Douglas County's First Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Starts This Week

Jan. 6, 2022, 5:24 p.m. ·

Marisa Hattab poses for a photo. She's wearing a yellow turtle neck and black cardigan.
Marisa Hattab is the county's first diversity, equity, and inclusion officer. (Photo Courtesy of Marisa Hattab)

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Douglas County’s first diversity, equity and inclusion officer started working this week.

The county has over 2,400 employees, from elected officials, correctional officers, to janitorial staff and more. It's Marisa Hattab’s job to make sure they feel accepted and supported in their careers. Hattab says she will be working on an action plan with others to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion (or DEI) to all departments within the county.

"It just means creating a workspace in a society where people feel heard, seen, accepted, welcomed and to know that they matter," Hattab said. "And, it means all people, no matter what their lived experiences, or racial identities, their gender expression, their sexual orientation, their ability.. I could go on and on."

She means looking at fair and diverse hiring practices, working to retain talent, provide training and more. Hattab created a lot of DEI trainings at her former job at Mentor Nebraska. She was also a teacher at Omaha Street School.

Mattab said she grew up in small town Troy, Ohio in a predominantly white community, and as a black woman there were times she felt unseen.

"I just want to share that I'm most passionate about just creating a workplace for Douglas County employees, where everyone, and I really mean that, where everyone feels valued, where everyone knows that they matter," she said.

For now, Mattab plans on learning and listening to employees and the county’s DEI committee before making any plans.