Employee groups are growing, connecting at med center

Shanda Ross

Shanda Ross

Nikia Davis is the president of the Administrative Professional Network, one of 10 employee resource groups at the medical center.

The ERGs, as they are known, are open to employees from both UNMC and Nebraska Medicine. Davis’ group, made up of administrative professionals, was formed in August 2022.

“Our official mission is for the administrative professional network to promote professional development and mentoring with a focus on recruitment and retention, networking and the advancement of administrative professionals,” Davis said. “We come together to share ideas, bounce ideas off one another and find ways to streamline our processes. Even though our titles may vary and we’re in two different entities, we still do the same type of work.”

ERGs have been at the med center for several years, said Shanda Ross, director of engagement, outreach and belonging at Nebraska Medicine, but lately they have been expanding. Current officially recognized ERGs include the African American and Black Alliance, All Disabilities and Abilities Partnering Together, LatinXcellence and others.

See this graphic for more on the Employee Resource Groups available at the med center.

“The purpose of the ERGs is to ensure we have a community for our employees that they can relate to,” Ross said. “A community that each employee feels they can bring their authentic self to. With the ERGs, there is a group of like-minded people – people with similar life experiences or at least an understanding of those experiences. Of course, they also are for allies, for people who may not identify directly but they want to learn and help – to have awareness that they can share with others. You don’t just want a like-minded group, but others at the table also.”

Although the groups are called “employee” resource groups, UNMC students are welcome to join, and Channing Bunch, director of student life, inclusion and diversity, helped establish ERGs such as LatinXcellence and All Disabilities and Abilities Partnering Together (ADAPT).

“With the ERGs, we are giving students an opportunity to take a leadership position,” Bunch said “We want to build leaders, and even though they’re students, they can still have opportunities to lead or to be around leaders and changemakers. Also, they will be mentored by the folks who are in these groups, and that will help them develop the leadership skills they need.”

Each of the ERGs has strategic goals for every fiscal year, Ross said.

“They look at their mission and vision, and then they align their strategic goals with that. So the LGBTQ+ Alliance, one of their main purposes is to create a safe space, an environment that people can identify and be themselves – for example, being intentional with sharing your pronouns or how you identify, and it’s safe to do that.

“RISE, Respect Inspire Support and Empower Women, the mission is to be sure that women have a voice,” Ross said.

Groups on campus who wish to form ERGs are encouraged to reach out to Ross’ office to set up a meeting to discuss the need and vision for the group. The group needs to align with existing iTEACH values and must have at least five people in place to provide the foundational startup and leadership.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” Ross said. “Working together to create a sense of belonging, so that members of the university community feel welcome and proud to be part of our mission.”

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1 comment

  1. julie sommer says:

    Thank you all for recognizing and engaging the amazing diversity on this campus. It was great to open up the UNMC Today and see that beautiful smile, Shanda!

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