Brian Letzkus and Cassandra Solarczyk are recipients of the 2021 Randy Barnard Memorial Leave the Ladder Down awards.
Letzkus, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, is recipient of the the award for leaders and Solarczyk, Engineer III, Project Execution, is the first recipient of the award for individual contributors. New this year, the individual contributor category reflects the importance of recognizing and promoting inclusion at all levels of the organization.
The awards carry 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.
“Brian and Cassandra continue the legacy of inclusion by fostering environments where colleagues feel respected, valued by and connected to one another, where everyone is comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work,” said Mikeale Campbell, Program Manager, Diversity and Inclusion.
The selection committee noted that Letzkus walks the talk and leads by sharing his own biases, ah-ha moments and learnings to create a safe environment where employees are comfortable identifying issues or mistakes from which to learn.
“The focus for my organization has always been to communicate and educate,” Letzkus said. “We are all better when we learn, value and embrace our differences, when we are allowed to bring ideas and solutions on a daily basis. If I’m doing that well, I’m empowering people.”
The selection committee said Solarczyk’s dedication to diversity and inclusion is witnessed through her leadership of the Women of Williams (WOW) ERG and through her open and supportive daily approach to work.
“A philosophy I’ve always used in life both professional and personal is to work smarter not harder, and I’ve used this philosophy in the development of the Women of Williams ERG,” she said. “There is always going to be someone who has experienced something similar or has the resources or the knowledge to share with you.”
Letzkus – and Solarczyk as the inaugural winner — will be recognized at a board of directors meeting with works of art in honor of their achievements. Additionally, a $5,000 Williams’ charitable donation will be provided in Letzkus’ honor for a scholarship to the Management Information Systems (MIS) Program at the University of Oklahoma and a donation of $2,500 in Solarczyk’s honor to the Justin Goldinger Memorial Scholarship Fund.