The Importance of Intersectional Diversity: One Engineer’s Story

Sponsored by Cummins

Jennifer Rafiner-Jarboe

Photo courtesy of Cummins.

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July 19, 2024 at 1:18PM UTC

“Intersectional diversity is where all the different aspects of our being come together to make each of our individual selves,” says Jennifer Rafiner-Jarboe, an electrical engineer of Hardware at Cummins. “All people have things that make them unique individuals, and those things should be celebrated.”

And, at Cummins, a company that Rafiner-Jarboe says develops solutions to “power customers forward,” they certainly follow this view of intersectional diversity. Cummins celebrates their people and is committed to powering the potential of their more than 60,000 employees across the globe. One element of this dedication is supporting a variety of employee resources groups (ERGs) at the company, one of which Rafiner-Jarboe started herself.

“The past few years felt very isolating during COVID-19, so when I heard about the Cummins ERGs, I jumped in with both feet,” Rafiner-Jarboe recalls. “I reached out to others within the Pride ERG and asked how I could get involved.”

While she wasn’t near a Sales and Service site like Columbus or Nashville, Rafiner-Jarboe still wanted to be part of the ERG community. And her catalyst for action arose when a coworker came to her and shared their story of needing to come out as trans. Rafiner-Jarboe and her coworker knew that Cummins would be there to support this — and that there would be others who would need that support, too. 

As a result, they started the Pride ERG for LGBTQ+ employees in Cummins’ New Power Business Segment.

Thinking back on this success, Rafiner-Jarboe notes that “Cummins is 100 years old, and leadership has always strived to be on the right side of history. I think a company based in Indiana that is known for diesel engines might not be thought of as a supportive and diverse working environment. I had similar feelings when my former company was acquired, but I soon found out that my ideas were mistaken. Cummins went above and beyond to make everyone welcome.”

Rafiner-Jarboe and family. Photo courtesy of Cummins.

Rafiner-Jarboe adds that she thinks other companies can learn from Cummins’ robust ERG culture.

“We have a multitude of ERGs that cover many diversity facets for our employees — from veteran status and gender to sexual orientation, ability, race and more. Our ERGs ensure that employees can bring their full selves to work, so that important differences or ideas aren’t lost, and we can create a workplace without fear or abuse.”

Cummins’ ERGs also collaborate across diversity segments to focus on intersectional diversity, drive support for all employees and ensure that the company’s policies match their core values. The company has also launched a number of initiatives to ensure the success of employees, including an updated parental leave policy and nursing mothers’ rooms that offer privacy for new moms who have recently returned to the office.

Cummins is also proud to host Cummins RePower, a SWE-sponsored initiative that helps those who have taken a break from the workforce re-enter it through a six-month paid program. The company also launched Cummins Powers Women, which has helped more than 100,000 people with eight new laws and policies supporting gender equality thus far. “For these reasons, Cummins is a really great company for intersectional diversity,” Rafiner-Jarboe says.

If you’re ready to join a company that celebrates all of the different aspects that make you you, apply for an opening at Cummins via the link below!

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