In September 2017, Tamiko Stanley joined Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) as manager of Diversity and Inclusion. This is a new position for AAMC, created as a result of the work of the Board of Trustee’s Health Equity Task Force — dedicated to eliminating health disparities in our community, and strengthening AAMC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Tamiko comes to AAMC from Pittsburgh, Pa., where she worked in the diversity field for a number of large organizations, including FedEx Supply Chain, the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In this Q&A, Tamiko shares her perspective on and aspirations for her new role.
What does your role as manager of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) mean to you?
My role as the head of D&I means a great deal to me. I’m helping us do our part in reducing health disparities, and ensuring a culturally competent workforce that reflects the communities we serve. And helping to build and foster a workplace where all employees feel valued. I’m proud to be a part of an organization committed and dedicated to this mission.
What does D&I mean?
D&I means the opposite of indifference about difference. It means being intentional about difference. Fundamentally, diversity is people who offer difference in ethnicity, gender, culture and values. Inclusion is the action-orientated piece to diversity. It is the act of bringing together these differences and harnessing the power they bring. It is done by encouraging involvement and giving voice to all perspectives in order to contribute to the collective.
Why is it important in an organization?
The relationship between success and effective D&I is proven. D&I produces a more creative and innovative workforce that delivers effective, efficient and impactful solutions. Specifically in health care, culturally competent interaction and culturally customized care make each patient, family, colleague and community encounter better. At the core of it all, it’s the right thing to do, the smart thing to do, the responsible thing to do, and the only business-sensible thing to do for future success.
How do we begin to practice and implement D&I strategies at AAMC?
Our strategy will start with equipping our personal tool boxes, so that we each can contribute to fostering inclusion. That starts with dialogue. The overall goal is for diversity and inclusion to be integrated into what we do every day.
Are other organizations engaged in similar initiatives?
If you look at the world’s most successful companies, you’ll find a successful D&I strategy embedded in those organizations. We’ll learn from those organizations and benchmark ourselves for success.
How will we know if those strategies are working?
Success will come in many forms, both tangible and intangible. Tangible goals include increased diversity in the organization and more diverse applicant pools for positions. More diversity in position promotions and more diverse vendors, as well as increased patient and community satisfaction. Perhaps even more importantly, we’ll see intangible impact. There will be more inclusive work groups, more freely shared ideas, and innovation in unplanned and unforeseen places. We’ll see more shared experiences and openness from all members of different cultures, background and orientation.
There will be times of evaluation, reassessment and realignment. But we’ll know our strategies are working by making continuous progress toward our goals and, ultimately, accomplishing those goals.
How does AAMC’s focus on D&I impact the community at large?
Our D&I efforts will have positive impact on the community. We’ll look to the community for feedback, guidance and support. And we’ll continue to strengthen our community partnerships for enhanced recruitment and hiring practices, supplier diversity initiatives and much more. Ultimately, we’ll prioritize and respond to the changing and culturally specific needs of our community.
Why is it important for all employees to be actively engaged in D&I? What responsibility do we have?
We’ll only go as far as the participation of our employees take us. We each have a responsibility to share our uniqueness and extend the best of what we have to offer. That means participating in awareness events and initiatives, serving on the diversity council or on an event committee, volunteering as a mentor, or any one or more of the exciting opportunities to come.
What are some of the immediate things you’ll be working on? What can we expect in your first year?
Some of our immediate actions will include policy review, data collection for perception and attitude, goal setting for culture development, workforce and supplier diversity, awareness and inclusion initiatives, and identifying members for the diversity council, community partner network, and champions of inclusion committees. Beyond that, we have so much in store. Everyone can expect to feel a slight bit of communication overload as we plan to keep our workforce and community informed on where we’re headed.