You can derive some basic characteristics of a person just by looking at them. But what’s more powerful is a glimpse beneath the surface to learn what appearances won’t tell you. This perspective is one of the simplest and most effective ways Jamilya Rogers builds relationships with her team at Worthington’s Cleveland Steel facility. It has even been the basis of one of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices she leads with her peers.
Early on in her career at Worthington, Jamilya discovered her own passion: making people happy. As a Human Resources Business Partner, Jamilya strongly believes in supporting and encouraging others to thrive together. She loves that her job allows her to build relationships and really get to know other employees so she can help them grow both professionally and personally.
Jamilya clearly remembers the moment her calling became clear. Not long after starting as a part-time HR coordinator in 2019, she attended a Dream Manager workshop at Worthington. She became infatuated with not only the concept and takeaways of Matthew Kelley’s book, but with Learning and Development (L&D). “The L&D team—they were like superheroes to me. I wanted to do what they were doing,” she recalled.
Jamilya immediately began mapping ways to incorporate L&D into her own role, starting with a stretch assignment with the L&D department. Her first project involved putting together some thoughts on awareness around inclusive language. The outcome was so well received, she was encouraged to turn it into a presentation for employees. One of her mentors from L&D also introduced her to Adrian Sullivan, director of DEI at Worthington.
Honestly, I’d never thought about language as DEI. I just thought about it as being nice! And it actually aligns so well with Our Philosophy and the Golden Rule.
Through conversations with Adrian, Jamilya began to understand how her ideas were very much rooted in DEI. “Gender, race, culture… those are all a big part of DEI, but it’s even more than that. It’s being mindful of what you’re saying and how your actions are perceived.”
As DEI Champion for the Cleveland Strip facility, Jamilya has started facilitating sessions to raise awareness and practice inclusivity. One favorite is Ladies at Lunch, where, once a month, the female employees get lunch together. It’s been a great way for women to connect, converse and support one another in an industry that tends to be male-dominant.
“I want to help people understand how crucial diversity is. And representation—it’s so important at all levels,” Jamilya said. “When you see people like you, you feel encouraged and enabled.” She recalls that the first time she met an HR person of color was at Worthington. She’s constantly uplifted by seeing women succeeding and supporting one another. She’s been shown respect and camaraderie by her own peers. And it’s driven her to help others flourish.
This past year, Jamilya has begun school to pursue a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, or I/O Psychology—the scientific study of human behavior in the workplace—to further equip her with the knowledge and skills to continue empowering those around her. Through awareness, inclusivity and the celebration of our differences, Jamilya is determined to demonstrate how diversity is such a powerful component to success.