Katee Van Horn has spent her entire career advocating fiercely in the workplace for inclusion and diversity. After years in Human Resources she created her own firm called VH Included. “We focus on helping companies with their inclusion, diversity and belonging goals and helping them with how to create a culture of inclusion. I love that I can now travel the world advocating for what I am passionate about”. Katee is being recognized for:
- The willingness to stand alone and speak the truth, to question assumptions or challenge the status quo.
- The determination to act honorably, consistent with her own values, even in the face of fear or loss.
Katee says: “If I think about one word that defines me or leads me, it’s fairness. My commitment to fairness followed me through my adult life on the work I have done and continue to do. I continue to work to change the stereotypes that people believe about different underrepresented groups. People believe the stereotypes they have of groups rather than being open to experiencing the individual.”
“I was privileged to grow up as the youngest of 7 children, with parents who were educators and a family value of traveling to experience what is unique. My dad and mom packed us into the van every summer to find new places around the U.S.”
For Katee, her strength came from an incident that was a few years ago. “The idea of fairness was tested when I learned that the employees in the Scottsdale office of the organization where I worked could be punished for being a part of the LGBT community. I immediately updated our anti-harassment policy to make sure they were safe inside our four walls. But that wasn’t enough. I decided that I had to Act Courageously and I partnered with One Community to make sure our company signed the Unity Pledge stating that our employees would not be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. But that wasn’t enough. I spoke in front of the Scottsdale City Council asking them to support a city-wide non-discrimination policy. Through this advocacy, I found my biggest passion.”
Katee believes that it is about just standing up and giving voice when other people can’t.
Having been exposed to a lot of different things, Katee admits that she made assumptions and decisions instead of listening. She learned to step back and listen to what are the challenges and not making assumptions. She learned to be patient, listen and understand that everyone has their story and everyone wants to share their story that is key to help people make changes.