Women of Excellence ERG leaders reflect on first year
What is the mission and purpose of the Women of Excellence ERG?
Sara Starr, Operations Supervisor - Health West/CA HF and ERG President: To me, the mission and purpose of Women of Excellence is to provide a safe place for women and their allies to come for both professional and personal support. It’s a place to share common concerns while promoting resources and supporting an inclusive company culture.
Meredith Dabek, Corporate Communications Specialist and ERG Vice President: To support and advocate for gender equity while aligning with the company’s strategic goals and core values. We will do this by offering professional and personal development opportunities, encouraging respect and compassion for employees of all genders, and promoting equitable and safe policies for women in the Maximus community.
Why is the ERG important for Maximus?
Sara Starr: WE works to enhance the employee experience by focusing on Maximus resources, encouraging professional development, and promoting employee engagement. This also increases employee retention by creating a work environment that feels safe.
Meredith Dabek: Despite the advances, women have made toward gender equity, especially in the workplace, there is still a long way to go before there is true equality. Women still only earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, and that gap is larger for Women of Color. The United Nations estimates that it could take 140 years before we achieve gender equity in the workplace if we don’t increase our efforts. Here at Maximus, while our Corporate Management Team is close to having an equal gender balance, men still outnumber women among our senior leaders. However, women make up the majority of our employee population and first-line and mid-level managers, according to our 2022 DE&I Report. We can recognize and celebrate the successes we have had while acknowledging that we still have room for improvement. WE provides a space for female-identifying employees to come together to advocate for policies, benefits, and events that will help all employees, but especially women.
What initiatives are you most proud of so far?
Sara Starr: I am most proud of the Career Development Collaboration we’ve created with the other ERGs. Focusing on career development is something that everyone can get something from. We were able to focus on most levels of a career path and offered a lot of great resources during the presentations.
Meredith Dabek: Our collaboration with the other ERGs for Career Development Month in November 2022 and the WE Book Club, which launched in January 2023.
What are the ERG goals for 2023 and beyond?
Sara Starr: To continue to focus on growing and developing the ERG during its start-up time. To focus on making meaningful changes and furthering women's equality in the workplace.
Meredith Dabek: We currently have more than 800 members in our Teams group, so our primary goal is to focus on engaging with our current members and developing our committees to give members more ownership over parts of the ERG. We are working closely with the DE&I team to take the lead for the March Community Conversation in honor of Women's History Month, and I'm personally hoping we can keep our momentum with the WE book cub's second session.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Sara Starr: For me, WE, has given me an extra sense of belonging in the workplace. It has given me a chance to be heard and bring awareness to the concerns women face professionally. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to lead such an amazing group and to be trusted to be the voice for the Women of Excellence.
Meredith Dabek: When WE first submitted its ERG application about a year ago, I definitely did not imagine that we would have more than 800 members a year later. It's amazing that so many employees want to be a part of the ERG and work towards gender equity. It's also a daunting responsibility because I want to make sure we have a little something for everyone, which isn't always easy! I've met so many people through the ERG that I likely wouldn't have met otherwise. It's been a very rewarding experience so far.