leadership Council (MLC), a network comprised of experienced, successful minority employees who work in various PPG businesses and corporate groups and functions.
It has enriched my professional network by putting me in touch with so many of our wonderful and talented employees at PPG.
Recently, the MLC celebrated the end of its 15 year run with a virtual panel discussion. The event, moderated by LaNita, focused on what is planned ahead, with tributes paid to the successes that MLC has paved for the road ahead. At the end of 2020, the MLC evolved into three distinct employee resource networks: Black Employee Network, Asian Employee Network and Latinx Employee Network.
She values being able to give back to those in need within the community through various outreach events. LaNita has accepted a role within the newly formed Black Employee Network as the North East Chapter Chair to continue to support a platform where members’ voices can be heard.
This is paramount, now more than ever, as we transform and reshape our future; that our voices are heard and we are supported by the actions of senior leadership.
MLC panel discussion in late 2020
The Black Employee Network is currently working closely with human resources to address diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at PPG and to build an aligned and structured strategy for a better tomorrow.
Evolving a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace takes effort and dedication. We are working on significant changes for the future.