What does it mean to leave the ladder down? It’s actively championing inclusion by helping people feel comfortable to bring their authentic selves to work and rise to achieve their full professional potential. Each year at Williams, we recognize a leader within our organization who creates this type of environment for the people they work with, especially those different from themselves.
Kandi Wilson, manager supply chain, Central Services, is this year’s recipient of the Randy Barnard Memorial Leave the Ladder Down Award.
Those who work with Kandi describe her as an active mentor and inclusive leader and decision maker.
“It’s clear by reviewing Kandi’s nomination and talking with her colleagues that she is committed to meeting others where they are and helping them grow,” says Mikeale Campbell, diversity and inclusion program manager, Human Resources. “Her ability to recognize unique backgrounds and perspectives, leverage the strength of a diverse team and lift others up to reach their full potential not only makes Williams a stronger company, it helps create a place where we’re all proud to work.”
This year, Kandi focused on promoting minority-owned vendors and is part of a team working to provide a better selection of women’s FR clothing. She also was part of a small core team instrumental in creating the new Supplier Code of Conduct that requires vendors to adhere to our strong Code and Core Values, including respect for human rights.
Beyond these projects that directly improve our inclusive workplace, Kandi consistently identifies growth opportunities for her team and others in the organization by placing them in meaningful roles on the projects she manages. She’s known for recognizing and respecting the value of different experiences among team members, creating space for honest conversations, and removing barriers to allow those around her to be courageous and meet their goals.
“I’m passionate about working in a culture that lifts up and provides a voice to all,” says Kandi. “Receiving this award is meaningful and humbling. The most important thing I can do as a leader is to nurture and develop our people and continue paving the way for their success.”
Kandi will be recognized at the first quarter board of directors meeting where she will receive a work of art in honor of her achievement. A $5,000 Williams’ charitable donation also will be provided to Collegiate Hall, a college preparatory school for students in an underserved community, where Kandi is on the board and continues her work building tomorrow’s leaders.
The selection committee also recognizes runner-up, Brian Letzkus, vice president and chief information officer, Information Technology, and honorable mentions Nickolaus Munoz, director technical services, Gathering and Processing, and Wil Nichols, senior manager operations, Gathering and Processing.
“The merits of their nominations were significant,” says Mikeale. “We thank Brian, Nick and Wil for their continued contributions to building an authentically inclusive workplace at Williams.”
This award carries the namesake of Randy Barnard, Williams’ 2008 Leave the Ladder Down Award recipient. Randy served as President of Williams Gas Pipeline Company until he lost his battle with cancer in 2012. Like our award winners since, Randy touched the lives of many and his legacy as a champion of inclusion remains strong today.