Tina Tchen wants us to create a new workplace culture, one that is diverse, inclusive and safe for all workers. A child of Chinese refugee immigrant parents, her journey has taken her from Harvard to the White House to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, and at every step she’s made furthering equality for women and girls a mission.
After eight years in the White House as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff and the executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, Tchen today heads the law firm Buckley Sandler’s Chicago office. Following the start of the #MeToo movement earlier this year, Tchen helped start the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which connects those who have experienced sexual misconduct or retaliation in the workplace with legal assistance.
Tchen said she believe the moment we’re in right now is one that will lead to lasting change. What we’ve been doing the last 30 years isn’t working, she added. Investments need to be made in changing the culture to be more inclusive to all and to reflect the diversity of our country.
There are things organizations can do now to start facilitating the culture shift, Tchen said, including:
• Looking at our workplaces holistically to make sure they’re equitable and safe.
• Create a culture that reflects our values, and ensure those values are upheld internally and externally.
• Make workplace culture everyone’s job.
• Hold top leadership accountable and responsible.
• Go beyond the minimum the law requires.
• Train for the culture you want and keep an open dialogue so everyone feels able to speak up.
• Break down any barriers so everyone feels included.