Celebrating Juneteenth at Gillette’s St. Paul campus.
The Gillette Black and Brown Employee Resource Group (GBERG) was formed in 2021 to support Gillette employees of African American and African descent and to serve as a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Gillette. Since its inception, GBERG has grown from a founding team of 8 members to more than 50 and counting! Our membership is not just open to Black and Brown employees, but to all Gillette employees, as we enthusiastically welcome allies of all cultural backgrounds to walk this journey with us. As Gillette strives to become a more equitable, more diverse, and more inclusive institution, it is important to not only recognize the varied perspectives that come along with that, but place value on those perspectives use them as a catalyst to enhance our ability to provide culturally sensitive care to our patients and families.
GBERG serves as a resource for Gillette leadership regarding employee and community issues, needs, and policies as it pertains to our Black and Brown employees. We want to raise cultural awareness and shine a light on policies that may negatively impact employees of color because cultural differences were not considered.
GBERG also strives to build our presence in the community outside of Gillette but sponsoring giving drives to support the children and families in the community and celebrating and participating in various cultural events that celebrate the African American and African cultures, such as Black History Month and Juneteenth.
Gillette’s GBERG collaborated with Moler Barber School in St. Paul to provide free back-to-school haircuts.
One of my favorite activities was sponsoring free back-to-school haircuts in August of 2022. We connected with a local barber college and let families in the neighborhood know they could get free haircuts just in time for the first day of classes. It was a warm late summer day, and it was a good feeling to know that young students could head off to school looking their best and feeling their best.
My colleague and chair of the GBERG, LaDonna Ross, has held many positions at Gillette and been here for more than 20 years. According to LaDonna, the Thanksgiving Food Drive has special meaning for her.
“We partnered with our social work team and found our Gillette families in need this past Thanksgiving. We wanted to make sure they had happy and whole Thanksgiving, and that meant having enough to eat,” LaDonna told me. “This is something special for our patients and their families.”
Because of the generosity of Gillette team members, we were able to give 15 families gift cards of $200.
In addition to community work, our GBERG aims to be a “soft landing pad” for all new Black and Brown employees. It’s a place of support, education, and guidance. New employees can learn more about the Gillette culture and use the team as a forum to meet one another and build a sense of community and belonging. Our goal is not only to welcome our new Black and Brown employees, but to assist with retaining them. We want to be a support system, whether you’ve been at Gillette for two weeks or 20 years. When our patients and families can consistently see people who look like them on their care team it can make a difference in their level of comfort with the care they are receiving.
Tiffany Cobb, PhD, is a neuropsychologist at Gillette, and the co-chair of an Employee Resource Group.
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