At Apogee, we often say that higher education is our higher purpose. In our more than 20 years of business as a managed services provider, we’ve worked exclusively with higher education institutions because we’re passionate about the promise a well-educated population offers to our communities and society.
In partnering with colleges and universities across the country, we see our role as enablers of an engaging, high-quality education accessible and affordable to every person who seeks it, without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, or background. Passion and caring are fundamental to our success because we genuinely share in our partner’s vision and goals. We believe that when we invest in a meaningful shared purpose, success naturally follows.
But the past year has challenged higher education’s mission in profound ways. A rise in white nationalism and police brutality have called attention to continued systemic racism and injustice. Amid the backdrop of a debilitating global pandemic, preexisting disparities in affordability and access to education have been exposed. While we can always be proud of the inroads we make, moments like this force us to examine our failures, too.
We see there’s still much work to do.
In the summer and fall of 2020, we redoubled our commitment to a healthy culture of diversity and inclusion. Our Apogee diversity and inclusion steering committee, dedicated specifically to this cause, has developed a robust plan for helping us achieve our goals. From the launch of a new diversity and inclusion web page, to our Diversity and Racial Equity Policy published in December, to regularly published reports on our progress, we’re channeling our words into actions and moving forward with an eye toward full transparency and accountability.
Other aspects of our plan designed to channel our words into action include formalized training for Apogee leaders throughout the company to learn about and recommit to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace. Apogee Move Forward Together initiatives will engage our leaders to live up to their promise. And we’ll work hard throughout the year to actively promote actions and policy that support diversity and inclusion throughout the higher education community.
As a part of our ongoing plans, Apogee continues its partnership with Foster Angels, an organization whose mission is to support and create a sense of normalcy for children in foster care. Apogee employees donated over $10,000 in our third fundraiser just completed. Foster Angels is dear to our hearts because of the nearly 650,000 kids in foster care, half don’t earn high school diplomas. Access to technology is not pervasive. This year’s fundraising total supports three kids in their transition from high school to attending college, three kids who are beating the odds.
Apogee’s core values of equity, respect, and compassion are fundamental to our ability to create a workplace where every person feels safe, protected, and heard. To carry these values forward into concrete ways of working together, the following precepts are essential:
- Be trusted allies of those who are marginalized or underrepresented. Taking the time to read, listen, watch, and understand while also advocating for systemic improvements in workplace policies and practices that ensure an inclusive culture, are critical to our success.
- Pursue diversity and inclusion as a pathway to creativity, innovation, and performance. Showing compassion for others and respect for differing points of view lays the foundation for creating a highly successful team to which future generations will want to belong.
- Bring our full, authentic selves to work each and every day. Our work together is most impactful when we’re comfortable in our own skin. Talking out differences or having tough conversations move us all forward when we create the space for each other to engage authentically.
- Hold ourselves fully accountable for building a sustainable culture of diversity and inclusion. The journey to the workplace we imagine isn’t linear. Part of our commitment is to understand there will be bumps in the road yet be persistent in our efforts to move past them.
We’re counting on you, our customers and partners, to help keep us accountable. Be sure to check these pages monthly as we publish additional blogs on topics important to diversity and inclusion at Apogee and in higher education. Next week, we’ll post another blog in our continuing series on the topic of hungry college students, its pervasiveness, and what college campuses across the country are doing to combat it. In February, we’ll look forward to celebrating MLK Day and Black History Month with you. We hope you’ll subscribe and check back often.