Carolyn Lyle has a simple message: building and valuing diversity makes the end product better.
Lyle is the new executive director of the Health Center’s recently re-named Office of Diversity and Equity.
And while her job is highly complex – involving adjudication, mediation, advocacy, and compliance – and replete with rules,
regulations, and requirements, she says what matters in the end is a positive workplace where the very best care is given to patients, the very best research is carried out, and the very best education is delivered to students.
“Diversity” in this case means asking a wide variety of individuals to use their many and varied talents in a cooperative way to benefit patients and students.
“The business case for diversity is related to being the best in our mission of ‘Providing remarkable care through research and
education,’” Lyle says. “Diversity
is directly related and critical to our ability to be the best and to provide the best patient care,
education, and research.
“We want to foster employees’ understanding of their role in being the best the Health Center can be,” she adds. “It’s critical for employees to understand diversity as it relates to their talents, perspectives, backgrounds, and the skills they bring every day to the challenges of the workplace.”
Previously known as the Office of Diversity Programs, the office’s new name – Office of Diversity and Equity – gives a clue to the administrative paradigm.
Diversity at the Health Center, Lyle says, represents an umbrella where building, valuing, and managing people’s differences comes together. She says it is important to understand that people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and perspectives, can successfully come together for the common goal of providing remarkable care and research.
“Equity is not a legal term but represents fairness, organizational justice, civil treatment, and
respect in the workplace,” she says.
“Employees will be more productive if they perceive that their opportunities to contribute to the challenges of the workplace are fair, equally distributed, and respected vis-à-vis their co-workers. Equity is fairness.”
In addition, enforcing non-discrimination is an important service and legal aspect of the office’s work, Lyle says.
Carolyn Lyle, executive director of the Office of Diversity and Equity at the Health Center.
|Photo by Peter Morenus
“Discrimination” is a legal term for a person’s being treated differently because of what are called “protected” reasons. At the Health Center, these are race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, and disability.
The Office of Diversity and Equity investigates complaints of discrimination filed by employees and provides conclusions and recommendations.
The recent approval of the Health Center’s affirmative action plan by the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities underscores, and Lyle’s hiring re-emphasizes, the administration’s commitment to diversity.
“We must continue to keep this momentum going as we look forward to even greater accomplishments in not only meeting our affirmative action goals, but becoming a truly multicultural and exciting place to work,” said Dr. Peter Deckers, executive vice president, in a message to the Health Center community.
Lyle joins the Health Center from Pittsburgh, where, since 1996, she was the senior manager of diversity/EEO for FedEx Ground. She previously worked with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and as an independent equal employment opportunity and affirmative action contractor.
She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and is a graduate of Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa.
In her new position she has dual reporting responsibilities. As executive director she is responsible for the director and staff of the Office of Diversity and Equity and reports to the chief administrative officer. She will also serve as the Health Center’s affirmative action officer, reporting directly to the executive vice president for health affairs.
Lyle’s office has a staff of six.