Employee Spotlight - Sara Starr

Call center supervisor uses advocacy experience to lead Women’s Alliance ERG

When Sara Starr started her call center career in 2015, she did not intend to stay in the job long-term. One day, her operations director called her into the office and asked if Starr would like to be the site administrator and assistant.

"That day, an amazing woman took me under her wing," Starr said. "With her mentoring, she helped to slingshot my career into high gear and gave me a whole new goal in life that I could not even fathom having."

Now, as a call center supervisor for the California Department of Health project, she uses her leadership skills and experience to inspire, assist, and mentor the team leads and customer service representatives who work for her.

"I look at my role as it is my responsibility to guide my team to success while still maintaining the culture and values of Maximus and the clients and customers we serve," Starr said.

Starr was excited to learn that Maximus' Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) program planned to create employee resource groups (ERGs). As a member of her previous company's DE&I program, she used her skills and knowledge instilled by her first mentor to serve as an advocate for other call center agents.

In February, Starr became one of the founding members of Maximus' Women's Alliance ERG.

"I felt it was my way to give back to the employees of Maximus and my previous mentor by stepping up and sharing my knowledge and experience to hopefully change someone else's life as my mentor did for me," she said.

ERGs provide many benefits for companies and their employees, Starr added.

"ERGs promote personal and professional growth, improve employee retention and growth, and support our company values and culture," she said. "ERGs bring awareness to others about the possible struggles of others in our company and break down barriers for conversations to happen."

Starr said women often take on so much – partners, children, careers, and other personal obligations – that often take precedence over their own needs. The Women's Alliance and other ERGs provide networking opportunities that promote professional and personal growth and allow women to share and learn from others.

Starr explained that the ability to work remotely or in a hybrid environment is a significant benefit Maximus provides many of its employees.

"It's always encouraged me to let my fellow employees know they have options," she said. "You can have a job to stay home with your kids. You can bring in income and still be there for your kids."

Starr and the ERG's vice president, Corporate Communications Specialist Meredith Dabek, are hoping to grow the Women's Alliance and are working on several projects to help its members.

"We're developing our resource guide for team members, focusing on career development, and collaborating with other ERGs to continue spreading awareness," she said. "We recently partnered with the soon-to-come LGBTQIA+ ERG to bring awareness of Pride in the Workplace."

The ERGs are working together to set up a Career Aspirations Fair that will bring in leadership from different departments to educate members on other jobs available at Maximus.

"I truly believe in what the DE&I team and the ERGs are accomplishing," Starr said. "There has been no greater feeling in my career than knowing and appreciating deeply the trust instilled by the teams in me to assist in this role. This experience has truly helped me grow as a human."