By: Namish Modi (he/him)

When it comes to diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) in the workplace, Lumentum is learning, listening and evolving to better serve their team.

The company, with headquarters in Ottawa, manufactures innovative optical and photonic products that are part of telecom, enterprise and data center networks.
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“Our fundamental initiative for diversity, inclusion and belonging is centered around getting a diversity of ideas and diversity of perspectives and understanding,” says David Markin (he/him) (BSc ’99), manager of algorithms and analytics at Lumentum.

“Lumentum is the inaugural winner of the Impact in EDI award, which was introduced for the first time this year in the Impact Awards. The company’s initiatives and passion in this area has made them a strong contender,” says Colleen Phillips-Davis (she/her), Associate Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism (EDI-R) at CEE.

“This category is close to my heart being an advocate in this space and Lumentum has really shone in this area,” says Phillips-Davis.

They are committed to supporting students and their team for the betterment of their organization and future. This generation of co-op students will be the most diverse to ever enter the workplace, and inclusive initiatives and corporate social responsibility are important to them. Employers need to place significant effort in this space to attract and retain them. We congratulate Lumentum in their efforts to make change.

Colleen Phillips-Davis (she/her), associate director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism (EDI-R) at CEE

According to Markin, different perspectives at the table result in better solutions.

At Lumentum, the perspective of co-op students is integral in shaping initiatives around diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Initiatives include regular gender equity pay reviews, gender neutral job postings, cultural communications emails, and unconscious bias training for hiring managers and employees. When it comes to recruiting co-op students, Lumentum minimizes the number of job requirements to include only the core necessities, which encourages a more diverse student application pool. New student scholarships were also introduced.

Sarah Bahnam (she/her), a third-year Nanotechnology Engineering student spent an eight-month co-op term at Lumentum and felt a keen sense of belonging to the organization.

“The initiatives at Lumentum really help me work, knowing that there are people around me that are trying to create a better more diverse area,” says Bahnam. “I am from Iraq, and I rarely see Middle Eastern people working in high-end engineering positions. Something with Lumentum is that they try to bring in people from diverse backgrounds. They also lead people to tell their stories. We always feel more connected.”

2021 CEE Employer Impact Award in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

Creating connections

Helping team members feel connected is a driving force of Lumentum’s strategy. The organization celebrates several days of cultural significance throughout the year and has five employee resource groups (ERGs) to help build a sense of community. These ERGs foster a sense of belonging, drive innovation and inspire conversation. The current ERGs are Asians at Lumentum, Women at Lumentum, Lumentum at Black Employee Network, Next Gen Luminaries, and Latinx at Lumentum.

“Our company had a great growth phase in the early 2000s, and a few of us are getting older, myself included,” Markin explains. “I look at myself in the mirror and I am a white middle-aged male, so what do I know about diversity? I did not know much when I took this role on, but I have learned a lot and I know how important it is. It is just embracing that and our co-ops really help to shape it. It is their feedback that helped guide some of our initiatives across the company.”

“Lumentum helped me prepare for the future by giving me the opportunity to work on a multitude of tasks, which helped challenge me and helped me reach my full potential,” Bahnam says. “I really felt like I was trusted and I was becoming an engineer-in-training. My favourite thing about working at Lumentum was the people there. They were all very inclusive, and they all enjoyed having the co-ops around. They were all willing to answer our questions and mentor us.”

Giving students a helping hand

In fall 2021, Lumentum announced its DIB scholarship to help co-op students from underrepresented backgrounds. The $5,000 scholarships are given at the end of each summer to 10 outstanding Lumentum co-op students.

“The scholarships are targeted for co-op students and interns,” Markin explains. “We realize that university is expensive, and a lot of students are making ends meet as they go through university, and it can almost be even more challenging for those who are underrepresented minorities because they face biases or pressures and maybe don’t get the opportunities that others get, because of biases or challenges that exist in our environment.”

Students from underrepresented backgrounds include Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2S+ individuals.

At Lumentum, we understand this is a journey. We are just starting out. We have goals and we strive for them, but we know that taking small steps at a time is the key and we are on a journey to get there.

David Markin (he/him) (BSc ’99), manager of algorithms and analytics at Lumentum

To learn more about Lumentum’s initiatives check out this feature story: Supporting LGBTQ2S+ employees is a priority for Lumentum.