Inclusion Council

At U.S. Borax, we value diversity—of gender, of sexual orientation, of cultural heritage, of age, of opinion, and of backgroundand experience. Our diversity is our strength, and inclusion is our goal. We invite you to meet our employee Inclusion Team located at our operations in California.

The Team:
Nevena Bogdanovic | MB Garrison | Olatunde Mamukuyomi | Victoria Rodriguez | Sarah Suek | Mayank Verma | Drew Yazzie
Thinking back to my earliest age when I started to understand what different meant, what it looked like, and how it felt, one person comes to my mind: My mother.

She is not your usual mother, everything my father can do, she can do better. That encouraged me to act in the same manner. She never told me what to do—she showed me by leading the way. I will forever be grateful for my upbringing because it led me to where I am now, and to where I’m going.

My mother encouraged me to go work in Iran, when everyone said it's not good for a female to go there. I went and had the time of my life. She encouraged me to pursue a career in the mining industry even though everyone said it's not wise. Her life was never easy in a man’s world and a patriarchical country like Serbia (my home county). I want to make sure the coming generations can have equal opportunities and the same respect regardless of their differences.

Inclusion is not about avoiding diversity, difference, or being agreeable. It’s about creating a space of safety for you and others to be seen, heard, and accepted. Inclusion creates a space for differences to be heard in our relationships, family, community, at work, and in the world. That is what it means to me to be part of this amazing team. Imagine a world where we are all the same. No fun, right?!
Process Engineer

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” —Confucius

I quietly repeat the words of Confucius on days when my legs are weak and the going gets slow—to remind me that regardless of my speed, it’s just important that I get there. I want to bring light to those of us with life challenges. Some may have lost their sight, others may be unable to speak or are wheelchair bound. But many are capable and enriching communities and businesses throughout the world.

Having any sort of disability doesn’t mean you can’t contribute, it just means there’s an extra ‘rock’ in your backpack. Having successfully come through not one, but two back surgeries, has added walking difficulties to my life (my rocks). However, my Rio Tinto team values my contributions. I am accepted, heard, and appreciated. They do not see my disability. They see only my ability.

Manager, External Relations and Community Engagement

Having been labelled a rolling stone quite a few times in my past, I am compelled to recall that I have had the opportunity to live, study, and work across three continents. In that span of time, I have carried, in some of my experiences, the unspoken default tag—“colored minority/black/African.” I have found that there is a real distinction out there, between black and African. And, these classifications are many times accompanied with the burden of stereotype reckoning, about one’s work or non-work aptitude and/or proclivities.

I once read a comment about being unable to “be one’s true self in the workplace” and this phrase and the message it carries, continuously resonates with me powerfully—particularly on the mental wellness aspect that accompanies this sad, but real situation.

For me, there are no tangible limits to the dimensions around being oneself in a healthy and inclusive workplace. I am passionately driven to always be my best self in my workplace, and I will apply myself towards the materialization of the goal of achieving that inclusive workplace environment where all persons can be themselves without inhibitions. Let me add that my passion is vividly reflected in this flipped quote from George Orwell’s satirical allegory Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, BUT none, may be more equal than others, in that inclusive work environment.”

Technical Guardian, Operational Excellence

Growing up, I often felt like an outsider in my small town. My beliefs were very different from those around me, and because of that I found it easier to listen rather than to speak. I opted to observe from the sidelines and learn from the people around me. I saw family members struggle because the world was built in a way that did not consider their physical limitations. I saw classmates treated like outcasts because they did not fit in to the socially accepted norms of the larger group. I realized that many people felt excluded, and although that always bothered me, I didn’t think that I could make a difference.

In 2005, my daughter was born premature. She struggled for many years with respiratory and immunity issues, which dictated much of what she could and could not do. While most kids were playing outside, swimming, and riding their bikes, my daughter was inside reading, writing, and painting. Seeing the impact my daughter’s physical condition had on the direction of her life was a constant reminder that the little I know of others is just the surface of a whole life of experiences that make them who they are. Every time I get to know someone, I gain knowledge and perspective that I would not have acquired on my own.

For me, inclusion means appreciating and respecting what makes each of us different, and to being empathetic to the struggles that we cannot understand through our own personal experiences. We all have very different backgrounds that make us unique. I believe that we all benefit when we understand that those things that make us different are what make us collectively stronger.

Quality Supervisor, Quality Assurance Lab
Across my career there have been many times that I have had to ‘make do’ because the facilities or schedules were not made to support me. Or I have been told to behave or speak a certain way so that I will be seen as the same. 

My passion for inclusion stems from the desire to build a culture and a workplace where no one has to change who they are or ‘make do.’ We achieve inclusion by having facilities, resources, tools, and conversations which are considerate of the spectrum of the human experience.

Inclusion to me means, that everyone can be their true, authentic selves. Only then can we all contribute with our own unique talents and skills. All of our experiences, all of our backgrounds, all of our knowledge, all of our differences, add up to a massive amount of knowledge and skill. 
Manager, Operational Excellence

Inclusion to me is to embrace all people irrespective of their place of birth, culture, gender, disability, or religion. And, to give everyone the same opportunities that Rio Tinto has to offer.

It is not just walking through the front gate to work every morning, but to also have a sense of belonging—where my colleagues and friends genuinely care for me, my ideas, and my wellbeing, just like I care for them.

As a council member, I want to be an advocate for change and inspire people around me by sharing my experiences. I don’t want anyone to be afraid to share their ideas or to speak up and work towards making Rio Tinto a more inclusive place for everyone.

Project Engineer, Carbon and Climate

Inclusion means being accepted no matter the differences in race, gender, disability, and the color of our skin. We all deserve to be heard and respected for our opinions. We should be respected for our ideas that we bring to the table. We should all feel welcome and valued for our involvement.

As a Native American (Navajo), I grew up on the reservation in Tuba City. Located in northern Arizona, it is also known as the Painted Desert. Living on the reservation came with its challenges, which included a general lack of resources and low rates of economic development. We had to learn quickly to adapt, overcome, and to rely on each other. We’re also rich in cultural and traditional beliefs. There are still many people that occupy hogan (traditional, one room, dome-shaped Navajo homes). And, currently there are nearly 410,000 registered Navajos.

I’ve been with U.S. Borax for a little more than 13 years now. I am also a retired Navy veteran and disabled. While in the military, I worked with all types of diverse cultures. I’m part of the Inclusion Council to help by sharing my past experiences and knowledge as an indigenous person.

Supervisor, Fixed Plant

Diveristy and inclusion in action

MB Garrison, manager of external affairs, communities, and communications

 

MB Garrison, our manager of external affairs, communities, and communications, discusses what the International Day of Disabled Persons means to her.

Read more
ADA accessible ramp at the Borax Visitor Center

 

We are happy to do our part in removing obstacles at the U.S. Borax Visitor Center with a newly completed ADA-accessible lookout, making the entire Boron operations viewable to all.

Learn more about our visitor center
Wilmington signage

 

We're constantly working to make our workplaces more inclusive.

Read more

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

Copyright © 2023 Rio Tinto. All Rights Reserved.