Published: March 02, 2022
Published: March 02, 2022

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Marvin: “Stand Up for Those Who Are Different Than You”

Our very first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) report, celebrating PPG's long-term commitment over the years, was published on March 1, sharing our successes and challenges with the world. Marvin Mendoza, global head of DE&I, is proud of the report’s findings and talks to us about what DE&I means at PPG. He also discusses what opportunities are open to us, and how we can all do our part to help build a “sense of belonging” for everyone.

What Does DE&I Really Stand for At PPG?

Having joined us just 15 months ago, Marvin Mendoza has seen a lot to be hopeful about in his role. The very first (and extremely positive) impression Marvin got when interviewed for his role was how inclusion was already embedded in the fabric of our culture, which he says for a company of over 50,000 people is “intriguing”.

I notice when I travel to manufacturing sites, corporate offices, even virtually, a sense of natural inclusion – it really does feel like you are working with extended family members.

PPG's current diversity focus is on increasing female representation globally, working to improve Black, Latinx and Asian representation in the United States, and building a culture of inclusion for all employees globally.

Our inclusion goal is to help all 50,000+ of our colleagues have a sense of belonging every single day.

Helping Us Walk in Another’s Shoes

The priority area for improvement, Marvin says, is with allyship – standing up for those who are different than you.

Allyship opens up our hearts and minds to the experiences of others who aren't like us, and it allows us to connect in ways that we haven't connected before.

Our eight Employee Resource Networks (ERNs), which focus on the LGBTQ+, veteran, differently abled, multiple generation and ethnicity groups, offer the perfect opportunity to walk in the shoes of somebody else. Marvin’s personal goal is that each employee will have joined an ERN by 2025.

It builds empathy, which will bring us closer together, make stronger teams and drive better business performance. Once we all feel we belong, we're going to hear ideas from everyone.

Marvin says that during these past couple of years, ERNs have offered a virtual safe space for people to come together and connect on topics that sometimes aren't discussed in the workplace. These include mental health, dealing with maternity + career, or coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer in the workplace.

Inspiring Others to Take Action

On March 1, the DE&I team launched PPG's inaugural DE&I report, sharing openly and transparently what our diversity story is and what our data looks like. According to the report, we managed to increase representation in all four of our key demographic focus areas in 2021.

What makes me really #PPGProud is that we benchmark ourselves against companies in and outside our industry to ensure we’re being as transparent as we can be, while also being authentic to ourselves.

Marvin says the report tells PPG's DE&I story through the lens of our employees “because our people come first”. While we humbly acknowledge the great strides we have made in our journey, we still have a lot of progress to make.

I really hope that balance comes through and that people feel not just excited about the work we're currently doing, but also inspired to take action themselves.

Marvin’s Journey with Being “Different”

Marvin’s personal DE&I journey started at a very young age when comments at school made him realize his parents (immigrants to the US from South America) looked and spoke differently to others. It was his first exposure to the concept of being considered “different”.

Then, at the age of 21, Marvin came out as gay and noticed a change in a number of people in his life. Some came closer, others stepped away.

I thought it was very interesting that sharing something about myself – though it didn't change who I was – changed people's reactions around me. It got me interested in helping others with similar experiences to feel a sense of belonging every single day.

Marvin has spent the past 15 years focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and says it’s important to keep an open mind because we all have blind spots.

Having an open mind to learning about DE&I topics allows you to propel your learning to another level.

Starting with Ourselves to Create a Ripple Effect

Marvin confesses that he thrives on consistency. His weekdays are very structured: early to rise, meditation, coffee, workout, chat with friends, breakfast, work… While his weekends are “fluid”: spending time with friends, playing board games, watching movies and documentaries, listening to his extensive music collection (from his DJing days), driving and playing with his two dogs.

He reminds us that it can be overwhelming to think about world issues in their broad sense. That we should simply remember that it all “starts with me”, in our day-to-day interactions with friends and strangers.

I think that message is so powerful. When we think about how we can be the most inclusive person possible with every interaction, we create a ripple effect. And that's what I hope people take away from our DE&I efforts.

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