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NEWS | June 3, 2021

Pearl Pride

By Natasha Ouellette, Assistant Shift Test Engineer and Employee Resource Group President

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii  – On October 27, 2020, the first informational meeting of Pearl Pride took place at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF). At that time, the group had no name with only a simple logo drawn in Microsoft Paint. More than anything else, we were an idea. However, what mattered most wasn’t the room reserved, the snacks provided, or the PowerPoint slides presented. The greatest strength of Pearl Pride has been our members.  

Pearl Pride is a community that provides social support and resources about lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, asexual and other queer-identifying community (LGBT+) topics to all interested personnel at PHNSY & IMF. It is an advocacy group working with command leadership to ensure and expand the rights and protections of LGBT+ workers and an Employee Resource Group that helps the command fully utilize all of the amazing employees by moving toward a barrier-free workplace.  

At a recent meeting we asked our members what Pearl Pride accomplishment they valued most and what they hope it can become in the future. Several members wrote about a sense of safety and belonging:

  • “[Pearl Pride is] a place where people can feel safe & grow.”
  • “[We] show people it is safe to exist here.”
  • “What it means currently is feeling less alone. I know there are others here who understand my experiences as a queer person in the workplace.”
  • “This group shows me that I am not alone.”
  • “[Pearl Pride is] a resource for community and togetherness.”

Dr. Amy Edmondson, professor of leadership and management at the Harvard Business School, describes the importance of these feelings in her psychological safety model featured in the research study “Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration: Psychological Safety and Learning in Diverse Teams.” In the model, Dr. Edmondson explains that people who feel safe and included at work are more likely to speak up with ideas that can save time, money and even lives. She argues that when team members with diverse backgrounds work together accomplish challenging goals, psychological safety will facilitate their ability to overcome barriers to communication that may have been created by their differences.

Informed managers and leadership who better understand their employees’ needs allow for workers to become mission-ready faster. With available resources, employees can spend less time working around obstacles and more time focusing on their jobs. Additionally, workers who feel a sense of belonging not only perform better, but will be more likely to make a career at PHNSY & IMF. Overall, everything we do works toward our goal as a shipyard - keeping the fleet fit to fight.

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