Hello, this is from day one. Welcome to our webinar, how employee resource group resource groups drive diversity. Please welcome our co founder and Chief Content Officer Steven cap. Welcome, Steven. Thank you.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to our webinar in which we'll be exploring a pressing Human Resources topic, which is how Employee Resource Groups diversity, diversity and inclusion can regress during an economic crisis. But corporations have a resource to help prevent that from happening. Er G's these affinity groups for women, people of color, LGBTQ plus people with disabilities and more can reinforce a company's leadership. Today we want to explore ways er G's can help preserve and advance years of effort toward inclusive workplaces. What makes these groups effective and influential. How do we implement changes for the future from within these groups? Those questions coming soon. But before we dive into the answers, we'd like to thank our partners Hinshaw and Culbertson sarissa and catharsis productions for making today's webinar possible. I'll tell you a little about each one. Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP is a US based law firm with offices in 11 states in London, and has a long standing commitment to ensure that the firm reflects the diversity of the world in which we live and work and believes that encouraging and supporting all of its attorneys and celebrating their unique contributions will foster positive business, economic and social growth for their firm and the communities they serve. So Risa is a democratic democratising access to truly transformative leadership development for all the sarissa philosophy is grounded on the holistic human needs of each individual with personalized learning journeys, executive coaching, external mentorship, a virtual and convenient delivery platform and affordable access and today's trying time. So recency is a critical need for a whole person approach to leadership development, particularly for diverse groups. And finally, catharsis productions helps create inclusive and respectful workplaces through innovative, accessible and relatable programs, workshops, and consulting. This panel discussion is an important exploration of how we can empower er G's in times of crisis to keep diversity and inclusion Top of Mind at a corporate level. Now a few quick logistical items. This webinar is being recorded and will be available on demand within 24 hours after the event using your registration email. You can watch for a written account of the conversation next week on our website at from day one.co. Now at around three o'clock, we will have eastern time, we will have a q&a session, you can submit your questions any time using the q&a button at the bottom of your screen. Now I'd like to introduce our moderator, the business journalist Lydia Dishman, who reports and edits for Fast Company tech and leadership and has written for CBS moneywatch fortune and the New York Times, among others. So okay, well you over to you.
Thank you so much, Steve. And thank you, panelists and audience for joining us today. Once again, we have a really timely discussion on how there are different ways to improve and encourage diversity and inclusion, while the pandemic is cutting through all sectors of our culture, our society and our workplaces. So without further ado, I'd like to turn it over to our panelists to introduce themselves, but I wanted to tell the audience First, we have two pairs of colleagues, which is a little bit unusual for us, we usually have our panelists coming from all different companies, but we have HR leaders, and as well we have to members of affinity groups within their organizations. So I'm going to turn it over to you all and I would like you to tell the audience a little bit about yourself, and about your current work and the little bit about the ER G's affinity groups or what you are a part of at your organization. Let's start it off with Jo Anne Hill
Hello, first of all, I want to say I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to participate on the zoom panel and as you sent Lydia very timely conversation. I was extremely pleased when they asked me to join because my background is a little bit different, but I'm not going to steal your thunder Lydia, we can talk about that more with args and Diversity Council. But I am Joey in Sam's Hill. I am the first executive director diversity and inclusion for Piedmont healthcare, which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. I am a corporate office or system office employee. Piedmont healthcare has 11 Hospital throughout the state, you know, 1000s of employees, physicians and practice, I've only been with Pete law was 10 months last week. But I retired from Aflac after 29 years as their director of diversity and employee engagement. And so when we talk about diversity and inclusion, what I often like to say when I speak is if you stop at what you see, you're going to miss out on the best part of me is so much more than what you can see. And so look forward to contributing in this conversation. Did I give enough background?
Great. So now I'd like to turn it over to your colleague, Carolyn.
Great. Thank you so much for having me as well. I'm so excited to be part of this panel. My name is Carolyn Kelly. And I currently serve as a talent development and learning specialists at Piedmont healthcare. In my current role, I am charged with analyzing, developing and facilitating content around professional and leadership development across our system. And I also was recently appointed as chair of one of our diversity and inclusion council working under Joanne which I'm very excited about. It was a recent initiative that I jumped on board with shortly before the pandemic hit. And we'll talk a little bit more about that later. I've always had a passion in the workplace around people leading people. That's how I view us, right? We're all human beings, first and foremost, and how we can really truly appreciate that and each other, and I'm excited to explore that topic further today with you. All.
Right, thank you. Well, let's turn it over to David next.
Thanks. My name is David alfine. And I am a partner at the law firm of Hinshaw and Culbertson. And I focus my practice primarily on representing nursing homes and other corporations in the aging services space, but have more relevance for this conversation. today. I am the co chair of our LGBTQ Affinity Group, which is what we call er G's or brgs and law firms. And I am also the co chair of our mentoring committee. So we've been I've been very busy with those two hats since the pandemic struck, and how we've been sort of transitioning to working from home, which is a very unique for law firms. That is not something that law firms traditionally did. And I work very closely with Dr. Morris, who is our head of diversity and inclusion at the firm. I'll turn it over to him.
Thank you for that introduction. I am probably the most paranoid person on this call to make sure the Wi Fi continues to work. Because we all been trying to figure out this virtual dynamic, and it's in is sometimes adventurous. But aside from that, Dr. Morris commercial litigation partner at Hinshaw and Culbertson also diversity, equity inclusion partner for the firm. So I kind of get to think on the left and right side of my brain all day long. I've been at the firm for about 13 years. On a partner side, I practice commercial workout litigation, helping companies though contract and business disputes. And on the diversity side, I manage our culture initiatives firm wide. So we've got five different affinity groups, we've got attorney life committee that kind of is a broader section, if you will, of all of our attorneys, and then also the Diversity Committee. And in those different roles and capacities. I'm regularly working with management as well as our attorneys to just see how we could, you know, be better when it comes to training development be better at relationship building amongst ourselves, as well as creating engagement and how we're partnering with our community leaders, if you will, in our respective markets to be better about the activities that we do. Thank you for that.
I'd like to turn the discussion a little bit towards setting the stage because many of us who are just joining in the audience may not know necessarily about your organization's or about the work that you're doing. So, David, you mentioned working remotely and what a big transition that was, especially for attorneys who aren't used to doing that. So my question to you all is how have quarantines and this attendant economic fallout affected your organization as a whole? And I'd like to start with Joanne because you and I have spoken a little bit about the initiatives that were put in place before and what's changed now. So can you tell the audience a little bit about that?
Absolutely, to pandemic hit, and it hit all of us and it has changed Piedmont healthcare in many ways and that when I started, I started with a focus to establish a program that had never been established at Piedmont healthcare. Pete landed had a few consultants come in And then look at the organization did some initial work over the last five years with diversity and inclusion. But at this point, our CEO Kevin Brown said, we really want to make it a priority. And so I spent the first six months learning the culture, I come from an insurance background, this was health care. 11, hospitals spread out, and we were organizing celebrations organizing the council's and just before we were about to kick them off, that's when we had to shut down. So to shut down for healthcare mean, well, of course, we have people who are frontline, they did not go remotely. But everyone in an administrative role that would be like Carrie Lin and myself, we had to take on a different role, not only roles, I'm working remotely, but I also turned my attention to employees support, working with chaplains, working with therapists, trying to also understand the needs the immediate needs of our employees and the pandemic. So we sort of pause, setting up diversity and inclusion, but it is not forgotten. And we are slowly ready to ramp back up. Because diversity inclusion is at the cornerstone of everything that is important to an organization that wants to remain and be successful.
Yeah, I know, I sound like a broken record when I say that the pandemic has provided an incredible opportunity to increase diversity and inclusion initiatives and make sure that no one gets left behind because it has disproportionately affected a lot of underrepresented minority groups. So anyway, I don't want to get off on a tangent, I want to go to Kerri-Lyn, and say, why don't you tell us a little bit about your personal experience with making this shift?
Yes, absolutely. So for me, like Joanne said, I was in an administrative role prior to this. And I was somewhat lucky because our team was working remotely before the pandemic hit. So I at least was used to that what I wasn't used to is the fact that the whole, the rest of the system was going to end up working remotely outside of our frontline staff members, and how we would have to accommodate some of the leadership development and classes that we run differently. And like Joanne said, we were just kind of on the cusp of getting our training together for our council meetings and how that was going to look. And that was all interrupted once it hit from a personal standpoint, and I'm sure that there will be other members in the audience who can relate and maybe you guys as well, I was comfortable working remotely in at home, when my six year old daughter was in school and not with me, 24 seven. So that has most certainly been a challenge and continues to be a challenge with childcare during this time. And not exactly knowing what's going to happen in the fall. So those are all things that I think everyone's working through and that I tried, keep Top of Mind with all of our initiatives, and working with my other staff members and colleagues.
We certainly all need a little grace and patience. And I think that is certainly working from home the last couple of months has given everyone a different perspective on their own limitations as well as the challenges others might be facing. But it's a good opportunity for empathy. DL, why don't you tell us a little bit about what changes you've been seeing at your organization and on your own front?
Oh, yeah, I think I could dovetail a little bit off of what you and Joanne certainly shared. And I resonate a little bit with what Kit karianne Carolyn was saying with respect to working and having kids at home. And that's a whole nother dynamic on April 1, which was April Fool's Day, I'm supposed to be on phone call, trying to help one of our new attorneys that we just brought over kid integrated, and my kids thought that was a great time to play with their whoopee cushion. And you really can't like bring that back. So, Note to self, always keep yourself muted. When you're not the one talking. I learned the hard way. But what I think you know, what we, what we really underscore and what was really serious for me was you look at the Great Recession, you look at the impact on the legal industry, and the kind of setback when it came to attorneys, you know, industry wide, but more specifically diverse talent was hit, hardest hit African American saw a 13% reduction in Asians and Hispanic Latino, so about a 9% reduction, even though historically, they only represent about five to 8% of the industry. And so it became really important for for us to do a lot of work raising the awareness, if you will, for those that can't or aren't always seen in the office period just by implicit bias factors. But how do you then do even more to make sure that those implicit bias factors don't play a factor in productivity, keeping people busy, etc, etc. Especially coming off the heels of a Hinshaw dei matters initiative that we just passed in October, which was purpose to try and increase diversity representation and leadership hiring as Well as their promotion management positions by 30, at least a 30% consideration. So it actually became the pandemic became a great opportunity as a talking point to just constantly point back to the initiatives that we just passed point back to where things were 10 years ago, and how we can reverse that narrative change that narrative to be more impactful at where we're going in the future. And to your point, Lydia now is as good a time as ever, and even more importantly, to reaffirm our commitment to diversity and how we're partnering with our clients and our community leaders to do so.
Even though I want to turn it over to you and ask has your particular affinity group experienced any changes, I mean, obviously, we're all working through these challenges and working from home is is a thing. But what has been the challenge for the affinity group to stay connected?
It's interesting, because I feel that the our affinity group has definitely had an opportunity to be more intentional about our involvement with each other we've gotten, we have a more meetings, you know, as as you said in the intro, our firm has offices all over the country. So we have affinity group meetings all over the area, affinity group members all over the country. And this has given us an opportunity to really say we're all going to meet, we're going to have a sort of a virtual happy hour on Thursday at 4pm. And just sort of talk about what we're going through. And we found that that's been a really nice thing to for, especially for the younger associates, as well as for people that are in smaller offices because they feel more connected with the larger firm, they're able to ask us questions about what's going on, what's going to happen when we go back to work, when are we going back to work, all of those questions that other people that everyone's having all over the world right now. But it's given us a chance to be very intentional with our communication. And I actually think that in a strange way, it's really strengthened our ties, because it is something that it's one of the few things that we're all going through together. And we're all having different experiences. I don't have kids at home, but we do have several members who have children at home. And that was one of their big concerns about returning to work. We have members like me who live in cities where we're going to need to commute on public transportation when we do return to work. And that's, you know, presents challenges. And then we have other members who drive to work. And that's not an issue. So it's a nice way to sort of exchange our fears and our concerns and understand what other people are going through. And it really has given us a chance to really strengthen our ties at this time. And and it's been nice, because I will have a meeting every two weeks. And we have different people every time but we generally have a good quorum. So I can see that, you know, when if you hold a meeting and people attend, I think well, then it must have been relevant. So it's a nice, it's a good feeling.
Yeah, that's certainly a challenge. I think, especially as we move through this time, there is definitely zoom fatigue. And that is a real thing. I had read something recently from a psychologist that said that we're trying so hard to reconcile the fact that we could see the person but not feel them physically in their presence that, you know, by the time you get off the call, you're just exhausted. Anyway, ballam. I want to bring it back to Joanne because I think that a lot of people are familiar with the term employee resource group familiar with the term affinity group, but you had mentioned Diversity Council diversity and inclusion Council. And so can you just explain a little bit about what that is? And tell us about the genesis of those?
Absolutely. Thank you. Well, when Steve talked to me about being on the panel and and I wanted to be very upfront with him to say well, you're talking about er, G's and affinity groups and based on my experience, I believe that er G's affinity groups, Business Resource Groups are very effective, particularly with a strong governance and perhaps in really mature organizations from a culture standpoint, but I have spoken on many panels where I'm often the minority that says, I'll do er G's but Diversity Council if you consider it, when you have an event, let's take pride, for example. And you have people who come together to say we're going to support the LGBTQ community and Piedmont healthcare do that, then people who feel a part of that will work on it. Well, one of the first things that we did when I started last year is I said, we all should support product, because these are our patients. These are our providers. And we're saying that Piedmont supports its employees. So even people who were not a part of that group came together in the Diversity Council model because you can be more than one thing. You could be an African American, male or female. veteran somewhat especial disability lbgtq you so many things. And so that has been the model that I have utilized my previous organization and now at Piedmont healthcare to say we're saying everybody can be a part of the Diversity Council. So how do you become a member? One of the things that I was really keen to when I joined Piedmont healthcare, people will say, Well, is there an application? Do I need to submit an application like I have to do to be a safety coach or this or that? I said, No, because an application could symbolize I'm going to pick you, or I'm not going to pick you. And again, it's all about diversity and inclusion. So you don't apply. There's an interest form that we ask people to fill out. So just stay, why do you want to be a part of the Council. And as long as the individual did not have any type of, you know, HR, disciplinary, automatically, you are on and people will say, thank you for picking me, Joanne. No, you picked yourself by saying, I want to be a part of something that's bigger than me. And originally, my goal was that I was hoping we'd have about 150 people across the healthcare, we had about 23,000 employees, who would say, sign me up. I mean, I want to work with you, I want to understand, because it's celebration, and it's education. So we can't just celebrate, but we also have to educate, why we're different how our differences can come together. The first week, first day, I had 150. And right now, we have roughly 500 people who said, I want to be a part of this. And so so that was sort of the Genesis behind it. I tell people all the time, again, I believe that there is a place for people to say, hey, I want to associate with this person. But for me, I pretty much know how most African American women feel. But I want you Lydia to understand the nuances about me. I'll just say this briefly. I met Carrie Lam, because she was my instructor and new leader orientation. And I connected with her and she'll talk more about her story about being from South Africa, some of the words she says. And so I was intrigued to learn more, because my mind I think of South Africa, I remember the days of Nelson Mandela. So we can all learn from each other. So we're finding that through this council, and it doesn't matter what your level of the organization is, the only thing that I asked is that if you are going to be a chair or co chair, that you will be a non people leader. And the reason is because we can also use this for promotion and mentoring, to give other people an opportunity to learn how to lead so that they can grow in the organization is to Carolyn is one of the people but it's been amazing the last 10 months.
Well, Carolyn, I definitely want to ask you about this. But I just want to tee up deal. I want you to get ready because I want to counterpoint on this. I have another follow up question for you. But Carolyn, tell us about your experience when you raise your hand to say that you wanted to be a part of this?
Well, first of all, I love exactly what Joanne said, I essentially picked myself and she allowed me to do that for these groups, the interest form was out and accessible to everyone. All of our employees, we've got over 22,000 employees within the system that was easily accessible, I immediately was drawn to it knowing that I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I'm still relatively new to my career, I wanted to be a part of a council know what what that was like and have that opportunity to share my story and to learn from others as well. And again, to piggyback off of what Joanne said, I believe it's all about education. I know, I don't know all the answers, but I want to learn the answers. And I want to save space to be able to have those discussions, learn from others, and bring my perspective and experience to the table as well. And I'm just so happy that I have that opportunity through these councils. And it was made so easy for me to do that as well.
So a deal, I want to give you the opportunity to talk a little bit about or explain a little bit about, you know, affinity groups are just that they're you know, people who come together because they have something in common and a diversity and inclusion Council is this everybody coming together. So tell us about the benefits of having an affinity group and how that plays into the larger diversity efforts of the organization.
Yeah, well, I definitely want to join one of the inclusion groups that Joanne is talking about because she does make it seem so amazing. Man, I mean, I mean, thank you, you know, our affinity groups are really there's three focuses that that they're supposed to have, and that's Connect, serve and raise awareness. And, you know, we kind of talked about it generally, but there's an Asian Pacific group, there's a black attorney affinity group, LGBTQ affinity group in the Hispanic Latino group. And, you know, I think you hit it on the head video about the shared experience that you have. But then
typically with your co hosts, your your other affinity members, you're also constantly raising awareness about the experience of their members, that does build on that relationship spectrum that we talked about as one of our DDI strategy initiatives. So specifically, I made the informed pieces become really important. More recently, this is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and every month, we kind of have our affinity group leaders put together a culture memo, if you will, I might do some of the drafting working with some of our affinity group leaders on doing some of that drafting. And, you know, hearing across the firm the experiences of our Asian Pacific American employees about the harassment that some of our members have experienced themselves, going to grocery store, in light of that kind of rhetoric, direct Coronavirus, has been has been challenging, but it's been also good to, again relate and hear other folks stories and then more. dynamically more recently, our black attorney, a funny network has been sharing a lot of commentary about the death of Mahabharata. And even now just over this weekend, George Floyd and how that really has impacted the way we show up and present, you know, in a work capacity. And so I think the more often we share our stories, the more bonds of trust and foundation that we build in terms of relationship that help us do our jobs better. And I think that's the important. Certainly. Absolutely.
I just want to pause briefly here and have Steve do our station identification.
I just have to remind anyone joining our webinar and midstream that we're from day one, and we're learning how employee resource groups also drive diversity. As sponsors are Hinshaw and Culbertson, sarissa and catharsis productions. As a reminder, you can submit your questions at any time. And we will answer as many as we can during the q&a session. Now, back to you, Lydia.
Thank you. So I want to talk a little bit about leadership, both of the council's and the args. And so if you could tell me, who really is in charge of the groups? And is that sort of a thing that happens organically? Is somebody appointed to lead a group? And how is that person or group held accountable for the overall inclusion efforts of the organization? So, David, why don't we start with you?
Sure, so at our firm, dl is really the leader of the inclusion and diversity efforts. And we look to him, you know, for guidance, as well as you know, sort of strategic direction, because in addition to being a resource for the members, it is also something that helps us to build our businesses. And it's been something that's been very important to me, to build our to build my practice and my client base, and how we we we do that how we incorporate our diversity into our business planning, as well as being a resource and a sounding board. For the individuals that are part of the group. As far as how they are chosen, I'll turn that over to DL because in the past, it's generally been dl as and its predecessor as our head of our diversity and inclusion efforts have sort of looked at the firm, you know, as a whole on a macro level and organically with just determining what the best leadership routes would be for the different groups.
Yeah, just briefly, I mean, we don't hold elections, which is always maybe a topic of discussion. But we do as a committee agree on like term limits every two to three years, we'd like to have a change over and leadership, a lot of it is driven by interest and activity from the membership. And we certainly try and get folks that are going to be engaged, as Joanna talked about before, you don't want a leader who's who's not really going to put the energy behind the purpose of the group. But a lot of it has just been organic growth, in terms of rotating members and raising folks awareness and profile. So in some circumstances, you've got more senior attorneys, if you will, our Capital Partners and other respects, you've got a coach, they're dynamic with some of the associates so you kind of got a pipeline, if you will, in terms of leadership development that you're growing at the firm.
Joanne? Well, of course Ours is a little different, because Piedmont healthcare is only in the state of Georgia. But we're spread out with 11 hospitals. First thing that we did was to develop a charter. And in the charter, it called for a Diversity Council chair and a co chair at each entity, each hospital, which would sit up at the system or corporate were Curie, Lana and I work. So I am the Executive Director diversity and inclusion over the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. But the traits that I wanted, I wanted each HR business partner at each entity to weigh in, and to talk about who do you think would be a great person to leave because I was relatively new, I didn't know a lot of people. So they also weighed in. And we looked at several things we looked at role within the organization, we didn't want everyone to be an administrative person, we have a social worker, we have a lab tech, we have someone on second shift, we have someone and environmental services. But a big part is I want to have the desire, as Carolyn said, to learn. I know some things but I want to grow more. And so that's how we chose and they will rotate every two years against once we once we kick them off, but very, very diverse group from our chair and co chair standpoint.
Carolyn, do you want to add anything about council leadership's?
Yes, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to be given that opportunity to experience leadership in some form the irony of what I do facilitating and teaching content around leadership development, but being quite candidly, a few tears down from having that be a possibility. It's just so great to get the opportunity to lead a council, learn, educate myself, play that role within a safe space. And I'm really grateful for the opportunity.
Wanting to dig into accountability a little bit more, though, because I think, you know, with leadership comes that responsibility. And that may be organic, and people are just taking the initiative on their own or there may be certain metrics in place. So for question for all of you is what what does that look like? What does accountability look like? in your organization? And within the groups within the council's within the affinity groups deal? Why don't you start?
You know, I constantly say you have to exemplify the behavior you want to see replicated throughout your organization. So it really goes without saying that a lot of it has to start from the top. And, you know, we're thankful that, you know, several years ago, one of our chairman, you know, had the I worked with our diversity partner at that time to start the drgs and affinity networks. And we've continued that trend ever since. But, you know, accountability comes from as simple as just showing up and having management in our senior management or Chairman, show up to meetings, and then also how we will look at things from an ally ship standpoint. And so I just want to share a quick story with the showing up part, you know, it's not perfect, and it's not always supposed to be perfect. And I preach that, you know, it's the orange theory model, if you have to learn or Yogi, then you have to learn how to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. But by doing that, and demonstrating that sort of intentionality, you're going to accomplish more of what you're what you're interested in. So you know, our chairman, and I can't he kind of raised me up to three. And we've been able to exchange in some very candid conversations where he's able to say, Well, I don't understand exactly how I'm supposed to say this, or that. And we can talk through that. And more importantly, he'll come to events. And David can kind of talk about a recent celebration that we just had last year on the Human Rights Campaign. But you know, it's given him the talking points and then have going off script and sharing his own personal stories, if I relate, but I think accountability is something that you exemplify that you that you show physically. And so having a leader in charge who's present is is certainly important. And I thought, David, maybe you want to touch on that story for Peter last
year. Sure. The we've had the the LGBTQ groups, I think, in corporate America, and law firms are very lucky in that the Human Rights Campaign had developed this CEI corporate Equality Index about 12 or 13 years ago, and Hinshaw has participated in it for the last 10 years, and we've gotten 100% score. But part of the app of the process of obtaining that designation and distinction is making sure that the affinity group and that the organization is very active within the LGBTQ community. And part of that is external programming. So it gives us a way to stay accountable because we do need to do things we need to make sure that we're holding events and we're participating in charities and doing things that are important for the LGBTQ community. And we were very lucky, as I said, we've had it for 10 years now. And we had a wonderful celebration where we brought in all of our members that were able to come nationwide to Chicago, we added on the roof of our building and our office building. And we invited clients and friends of the firm, and it was an amazing turnout. And it really showed the importance with Joanne and Carolyn, were talking about with ally ship, it obviously wasn't just LGBTQ people, but people that were really invested in that, and people of all age groups. And so it was really a wonderful experience. And our chairman spoke, we actually had to pry prior Chairman at the party. So it was really showed how the firm has come, you know, our corporate America has really come sort of full circle on a lot of these diversity issues, especially LGBTQ diversity issues, because that was one that that wasn't always as accepted as others in a lot of ways. So it really was a wonderful experience.
Wow, California invitation next year.
Joanne, I wanted to go to you next, do you have metrics to determine accountability for initiatives?
We do But before that, you know, dl and I, we must be related somehow, because when he was talking about the orange theory, and yoga, so I do yoga, and every time I do a presentation, I have this Mr. pretzel move where I talk about, it's going to get uncomfortable. So I believe that you have to get uncomfortable to have growth. If you ever do yoga, and I do yoga every single morning, some of the positions are uncomfortable. But I see growth in me I see growth and being more agile. And I think that's where diversity and inclusion really is. So one of the things that we've worked on, we've developed a DNI scorecard to look at our metrics. And I appreciate what you said, David about the lbgtq view, because so often again, people just start at going to look at race and look at ethnicity. But there's so many different things. And accountability is with the chair and the co chair. It's with me. But I believe accountability is with every single person. That is part of the Piedmont family, because we all can show it. So they've talked about the chairman should show up we should show we have advanced we have our first ever live event to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King at Piedmont Atlanta not too far from where he was born. But we show it when we come to work give you a quick story, again, of something that's different outside when I joined Piedmont healthcare went to one of the cafeteria websites that I was going to look at lunch and I'm a vegan means I don't eat meat. That is something that's part of diversity and inclusion. And it had vegetarian options. And so I called the guy who's over it. He's a director, and I said, as a person who doesn't eat meat, that doesn't say to me that I'm included in the vegetarian option. He said, Well, we have a whole thing for vegan. But nobody ever said that having vegan spelled out is important. And so he changed it. So I can show up. I can find something to eat, just as, as you can. So I just think that's really important. But yes, but we do review our, our DNI metrics, and we're continuing to look at that, to look at the millennials to look at promotions to see who's moving up, who's getting promoted, who's getting a new opportunity, because all of that is important in the life of an employee.
to tag on to a part of that, you know, I think john, you hit on the head and the scorecard dynamic is a little different with our industry, but similar on some sense, we've, you know, debated whether or not to have an official scorecard. But we do try and work with our practice group leaders and other firm leadership, the main Thank you No, further, we're hitting it with numbers. But a lot of it comes from the partnerships we're having with our external partners and community partners and clients, because they are constantly pushing initiatives to you know, law firms that says diversity is important to me, and I want to see the folks who are providing us services replicate that same importance. And so whether it's the surveys that we're doing, or the internal reporting, that we're showing how folks are being staffed on different measures, who's getting credit for those different measures, those sorts of numbers, what is it you measure what's important to you, right? And so how many consistently report on that has certainly helped with that initiative.
Right? And if I can just say this because do you said earlier, you were so afraid of this webcast going down I'm so afraid of I'm losing power. So I'm walking around part of diversity and inclusion is I have to get up and move around. So I'm not trying to show everybody you know where I am, but I just want to make sure that I stay connected. So you know, this is a good time for your kids to come. I'm up to because that's something else I wanted to mention, Lydia, is why is it that now that we are working from home? Do we try to keep our kids from being in the shot? Because now that we have this new normal, I think it helps, David, when you talk about having people come in, and we see wow, you know, Joanne is having a hard day, maybe it's because her walls are spray painted by her child that we shouldn't try to hide that, because that is really part of who we are. Just like Joanne trying to get connected. Okay, I'm fine now.
Well, I have to say that, over the course of my reporting, and certainly interacting with my colleagues, and doing interviews with people outside my organization, I think there actually has been a lot of relaxed boundaries. And that really, is actually sort of a sort of a way into being more inclusive. As I said, we all need a little extra grace and patience these days. And the empathy that grows out of that I really don't think that you can substitute that feeling of, you know, the kid is like, you know, bouncing off the wall in the background, or the dog is barking, or, you know, earlier, I had, you know, heavy equipment outside my apartment, I was just thinking, Oh, no, there, everybody's gonna hear it. But, yeah, it, I think that it is sort of a way around feeling more inclusive, because you are getting a glimpse into that person's life in a way that you wouldn't, in a traditional work environment. But I want to continue on this thread of belonging a little bit, I want to explore more about how the groups and the council's are promoting an overall feeling of belonging. I mean, it's one thing to see that, you know, these groups are doing things like, you know, taking part in pride or, you know, being allies in other ways. But what do you say we before before, and now, during this pandemic? What did that look like? What did that sort of extra sense of belonging look like when this group came out and said, you know, maybe we want to draw drawing some more allies, if that happens at all? Do you want to start?
You know, I think I just go back to, you know, it comes down to the narratives that you share, and how you find folks across the spectrum who can relate to that narrative. And, you know, we just were kind of talking about the impact on kids and being authentic, and what does it look like certainly post panic, or in the middle of this pandemic? And you know, I shared this internal memo with the firm a few weeks ago. So when is it okay to run? And it was based on my kind of experience and feelings in response to the amount arbory death. And I talked about the story of, you know, my son asked me, can he walk to Walgreens to get some index cards, because he likes to make these little sports cards, he does his own kind of editing of sports cards. And, and that's his hobby. And my immediate reaction out of fear was, well, no, you know, not right now, is not a good time. And I and I really sat and explore that a lot of our different members were like, kind of reaching out from the black attorney and affinity group or reaching out to me and through text messages, or I'm seeing social media posts. And I just came up with that question. So when is it okay to run and I put it in this narrative, and I shared it with our diversity counselor, and they say, you should absolutely share this with the firm at large. And I'll tell you, out of all inherited emails that we've put out, and certainly in other significant instances where I've done these sorts of culture memos, I got the largest response from members across every generation and every ethnic group of folks relating to that story and where they see themselves in that dynamic of responding to where we are in 2020. And and how that's important. And I think, you know, I'll ask David and mean if you want to jump in, and also kind of share and how you reacted, and certainly some of the other members of the affinity groups, because I think that sort of authenticity is vital to how we, again, build relationships that helps us move forward and broadening our awareness and appreciation, even if it's not something I am directly experiencing, because I'm not Asian American and going to the stores and being harassed. There's still a level of that story that I can relate to you as a human being. That helps helps when I am thinking about well, who should I put on this case? Or or who should I reach out to and be a little bit more intentional engage in conversation with
and I think that Yeah, they go building on what you said and what Joanne said it's the idea of the authenticity and knowing the person and really knowing who they are, and I'll share my story. I'm 47 and I graduated from law school in the year 2000. And at the time I graduated from law school, I was openly gay. But I never thought there would be a time when anyone could be openly gay at work that in a professional setting like a law firm in Chicago, I never thought that would happen. And about five years into my time at the firm, the affinity groups were formed, I never and again, I was open, I lived my life openly gay, but I wasn't openly gay at work. I didn't join our affinity groups. And it wasn't until younger associates came, who had had the a different life experience. And it had that life experience where they were openly gay, even in high school a lot of times, which wasn't my experience, that I saw that this was a real benefit. And again, I was somebody I didn't have any experience with discrimination at the firm, I didn't have bad experiences, I just didn't think it mattered. And I thought that I would lose more by being openly gay than I would gain. And I realized I was wrong. And I joined the affinity group. And over the years, I've become a leader in it. Today, this morning, we had a call with two associates from our LGBTQ affinity group who are planning to do programs for pride. And this is the first time they're going to be leading these types of programs, two separate ones. And we were talking about how to do that. Now, that's a huge step. For a lawyer, they're going to be giving a CLE, they're younger, they've never done it before. And I was able to mentor them through that and add sort of like my experience, and take them to that next level. And I don't know that they necessarily knew that they that that was a benefit of being part of this LGBTQ group, and community within our firm. But it really does show that the I feel that it's it's a way that we give back that we probably didn't even realize that we wanted to give back and wanted to share with other people. And it's built my career, I will tell you being gay, as in Chicago in 2020, as a professional lawyer is more of an asset than a detriment. And I tried to pass that on and show people how it can be an asset to them and a really powerful part of their career.
Wow. Well, I'm just listening to David's story and trying not to tear up, I'm emotional. But what I was thinking is, so I left a company that that I loved, and I retired because I have a personal desire to make a greater impact. People are my passion for all organizations, whether you're for profit or nonprofit, that human capital is the most the greatest asset that we have. And so I walked into a company whose mission is making a positive difference in every life we touch. So people at Piedmont healthcare are already sold on the promise of I'm here in healthcare, because that's what I want to do. So that part was already there. You know, we love helping our patients, we love helping each other. But then it went to the standpoint of, so why do we exist here as employees because in order to, to make that patient a priority, we have to understand the differences that we have. But we spend so much time focusing on the differences, I like to approach it and say it. But can we also talk about the things that we have in common, because if we really look at it, we have more in common than we have this different. And so that has been my focus of trying to go into situations and explain the synergy that happens when we all come together for a common cause. We'll just look at what's happened with the pandemic, no matter what your organization is, we're all being impacted in a different way. But that is something we have in common. And it's the same when we look at who are we inviting to the WHO ARE WE inviting to the meeting, you know, all of my peers. And dl probably says that, you know, diversity is when, you know, you invited me to the, to the dance and inclusion is when you play the music that Joanne wants to dance to. But I always say there's another one that we don't talk about, but engagement is when you asked me to be on the planning committee for that party. So that's what we have to get in our organizations that we take a look around in the room and we say something's missing. Because if we all look alike, if we all went to school together interests, like, Where is that new idea coming? And it is just my hope that during this time of resetting with this pandemic, all of our organizations will come together to say, what can we grow that makes everyone understand that they have a role and a seat at the table. And the time is now to do that. So, Carolyn, do you want to add anything to that?
Absolutely. I just wanted to say in general, that I believe the sense of belonging is really about being able to share your story and hear the story of others as well. And that's what I love about continuing this conversation. I'll speak a little bit to my personal story. I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. My family emigrated to the states when I was young. Hence the reason I lost my icon very quickly. That's one thing you'll learn about young kids and being adaptable when you move around. And I decided after I graduated college that I was going to move back to Johannesburg, where I spent the last 10 years. I came back to Atlanta almost three years ago in July. So for me, I love being able to share that story. Because quite frankly, I look and sound very American, right? No one would necessarily know otherwise. But I have this wealth of cultural perspective and knowledge from a different country to bring to the table. And also, there are some intricacies and sensitivities around that as well, right, because how diversity and inclusion is spoken about in South Africa isn't necessarily the same as it is here and understanding that, and I love what Dale and Joanne talked about, too, and having some of those uncomfortable conversations to grow, having a safe space to say, hey, how does this look here? Or, or what? What would you prefer to be called this anything? Or how can we have this discussion, and that's really what I'm excited about, especially at Piedmont, and I know so many other companies are doing it as well being given the space and the opportunity to share stories, our stories, to hear the stories of others. And my biggest thing is just education, learning and growth, I want to be a wealth of knowledge, from hearing other people's perspectives so that I can grow and hopefully help others grow as well.
Definitely, so, so, so important. I want to take a beat here and not hog the time with my questions, because we have gotten an extraordinary number of questions from the audience. And I would very much like to get to as many of those as possible. So without further ado, let's see, we have one from someone who did not leave their name, but it says, from a legal standpoint, how can er G's that are based on identity such as gender and race be justified as not excluding all this? I'll turn this over to the experts at the law firm.
Yeah, no, I appreciate that question. I mean, sometimes you did, let's be honest, in Canada, right, most often just a straight white male who has questions on where do I fit in the conversation? When you start talking about diversity? And I think, you know, first and foremost, it's important to the inclusion aspect, as Joanne talked about where you it's, it's mutually emphasized. Now, Representative wise, you know, like we said earlier, you're going to have different narratives, different experiences that are going to be felt a little bit closer to home for certain folks, because they relate to those stories more directly. But, you know, as Joanne also kind of talked about earlier, if you really look under the surface, there's a lot more that we have in common that unites us then really does divide us. And so I think while it's I, you know, I think we have kind of the best of both worlds set up, you've got a Diversity Committee, but also that is a cross sector, folks, then you have your straight white men with, you know, women, geographically, demographically very diverse from the diversity and inclusion committee. But then you also have the value add of your affinity groups to have a more competition focused interest in how they're informing how they're connecting, and how they're sharing their experience across the firm.
And I would just like to add on to that question. So I'm not a lawyer didn't go to law school, I thought about it, but I didn't. And when I went to Piedmont healthcare, I would have to tell people, I'm here to talk about diversity and inclusion, it is not affirmative action, it is not the quotas, because I could tell that when I would show up in some places, people will look at me like, oh, boy, here she goes again. And you can tell by people's body language, that they will start to shut down. As a matter of fact, on the diversity councils, I was very intentional to say it's for everyone. And it includes the Caucasian male, I have some of the chairs and co chairs that some of the entities, I mean, it is a Caucasian male, because it's not to not have you someone said to me, Well, I thought maybe you were trying to take my seat at the table. I said, No, I'm just trying to understand maybe how you got your seat at the table so I can sit next to you and help some other people get there. And those are the conversations we have to have. I mean, I've had people say, I'm threatened by you. You came in and immediately I thought about affirmative action. That's not who I am. But we have to have those conversations. That is about everyone. But that is a very, whoever said that's a very valid question. But it is equitable in the way that you said and I'm sure your law firm. Looks at that very closely.
Briefly, you know, I think a lot of the reticence comes around Diversity, Equity inclusion conversation, are you taking something from me? And I think it's more turning the conversation. This isn't a taken from but it's a growing, we're expanding the pie, the pie is going to grow for everyone. And that's great for business. I mean, we could talk scientifically and the data that's behind there that, you know, diversity increases profitability and productivity. And so when you frame it around the paradigm that this is, this is a growth opportunity for everyone, then you see where everyone really contributes to the impact that you're able to make? Absolutely.
Thank you. very thorough answers and actually leads into another question that I believe it's Jay, I please forgive me if I'm not pronouncing it correctly. Talking about conversations, how do you organizations, args or diversity councils, actively support or create space for employees to discuss and address critical issues that may be impacting their engagement or productivity in the workplace, such as police brutality, disability, LGBT plus issues and other forms of discrimination. And that's open to the floor. So whoever wants to jump in on that?
Well, I'll just say, because I'm in Piedmont healthcare, I think it's a work in progress, because as you know, we're just establishing that but we do have a side and a form where people can can speak their mind. Some people like to do things, and just be anonymous, where people can, you know, mail in their comments and their concerns. But for me, one of the things I said when I started at Piedmont healthcare is I said, All I have is my name. And my credibility is that I will do just what I said I would do. And so I've had a lot of people that will say, I just want to run something by you, I want to come to you, I want to talk to you confidentially. I have to call and I desire and will call back, anybody who calls me will respond to an email, because that's important that people know that it's safe. But I think that over the last, you know, this year with the pandemic and other things, I think we're seeing more critical social issues. And do I feel that throughout the organization, we have perfected the practice of people feeling safe. I would also say I think it's a work in progress currently. And it's been there two years, I've been there 10 months of karelian, you may have more to say about that.
I think I agree with you, Joanne and your sentiments, I don't have anything further to add. So it's a work in progress. But I believe that that we're doing well and are going to continue to get there. But I think everything's a work in progress as well. Right. But hopefully, we never stopped growing the day we stopped growing and changing and progressing. We likely are no longer on this earth anymore.
Yeah, and I think I would add that you sort of building on these the theme of the hard conversations, I feel like the our BRG affinity group structure leads to sort of having those hard conversations internally, and one of the ones we had recently, during the pandemic, we're talking about all of us having the struggles of the pandemic, is, you know, that the the language of the pandemic is very similar to the language of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s. People testing positive, and sort of the the, the stigma around what's happened with people being having COVID, and people having aids and being HIV positive at that point in time. And that was an important conversation that we had within our group during one of our calls, because certain people were really feeling that younger people and women didn't necessarily have that immediate response from our group of the, you know, sort of that the gay men had had, where they had had more of a direct connection with the HIV and AIDS epidemic. So it's, it does sort of hard conversations, it gives a forum for those internally, as well as externally.
I would just add briefly, you know, when talking about some of these significant events that happen to a country or to our world, you know, we pick and choose our spots on when, you know, we speak to it, and more often than not, our rule of thumb is if it speaks to a larger group of folks where it's not just essentially, you know, experienced by, you know, one group, and I think it's something that certainly has relevance to everyone, or is illustrative to everyone, so that they're kind of getting a sense of, you know, the deeper experience that everyone could have. But I definitely think that, you know, David and his leadership in a group and constantly kind of bringing to awareness. Most importantly, just the generational differences on how we're all experiencing the world has just been really insightful for our leadership and certainly to the to the firm overall.
It's something that we don't hear a lot about is the generational differences and how that all plays into belong out as it were. I just want to pause briefly here and have Steve You've come back on again for another station identification. We're at the top of the hour. I feel like I'm on a radio program.
Hi, again. Thanks, everyone. We just wanted to remind everyone, you're watching a from day one webinar, and you've asked really great questions. And we'll try to get to as many as we can. So Fire away, Lydia. Thanks.
Thank you. A couple of logistical items I think we can answer pretty briefly. One is do you compensate er G leaders for their time? Is anyone compensated in an extra one?
We have I know, David's shaking his head, he gets a ton of a ton of things. So all of our attorneys do self reviews. And one of the factors that does go into compensation assessment is your involvement with firms civic duties, if you will, as well as specifically diversity inclusion efforts. So all of our different affinity group leaders, while they're not given a satisfied bonus for the activities that they're doing, it is a part of the consideration that that they all receive during the year in a compensation piece.
So that would be no for the Diversity Council chair and co chair. Okay,
what and this is, I think, an issue that we are having, especially now with remote work, what is the best way to start affinity groups in multiple locations?
I'm going to just tear up David to talk about that, because, you know, we've got the affinity group, and it's in what we love about is the geographic participation. And while there might be some regional emphasis that we're able to give to that, I think just coordinating across regions, maybe David, you can kind of speak to that.
Yeah, I feel that it's just the ones like what Joanne was talking about where people expressed an interest, you know, we at the firm, we have self identification forms, so we're able to track diversity. And once somebody has indicated that they have a, that they're part of a certain group, that they'd like to self report that we do, reach out to them and ask them, you know, like, how they'd like to become involved and explain the diversity group structure to them, the affinity groups, so I feel that that's definitely a something that is, goes on. Sorry, I've got my window open. But um, yeah, so I definitely think that that is something that right now, actually is probably a better time than any, to start this sort of involvement from many geographic locations, because there's no sense that, oh, there's a large group in Chicago, for example, in our firm, but there's only one or two people in other offices, how is it going to make a difference? We're all calling in, we're just all little Brady Bunch squares on the screen right now. So, you know, it becomes a great time to really get people engaged all over and feel that we're all on an equal footing, regardless of where we are geographically, and how close we are to the management of any of our organizations.
I'm not angry, I know that we're all zoomed out, as we said earlier, but this really is our new normal that I think we've all embraced. And I know that we were talking earlier about, I call a new sense of professional intimacy, so to speak, as a result of zoom, seeing our kids in the background colleagues, you know, facetiming, when I'm still in my pajamas at nine in the morning, working away, and I do think that really helps with a general sense of engagement and our ability to gather those groups together, no matter how they look to all feel included and be a part of the conversation. Exactly.
Thank you. I'm glad you added that, because that leads me into the next couple of questions, which is about engagement. But in this particular question, Natasha is asking about senior leaders, getting senior leaders involved in ER g activities. One thing I've noticed recently as senior leaders not being willing to act as executive sponsors, for a particular er G, because they're not interested in that group. And she's asks, What is your advice for helping these leaders see their roles as allies, even when they do not belong to or aren't interested in a particular affinity group?
You know, I guess I'll jump on that one. And it's incredibly timely, we've just started exploring the idea of a big sponsorship. You know, and I think it's
a practice group or an office or on our management or executive committees. You have to be kind of first and foremost at the table when we're talking about these issues. But we do it in a very different way. I mean, one of the first programs we did when I first came into this field was was called the different kinds of DNI conversation. And we invited this this monologue group and called the second story. And they would share these personal narratives and this kind of dramatic format. And then we'd all sit in small groups and talk about how we relate to that. And everyone in the Management Committee was required to be at that conversation. And they're having these small group discussions with associates and partners about how they identify to these stories that are being shared. And like I mentioned earlier, some of those were themed on toxic masculinity or racial microaggressions. So I think it's just it has to, again, come from the top and your top leadership has to kind of strongly encourage, if you will, for folks to make that intentional effort to relate. And I think Joanne, maybe you can even talk on the fact that, you know, we think that there's so many layers that separate us when it comes to Oh, you're you're a person of color, LGBTQ, or you're a woman, I'm a man. But in reality, there's, there's something you can find in common that will build a level of relationship, if you just take the time. And maybe you could talk about some of the tried and true aspects of that this certainly would be helpful in this sort of scenario.
Thank you DL. And I was just thinking that if I were in an organization that said, Hey, Joanne, we want you to be over the, the the Asian group, I would say, absolutely. When can we start? I would just be thrilled to do that. And I think I think the challenge that we have is sometimes I believe that people fear what they don't know, you know, we fear walking down the street, if someone has a hoodie, it doesn't probably matter what their colors, we may fear that person, because we don't we don't know what's going on. And I feel like in this world of diversity and inclusion, it's like, what is that? Why would I want to be over that group? That's why I believe we have to have more conversations. When I started at Piedmont, someone asked me, they said, well join, I've heard different things. I've heard that some people want to be called African American. And some people want to be called Black. What do you want to be called? Can anyone guess what I said? I wanted to be called. Joanne, that's my name. But I appreciated the fact that at least you asked me. And I think that I always say that diversity is most effective, when it is stated from the top. And my previous organization, the CEO said diversity will be and it was, but not only did he say that, to your point, David about showing up when we started diversity training, and I was just a manager, he was seeing seated right next to me. And when we would go and do something to celebrate Asian Awareness Month, or lbgtq, or Black History Month, he was there. And so he led by example. And so the thought was if the CEO can be there, and the CFO can be there, and the CEO, and I'm the Senior VP or I'm the manager, why are you not there, because people want to see themselves in our organization. And for organizations that really understand it and really understand that impact to the bottom line, then people say, I also want to do business with people that look like me. And then that starts a different conversation of that point. You mentioned dl about all of us growing, and even at Piedmont hills here, when the CEO Kevin Brown said this is important. It's a strategic initiative, it is a top priority. But he showed up, he spoke at the MLK event, he was next to me, and he continues to be there and other leaders, and other people come out to say I want to understand, that's when you start moving the conversation. And that's when we start moving the growth of our companies. I don't think it happens overnight. But we have to be able to, to note that this person isn't there. But instead of making it a big thing, like pull them to the side, is there something that I can help explain to you about this er ci, or about this Diversity Council event? Because again, often we fear what we don't know. So that's why we have to educate, we can celebrate, we can we can party hearty when it's June 10. Team. But if we don't tell people the significance of June t, then people are like, why are you celebrating that in mid June? We have to educate then we can celebrate. And I think we can get there, especially with the people on this panel. Very, very true.
You're all amazing. We have so many more questions coming in thick and fast. And as I said, we'll try to get to as many as possible. One thing that particularly caught my attention because I have done a panel on this before. We talked a lot about the kinds of diversity that we can see, obviously, gender differences and racial differences. But what about what are you seeing in terms of neuro diversity inclusion across your organizations and brgs so is anyone having any experience with neuro diversity
in our region, just add there's just been an incredible emphasis and it's really driven by the Bar Association on mental health and awareness that is now almost mandatory continued legal Education and Training in many jurisdictions, and so that's given us a great door to open to to have more public conversations about what does mental health look like, and what does staying well look like. Particularly, we're all stressed for all high performing individuals that want to be excellent at everything we do 365 days, seven days a week, etc, etc. And and I think, you know, when you open the door for those conversations, it allows for, you know, folks that are, you know, challenged with respect to their own kind of mental health, as well as folks that have others in their family or extended networks. To learn more about that to be more comfortable disclosing whether or not they are, we call it differently abled, if you will. And so while we don't have a specific like group set aside for that, we don't actually have any of our folks who've self identified on HR forms in that respect. But I think just as we continue to cultivate the culture that we really want to see, at the firm, where there's a lot more openness and receptivity to that conversation, we'll see folks being able to disclose far more frequently and often.
Absolutely. And I think to David's point, when he talks about people who test positive for COVID, and the parallel to that of eight years ago, I'm sure most of our organizations or people who are on the call have the EAP, there have been stigmas associated with that I don't want to call the Employee Assistance line, I don't want people to know that I need help. And I like to say, if you're a human being, you're going to need help. If you don't need help today, you needed it yesterday, or you're going to need it in the future. So therefore, we have to be supportive. I was amazed when I went to Piedmont healthcare and found out that we had a whole department with the an HR under benefits, that's employee wellbeing. And it focused on mindfulness where you can go and you can take yoga, and you can have someone talk to you about how to eat right, because we bring our entire selves to work. I think throughout many of our organizations, and in this country and in the world, we have shied away from talking about mental illness and the impacts of that. I think all of us have seen if we watch CNN instances where maybe some of the healthcare professionals have burned out, sadly say some have taken their life. And there's another impact. I saw this morning on CNN that one of four Americans are and are on unemployment. So what happens when the dynamics of your family changes what happens when you can't put food on your table and the what happens even if you come back to work, but you're still dealing with the residue of that, but you have to come in and type a file or take someone's blood or or take a case that I think all of us have to be more mindful of one of the things that we did for our frontline employees during the pandemic was to reach out on a circle of therapists and counselors and professionals who who call Piedmont healthcare and say I want to avail myself to your employees to have a hotline because when we went to level four we couldn't have people visiting, even though we do have chaplains. So people would have a lifeline that is continuing to say, I just need to talk to somebody. And I believe that as leaders in particular, we need to be more mindful as we go back into work or even if we stay remote, what are the telltale signs? You know, the last time I talked to Joanne two weeks ago, she was smiling here is that today she seemed stressed or her eyes are black, that we have to be more intentional of helping our employees, which also helps our organizations.
We have a related question about a different type of er g this purse Ellie is asking my institution, we're considering having an employee affinity group for individuals with disabilities and caregivers? Or is it recommended to have a disabilities affinity group on its own and not combine it with caregivers. My reasoning for this is based on the assumption that people associated with this group will not know if someone is there because of a disability or because they're a caregiver. And this would create some degree of anonymity. This would also leave it up to the individual employee to decide to disclose their reasons for participating. Your thoughts are needed here.
You know, I would just kind of echo what Joanne said, you know, we have to D stigmatize all of this and and you only do that by raising the conversation and awareness throughout your firm You know, it goes back or your company goes back to the culture what what culture Do you want to set? What's the tone that you want to set your organization? And so I think a lot of is driven by leadership is joining kind of mentioned earlier as well. I mean, we've explored even expand into a veterans you know, group because we we celebrate all the veterans that we have, we have a significant amount, but I think it just goes it's as simple as that. I don't think there's an either or approach to it. It can be both and more importantly, I think it's something I applaud when you apply the we're going to you know put emphasis around this group and, and the purpose of that group being to support one another because they all are experiencing something uniquely to that group. But also how are you sharing that experience and awareness, so that I can have a better sense of what it means to to, you know, be a person with a, b, c, d, e, or F. And so it's always a both. And I think we should steer away from the kind of either or dynamic of some of these conversations.
And I agree, and I applaud the organization for thinking about it. You may try it one way that you may change it, but I think that is awesome.
I want to get back to engagement. Jill is asking how do you keep people engaged and connected on dei topics? While everyone is working remotely? I'm sure you can all individually answer that just from a personal level as well as a professional level?
Well, and I think there are a couple of things. We know we have to utilize. Technology, technology is a facilitator of conversation, I've never felt that technology is the only way but continuing to reach out and to reach out even more to have those check ins if we have a team to have a huddle. And again, you know, we had just started kicking off our councils with our celebrations, but we're still trying to maintain a level of check in of, of emails of acknowledging, like you said, What may is with June is newsletters, and conversations that help people understand that you're still critical important to to the to the organization.
Yeah, I would agree that we we've been really trying to make sure that everybody is aware of the importance of DNI and you know, as we just came through Asian American History Month, and now we're going into Pride Month, and we always have celebrations, usually in person, and now we're continuing to do them virtually. And so that's been a really important thing to make sure that, you know, the dialogue doesn't fall apart as people are more concerned about other things, or as other things sort of take prominence in people's minds. So that's, that's been rude. I think that the most important advice I would give is to be very intentional about it. Because I think that the more intentional we are with our communications and reminding people of the importance of our DNI initiatives, the more likely we are to keep people engaged in it. But again, as I said, for any organization that has people spread out all over the country, or maybe all over the world, it's actually probably presents an opportunity to make sure people are engaged, again, our largest offices in Chicago. So we have, you know, more of any group in Chicago than we do in any of our satellite offices. But when everybody has an equal size, Brady Bunch square, you know, we're all sort of meeting together in the same room. And it's not as if you know, that's only in the flagship, but that's only in our corporate headquarters. So I think it's actually presents a real opportunity for additional engagement. And it also presents an opportunity for planning, you know, as far as what do we want to do? What else would we want to do? How would How would you like to be engaged? We haven't seen you at one of these meetings before. We'd love to have you more engaged, what would be something that would speak to you and what would be something when we're back in the office or while we're still out that would really help you to feel a part of the organization or be part of your life and your professional growth?
Carolyn, do you want to talk about your experience, how you're drawing people in just even from your team's perspective?
Absolutely. I think innovation really is key here. I think we're all trying different things, seeing what works and pooling ideas together as well. I do feel as though we've always talked about engagement. And of course, as always, top of mind, but it's never been more top of mind, as it has now. And I really feel like one of the I don't want to say that there's ever positives of this pandemic. But takeaways that we have is just really that human basic human need we have for engagement and staying connected, and how all these new normal behaviors have come together. And I just think it's important that we continue to innovate to keep that an engagement alive. I know that I participated in my daughter's drive by summer bidding farewell from her school a few weeks ago. And something as simple as that. I just have never felt more connected to people in general and how can we bring some of the things that other organizations or places are doing and bring it to our diversity and inclusion council members, affinity groups and just the workplace in general? Absolutely.
We we have a question in two parts that part of part of which has already been answered. Terry was asking you about the impact the pandemic and remote work has had on er g programs and initiatives, which you've already all addressed. But the second part of this question is, what has it done to how they work in the area? Is that support business goals? And we really haven't talked about how affinity groups or the DNI councils are impacting any business goals. So can you all speak to that?
Well, I can say that when I was hired at Piedmont healthcare, talent was one of the pillars that we were focused on, we were focused on promoting, you know, making sure that we looked at who had a seat at the table that we were intentional in how we were recruiting, we were intentional of not just going to the SEC schools, I know y'all are in Chicago and everything, but anyway, UGA sec schools, but that we would, we would look at HBCUs, we will look at different nursing organizations. And so that part has continued. But I think we also wanted to make sure that we looked at who's getting promotional opportunities, even part of the work that carried land and some of her peers are doing on leadership classes is how do we make sure that everyone has the opportunity to get into development courses, so that they can grow so that when the opportunity is there, they're ready, because often what I've seen, and over 30, some odd years of being in corporate America is that there was an opportunity, maybe I could have been considered. But I like these three things. Well, that these two things and I believe we should be very intentional with our leaders and making sure people understand how to move that forward. No matter if you're a millennial, if you're a veteran if you're a woman, a person of color. And so that's part of also what we've been doing at Piedmont healthcare is looking at with the understanding that each hospital is uniquely different. The Atlanta hospital is not like the mountainside hospital. mountainside has a stronger Hispanic population Atlanta, in the city of Atlanta, Columbus where I'm from. So those are some of the things that we started working on. And we'll continue to build that out to make sure that everyone can see themselves in the organization. And I just want to carry out that for some people seeing themselves in the organization is I'm good, too, and I'm good, don't want to move up. I'm a shift nurse, I'm fine. And we also that's why I like what David said, we have to ask people what it is that they want to do, and then build upon that. And for those who want to aspire more, we need to try to make sure that more is there for them.
Now, just briefly, I mean, our diversity committees is split within kind of two working groups. One is focused on business development, the other is on ladder recruiting and retention. And so we give different action items that are kind of articulated and reporting goals that we asked them to come up with, after kind of meeting with kind of share with the larger Diversity Committee that we put into either referendum or, you know, talking points during presentations to management. So there's just a constant partnership, if you will, that's coming from our diversity, you know, committee to diversity department or affinity groups, as well as the different management, you know, whether that be executive management, office partners, practice group leaders, so that we're trying to align as much as possible along all our respective interests.
Just to add to that, as well, you know, engaged staff members, ultimately affects the bottom line, whether it's a product, you're making a patient you're serving, whatever your consumer is, it's absolutely impacting that. And I always tell the folks that I'm facilitating classes for that your technical skills might have got you into your leadership role. But this is going to be your people skills that drives you forward. And DNI is a part of that. And the leaders that really struggle the most are those that haven't quite grasped that concept just yet, and it absolutely has an impact on that bottom line.
Absolutely. Thank you. Another one that we have is about engagement. And this one is about expanding engagement. Globally, one of the issues we run into is reminding our args to take a global lens in order to be inclusive of the workforce, that we are a US based company, half our population is outside the US. For instance, our veterans inclusion network is primarily us focused, what can we do to help er G's expand their thinking and reach? And I think that this could really be even just in a US based corporate environment. How do you expand the reach?
You know, just share briefly. I mean, I love that question. And I think the pandemic, you know, it created this almost immediate response of global isolationism, right where, you know, everybody resorts back to their respective sphere and, and pushed everything that's foreign out. But I think when you're in these sorts of seats, and certainly our firm doesn't have a significant global presence is maybe where the question is coming from, but I think it just encouraged you to have To be more intentional on how are you understanding that, you know, impact on business shutdowns and in Asia, you know, market or the UK market and what that has as an effect on what you're doing operationally here in the US, and the stories and narratives of your folks that might be, you know, in an African market and experience that has happened, certainly on your us side. So I think you just have to continually try and think broader than your own sphere. And you do that by engaging folks in those respective markets so that they're able to share their experience as well. And that hopefully helps as we move forward.
And I love that question as well. And although Piedmont healthcare is definitely not global, but we employ physicians from all over the world, we employ nurses and other people from all over the world. So again, it goes to being intentional to understanding what is going on where you're from, I mean, I think recently about about Ramadan, and the effect of the pandemic and the fact that people who wanted to celebrate, were not able to go into their places to actually participate in that I remember at my former company, when I was still a little young and not really aware of Ramadan, and I had a, a team member who was coming in and, you know, almost passing out, and we've been having lunch meeting so hungry, because at that point, she didn't have the courage to say it's Ramadan. So from 5am from sunup to sunset, I'm not eating. And so we're having events, and she's about to pass out, when a question of everything, okay, change that. And so now we made, then we started making it known this is Ramadan, so that we will be more sensitive to that. And so if there was a, an earthquake in the Philippines, you know, no, it didn't happen here in the United States, but we have team members that may have family members there, you know, is everything okay? Is there anything that we can do? I believe that when tough times come, sometimes we want to pull together, maybe we can pull together since some care packages. So we all I believe, should be more mindful of also, what is going on? Great question globally, because the impact is still locally, in many instances.
I want to try to get to another question that may require a little bit of a lengthy answer. If you have an organization that has no DNI activities at all, and it's a new concept, what's the best way to start? Maybe we could take this as a speed round, and everyone can give their thoughts about how to begin that.
Okay, I want to go last, because that's where we were when I showed up at Piedmont algo. Last. You know, I
suggest you go first because I don't Marion's in this. So I was going to pass the buck over to you guys.
You know, I mean, I certainly stepped into infrastructure that was built by my predecessor and started it, but it came from, you know, the genesis of twofold what what is their interest in the organization? Yes, we have representative members who would be interested in the organization and to, you know, what are the opportunities that we have, you know, looking at the market, and like I said, partnerships with our clients, etc, on these sorts of things. So when you see clients that similarly have, you know, diversity initiatives set up? Are you strategically looking at how you're internally developing to be able to support that network and support that constituency? So I think looking at both of those two factors interest and and, you know, articulating the strategy and the purpose behind it, are kind of the first two steps to get it off the ground.
I think that I think you're dead on and I think that's what happened at Piedmont before it came with our CEO talking not only to our board, but also to members of the leadership team. But I think there's still an ongoing process, a process around education. I think there's also a process around the the why a lot of people say the with what's in it for me. And again, Pete mon is nonprofit, I came from a profit organization, but there is a reason why someone would call you or your firm dl for you to represent them. There is a reason why a person will come to Piedmont healthcare when in Atlanta, I have Grady. I have Emory, I have wellstar. What makes me decide to go see you. You see if we want to remain in business, we have to answer that question because there's something that draws me maybe it's the fact that I'm from China and you have a nurse that speaks Mandarin, maybe you can call for an interpreter, maybe it's the fact that you have a special door or wheelchair that will accommodate my needs, if our organizations are going to be successful, which means that we as individuals are successful. That's the conversation that we have to have. And again, if we can get past what you see, and that's not always easy, but there was something that I'll never forget and I'll be very brief on that the previous CEO that I work for, he told me one time He said, Joanne, he says you are not in the majority. And I think it's very important that the person who is in the majority opens the door for the person who is not. He said, I'm a 16 year old, Caucasian male. And so when I say DNI is important, they know I don't have anything to benefit from it worse, you say it, they say, Oh, I am over 50. I'm an African American, and I am a female, there's a personal benefit. But the personal benefit for all of us is growth in opportunity. Because we want to have a job we want to grow, we want to take care of our families. And if we can just break it down. And sometimes we don't always have the time because people are quick to rush to judgment. But we also have to remain consistent and intentional in in our behavior. So no matter what I do whatever room I go into whatever organization I'm always trying to be intentional to start a conversation that I believe can be life changing.
Thank you. That's that's all the time we have. So I'm sorry that we didn't get to all the questions, but for those who asked questions to panelists directly, I would encourage you all to connect with them on LinkedIn. And perhaps you can carry the conversation there. I'll turn it back over to Steve now.
Thanks, Lydia. And to all of our speakers. That was great. Thanks also to Hinshaw and Culbertson sarissa catharsis productions are those our sponsors and to all of you for participating? If you'd like to join us for more virtual events, you can head to our website from day one.co and check out more of our upcoming webinars. Thanks, everyone. Be well.
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