Two honored as champions of inclusion

Congratulations to Juanita Parker and Ambar Malik, recipients of the 2023 Randy Barnard Memorial Leave the Ladder Down awards. Williams is honoring both for supporting the growth of others and creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work each day.

Parker, a Houston-based manager of Supply Chain, is recipient of the award for leaders and Malik, a Tulsa-based category manager in Supply Chain, is recipient of the award for individual contributors. Recognizing employees in both categories celebrates inclusion at all levels. Both recipients were nominated by other Williams employees across the company, with final selection made by the Diversity & Inclusion Council.

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.

“This award, which was first granted to the late Randy Barnard, is really special at Williams,” said Mikeale Campbell, program manager, Diversity and Inclusion. “Juanita and Ambar both embody what it means to be champions of inclusion and we’re happy to recognize their efforts to help others feel valued and welcome.”

One of Parker’s nominees said, “she leads by sharing her own experiences and creating a safe environment where employees are comfortable identifying and learning from issues or mistakes.”

Parker is co-chair of the Black Employee Resource Group (ERG) and helps lead Black History Month planning in the Houston office.

She said ERGs offer opportunities to learn about and appreciate different cultures, perspectives and experiences.

“I can share that I unswervingly thrive in inclusive environments,” Parker said. “I am able to openly share my thoughts and opinions without fear, and that fosters an environment of learning and innovation.”

As a leader and mentor, she said she aims to build trust and mutual understanding.

“My leadership style resonates in honesty and empowerment,” she said. “I enjoy helping others uncover their own path to success. I have a genuine interest in making sure all feel seen, heard and validated.”

The selection committee noted Malik’s support of Williams’ diverse supplier program, participation as a founding member of the D&I Council and participation in many Employee Resources Groups, including the Working Parents ERG she leads.

“She leads by example, actively investing in helping others succeed,” one of her nominees noted. “In her work, she drives process improvements and also takes time to advocate for others.”

Malik said she has been continuously supported by her leaders, whether by celebrating her role as a parent or understanding her need to fast – and sometimes approach meetings and travel a little differently – during the Islamic observation of Ramadan.

“Williams is the first place that I have worked where I feel like I can be me,” Malik said. “I don’t have to hide aspects of myself or tamper down parts of myself. And I can’t tell you how freeing that is to be able to come to work and just be me so I can focus on my work and to be able to do that for others in any small way that I can.”

Parker and Malik were recognized at a board of directors meeting in honor of their achievements. Additionally, a $5,000 Williams’ charitable donation will be provided in Parker’s honor to Santa Maria Hostel Inc., a substance abuse disorder treatment center for women, and a donation of $2,500 in Malik’s honor to Youth at Heart, which provides education, recreation and social development programs for youth.

Learn more about Diversity and Inclusion at Williams on our website.