From Terrible to Terrific: Transforming Workplace Culture

The Youth Conservation Crew employs youth ages 14-18 in natural resource work for the City of Portland. The program brings together people of many different races, ethnicities, immigration statuses, gender identities, economic situations, sexual orientations and abilities. 

After an awful summer (2016, on the coattails of the presidential election, police shootings and the Orlando massacre), Youth Conservation Crew employees of diverse backgrounds reported that they had experienced a racially hostile workplace culture. We spent the next year developing strategies and best practices to transform our workplace and have successfully created an inclusive workplace where staff of all ages and backgrounds report feeling happy, respected and productive.  

This presentation will outline specific strategies for hiring, interpersonal relationships and transforming workplace culture.


about Kelly Rosteck

Kelly works for Portland Parks & Recreation, coordinating environmental employment programs for teenagers. She has more than 20 years of experience as an educator and is devoted to teaching and leading with equity at the forefront, so that staff of all gender identities, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, and economic situations have access to opportunity and equitable outcomes. She has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, a Master of Arts in Teaching and Minor in Spanish.