Tammie Jackson believes companies that incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into their operational strategies have the winning formula for success. She said strategically embracing perspectives of those from different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, age groups and physical capabilities is a habit of healthy and smart organizations.
Serving as both facilities operations manager and executive administrative assistant to Interim CEO and Chief Financial Officer Charles Peiffer, Jackson has broad insight into PAE's operations and said she sometimes wonders how PAE can do better.
Jackson said from her perspective as a black woman, she is proud to "speak truth to issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion and racial justice." She said the murder of George Floyd and other social movements compelled her to speak with Peiffer and PAE Chief Human Resources Office Patricia Munchel. She shared with them how events taking place across the country were affecting her and others at PAE and suggested impactful contributions the company could make to support the community, aligned with its mission and culture.
"By having these conversations, which are not always easy, it helps to have insight from all perspectives about the challenges and differences we all face in our lives," Jackson said. "I truly appreciate Charlie and Patricia for being so supportive during these challenging times and having those conversations with me."
She said she felt reaching out to employees to check on their welfare was a good first step but there was more PAE could do to help bring much-needed relief and compassion to a community of people who could really use the support.
"The executive leadership team felt the company could make an impact by addressing underserved communities where we work, specifically the youth and their education," Munchel said. "Given Tammie's drive to be a change agent and her leadership over company employee morale initiatives, the team felt she was the right person to lead our efforts."
As a result of those conversations, Jackson had an opportunity to organize a program benefiting Washington, D.C., Public Charter Schools in areas of the district that largely serve communities of people of color. Once given the green light, Jackson immediately began reaching out to D.C. Public Schools officials for a list of schools that needed support.
She created wish lists for each school, engaged PAE's buyers and secured approvals to procure the items. Six months later, during the winter holiday season, Jackson and other PAE volunteers delivered laptops, mobile hot spots and gift cards to students and families from two deserving schools, The Social Justice School and Bridges Public Charter School. The inaugural PAE Community Outreach Program effort was only the first for the long-term plan.
"It was the most exhilarating feeling to be able to give back and make a difference in the lives of the students and their families during such a challenging year," Jackson said. "It also made me feel good to be an employee at a company like PAE, that not only talked about what they wanted to do but put their money where their mouth was and made it happen."
Jackson is recognized as a PAE Values Champion for "Champion Diversity and Inclusion" for the dialogue she fostered regarding diversity and inclusion.
"Tammie saw an opportunity to make a difference in our community and made it a PAE priority to create a plan to help," Munchel said. "The success of the PAE Community Outreach Program last year, culminating with the delivery of the actual items to the schools in December, was a direct result of Tammie's great efforts."
Jackson said she enjoys interacting with employees from different levels and varying backgrounds, while also learning about their work and life experiences. Jackson has always encouraged her direct reports, and other employees to "use their voices and speak their truths" whenever they can to foster change.
"Diverse and inclusive teams are an important ingredient to making great companies even greater," Jackson said. "I've always cared about equality for all and being a champion for those who are not in a position to have their voices heard. I will continue to have those conversations, speak my truth, and do my part to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to get a seat at the table, and I encourage others to do the same."