Help ACHE of MA Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!
This month we will celebrate by highlighting Massachusetts healthcare organizations, providers, leaders, and employees for their commitment to care for the Latinx community.
True Inclusive Workforce Development Takes Commitment and Collaboration
Each September 15th to October 15th honors Hispanic Heritage Month. While it is important for organizations to celebrate their connections to the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, only waiting until these officially planned days to actively outreach and honor the community falls far short. As 2020 has shown with the numerous calls for racial justice, each organization needs to pause, reflect, listen and act. Creating outreach opportunities for your staff and to the Hispanic community can be a productive two-way street, welcoming new talent from often overlooked and under-represented groups and creating new business development opportunities.
Find the Right Partner
At Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, it took both the leadership buy-in as well as the acknowledgement we needed to do better. We reached out to organizations in our area with the expertise that wanted to find ways to open doors for health care careers and offer value to our staff to learn from the community. The model of creating public-private partnerships has worked well in many areas of our workforce development efforts and a targeted focus on the Hispanic community led us to create a mentoring program with Conexión Inc, an organization whose mission to is to foster and advance Latino Leadership.
The program now in its 15th year, has enabled us to pair some of our talented colleagues with mentors from various organizations and types of business who brought new skills, views and contacts. The feedback from these opportunities were overwhelmingly positive and only served to strengthen our staff’s skills and commitment to their work.
The Business Perspective for Value of Inclusive Mentorship
“Being the “Only one” can be lonely. Spaulding leadership understands the value of creating a supportive environment for those that are in the vanguard of diversifying the workforce. Our approach to building cultural competency, is based on the concept of mentoring, a vehicle for two-way learning. Spaulding has been a great partner. Not only are they invested in their employees, a number of the leadership team have served as mentors too. This opens up leadership to gaining insights, as one mentor said, “I want to understand how things impact Latino/Latinx employees”. We feel incredibly fortunate to have an employer who goes beyond a focus on employees and takes the opportunity to build deeper insights through the mentoring experience. As one mentor said, “I think of my mentee not only as a mentee but a friend too…” the likelihood that this executive would have met a Latino in the ordinary conduct of business is highly unlikely, at least up until now,” said Phyllis Barajas, Founder & CEO, Conexión Inc.
In Their Own Words – The Mentees
“Thanks to Conexion my vision of Hispanic leadership has become a real option in the development of my career. Conexion’s mentoring program is an amazing opportunity to learn from experts, who demonstrate a genuine interest to advance Hispanic interest for the good of this country.” J. Leon Morales-Quezada, M.D., M.Sc., PhD., MPH, Research Associate Director, Spaulding Neuromodulation Center,
“Each session was thoughtfully planned and provided me with insightful ways for me to get to know myself better- my strengths and areas that need improvement. My mentor was very dedicated in making this past year a rich and productive experience for me and the cohort and made ways for the group to have exposure to exciting opportunities. He and I stay in touch as a result of a year of professional growth and I am very grateful for that” Evelyn Linares, Senior Director, Development, Spaulding Rehab Network.
“I had the privilege to attend Conexion’s mentorship program in 2018 and gained invaluable career building experience and was able to network with many professionals. Overall, the program helped me realize the importance of building social capital which increases one’s opportunities in the workplace and beyond,” said David Estrada, JD, Program Manager, Spaulding New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center Exercise for Persons with Disabilities Program.
The Talent Acquisition View of the Program:
“Our relationship with Conexion reflects our recognition that advancing the careers of colleagues requires focus. We not only have as a priority supporting personal professional aspirations but the mandate to challenge our organization in its ability to be inclusive. The combination of pairing participants with unique mentors who have successfully climbed that mountain, with programming that expands competencies, while creating a network of similarly committed individuals is powerful. We also send a signal, throughout the enterprise, that together we are building a leadership pool that helps us reach higher in meeting diversity and equity goals. We open the door for a seat at the leadership table, benefiting our patients, our community, our workforce and our business objectives,” said Russell Averna Vice President of Human Resources, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.
So How Do We Start?
Empowering your staff of all backgrounds and abilities takes an organizational commitment, all year long. It can mean some difficult but necessary reflection, an honest assessment of your goals and capabilities and then putting resources in place to ensure it is meaningful and successful. The time for “window-dressing” DE&I programs has passed and the organizations that don’t adequately commit to investing in their staff and community connections will find out that they are losing top talent and falling behind. Look for organizations in your area with the expertise and depth such as Conexion. Set a goal that by the next Hispanic Heritage Month, your organization has honored your commitment to the Hispanic community by having them a part of your organization and community in an empowering way all year long.
Submitted by Oswald ‘Oz’ Mondejar, Senior Vice President of Mission and Advocacy, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.