Julie Ann Freischlag
At Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, we are dedicated to diversity, equity, inclusion, and creating spaces where all belong, and our affinity groups are an important way we actively bring this commitment to life.
I'm proud to share that we have nine affinity groups and counting across our organization to represent shared identities, interests, and goals.
These include a Hispanic/Latinx Affinity Group, LGBTQ and Allies, our Veterans Society, African American/Black and Allies, our White Affinity Group for Racial Equity, our Indigenous Peoples, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Jewish, and Muslim Affinity Groups.
These groups are truly inclusive. Membership is voluntary, and all teammates are welcome to participate regardless of identity or experience. Since starting just a few years ago, we have seen the positive impact affinity groups have had on team and engagement, professional development, cross-collaboration and community outreach. Our goal is to continue growing membership and engagement.
One recent success was when our groups came together to donate more than 150 pounds of food to Brenner's Children's Pantry and clothing to Faith Health ministries for our patients.
Affinity groups also serve another purpose. They help shape our organization's culture, strategic priorities and diversity inclusion initiatives that lead to positive outcomes. They bring together diverse perspectives to weigh in on initiatives. Cascade information. Enhance our culture and boost engagement, recruitment and retention. From hosting cultural events, volunteering in the community, and collaborating they work together to make great things happen.
As leaders, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen and support our affinity groups as executive sponsors. This is like being a mentor or coach who champions the interest of the group, helps navigate barriers and makes connections. I encourage all senior leaders to consider serving in this role.
The Office of Diversity Equity Inclusion will provide you with support, resources, and guidance. Being an executive sponsors also a rewarding way to connect with teammates. I'm so proud of the work our affinity groups are doing to improve our organization and the communities around us. I encourage you to get involved as an executive sponsor. Giving just a small amount of your time will make a big difference. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support.