Better Together

Graphic if a very diverse crowed of people with Gift of Life logo and "Better Together" headline, rainbow colors and many shades of brown at the bottom

Diversity, equity and inclusion committee readies to launch initiatives after survey results 

Already recognized as a Great Place to Work, Gift of Life Michigan is taking steps to become even better.  

The organization’s Better Together work group, which focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion, conducted a survey recently in which nearly half of Gift of Life’s staff submitted feedback about what they wanted to learn from the group.   

Employees ranked topics of interest in this order: Building bridges and inclusion, racism and anti-racism, and religion and non-religion. Disabilities and ableism ranked fourth.   

Based on those results, along with write-in topic suggestions of microaggressions and implicit bias, Better Together is now building engagement initiatives and events in the coming year.   

Initiatives in the works:  

  • Topics related to different races and cultures will be emailed to all staff and published on the intranet and in the Better Together section of the new Honoring You staff recognition platform.  
  • Gift of Life will – for the first time – recognize and support the LGBTQ+ community by flying the Pride flag for the month of June, which is Pride Month.  
  • Guest speakers and presentations at gatherings such as Lunch and Learns or department meetings. 
  • Collaboration with Human Resources to increase recruitment of more diverse job candidates.  
  • Partnership with The Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance (The Alliance), which is offering a series of conversations and learning opportunities.   
    • May 19 at 2 p.m. Topic TBD – Hosted in support of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. 
    • June 21 at 2 p.m. “Exploring donation and transplantation within the transgender community” – Hosted in support of LGBTQ+ Pride Month. 
    • Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. “(Dis) Owning Hispanic: Latinos speak of their journey to self-identification: Latino, Latinx or Hispanic? – Hosted in support of Hispanic Heritage Month.  
    • Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. “Healthcare Access and Implications for Native Americans” – Hosted in support of Native American Heritage Month.  

        What is Better Together? 

        An employee-driven diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) workgroup comprised of about 25 staff members representing most departments at Gift of Life.  

        What is diversity, equity and inclusion?  

        • Diversity: The many ways in which people are different.  
        • Equity: Fair access, opportunity, and advancement for all.  
        • Inclusion: All people are and feel respected and have a sense of belonging.  

          Better Together’s mission and vision  

          Better Together works to enlighten Gift of Life Michigan staff about equity and inclusion to build an environment of unity where employees understand biases and experiences and respect each other.  

          Who’s involved and how to join  

          Remonia Chapman and Betsy Miner-Swartz are leaders of Better Together. Better Together welcomes ideas and input and anyone interested in participating is urged to talk with their manager then reach out to Remonia or Betsy.   

          Better Together meets monthly and has three active committees that meet more frequently. The Engagement Committee is led by Shalonda Griffin; the Training Committee is headed up by Smitha Shetty and the Human Resources Committee is chaired by Sheila Alston The groups are working to build programming, initiatives, and learning opportunities in the coming months. President and CEO Dorrie Dils is an active group member. 

          Read more in the Gift of LifeLINES newsletter

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