The Sky’s the Limit: Aerospace Cultural Alliance builds understanding in Bay Point

“Unity through diversity.”

DEI Oct 6, 2020

Members of the Aerospace Cultural Alliance, including Executive Sponsor Alan Kandel, savor a successful “walkabout” in 2019 which fostered cross-functional understanding at Bay Point, CA.

Henkel is committed to making the world a better place, globally and locally. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are one way we connect with each other and the communities we call home.

Building community — inside and outside the company — is at the heart of ERG activities in Bay Point, California, where high-performance adhesives are made for the aerospace industry.
With a multicultural focus, the sky’s the limit for the Aerospace Cultural Alliance to achieve its mission of Unity through diversity.

On the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Alliance will host a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)-inspired virtual Zumba class. Roberto Gallardo, a certified Zumba instructor and CCMS Coordinator at Bay Point, will kick off the online class with a discussion of the history and cultural significance of Día de Los Muertos and Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels).  

From Latin American celebrations to the Dragon Boat Race, the activities sponsored by the Aerospace Cultural Alliance highlight universal principles. Key activities in 2019 included a “walkabout” inspired by an Aboriginal custom, which led employees on a cross-functional tour that strengthened relationships across departments.

“We also had a wonderful Kwanzaa celebration,” recalls Rochelle Miller, Co-President of the Aerospace Cultural Alliance since 2012. “The principles of Kwanzaa, such as self-determination and communal effort, apply to us as a work team, not just to the African-American community. The more we learn about others, the more we learn that we’re the same.”

One of the Alliance’s signature events — and a passion project for Miller, a Senior Chemist in Bay Point’s Analytical Lab — is Contra Costa County Science & Engineering Fair, which offers a platform for tomorrow’s scientists. With the help of local leadership and Henkel grants, the Alliance provides funding for the event, mentors a local team, and helps judge the competition.

Rochelle Miller, Co-President of the Aerospace Cultural Alliance, leads a tour of the lab during a cross-functional “walkabout” held at Bay Point, CA in 2019.

Rochelle Miller, Co-President of the Aerospace Cultural Alliance, leads a tour of the lab during a cross-functional “walkabout” held at Bay Point, CA in 2019.

“There is a gap with African-American and LatinX women in science. I want young people to know that they can be successful in science no matter what their background,” says Miller, who praises the leadership and mentorship she found at Henkel. “I am lucky to have found a role that fits me perfectly. Henkel does a great job of investing in people.”

“When you are given an opportunity, you have to continue to blaze the way for others. It’s my responsibility, not just as an African-American woman, but as a human being — to create opportunities.”  

Henkel shares that commitment to creating equal opportunities for all.

“A lot of companies have scaled back on diversity activities during the COVID crisis, but not Henkel,” notes Miller. “Henkel has come out with some strong statements in support of the Black community and around other culturally sensitive topics — and invested even more.”