¡MÁXIMO! ERG Spotlight Q&A

President: Joseph Morales | Vice President: Yolanda Guillén | Secretary: Michelle Valenzuela

What is the mission and purpose of the ¡MÁXIMO! ERG?

Joseph Morales: The mission of the ¡MÁXIMO! Employee Resource Group (ERG) is to create a supportive environment for its members by developing opportunities for professional growth, promoting cultural diversity and representation, and building bridges within our community. We also want to support the business in how to best actively recruit, welcome, and retain Latinx and Hispanic employees across sites through resource sharing, social communication, and positive networking.

Michelle Valenzuela: We want to actively recruit, welcome, and retain Latinx and Hispanic employees across Maximus. We’re a group that can connect culturally and relate to one another, which helps morale, but we want to be more than that. Even within ¡MÁXIMO!, we are a diverse group, so we try to find representation anytime we do an activity or have a panel.

Yolanda Guillen: We are committed to empowering and furthering career development for the Hispanic/Latin/Latinx community by providing our members with tools, advice, and networking opportunities. We are creating three committees within the ERG – professional development, community engagement, and culture.

Why are ERGs important for Maximus?

Morales: ERGs are important to me because they validate an essential principle in my life: every connection is an opportunity. I've really been able to benefit from connecting with the people that I have met through ¡MÁXIMO!. It has allowed me to establish professional and interpersonal connections that ultimately translated into real and tangible opportunities for growth and development. We hope that ¡MÁXIMO! can be a place like that for our members.

Guillen: For me, ERGs are essential because, with a diverse group of people, thoughts, and ideas, we individuals can grow as global citizens. I am excited to belong to an inclusive organization that helps people feel welcome. We want people to feel welcomed, known, and valued, encouraging them to bring their unique selves to work. ¡MÁXIMO! gives a sense of belonging, connection, and community at work.

Valenzuela: ERGs are important because they provide an opportunity for you to be seen. When you belong to a marginalized community, you don't see yourself represented. When this is the case, sometimes you don't even think of the possibilities for yourself.

When I started at Maximus, I was really young, and I looked at it like it was just another job until I figured out what to do with my life. I just remember doing the best that I could, because that's what I was supposed to do. The manager and supervisors around me were all Latino as well. People like me were represented in the leadership group and they encouraged me to apply for a promotion.

What initiatives are you most proud of so far?

Morales: When we were still an unofficial ERG back in January, we hit 200 members. I was thinking at that time, we just needed a few more. We had small goals of reaching certain numbers. We couldn’t officially recruit, so it happened through word of mouth. We currently have over 1,000+ members and it really shows just how many Maximus employees are in need of a community like ¡MÁXIMO!.

Guillen: Empoderate: Empower yourself by having continuous power and control of our lives. One of ¡MÁXIMO’s! most significant commitments and goals will be to boost our member’s career and professional development by providing opportunities, resources, and tools available to all Maximus employees. We aim to empower, engage, educate, and equip ¡MÁXIMO! members in their professional lives.

Valenzuela: One of my favorite things that we've done is highlight how Haiti is part of Latin America. ¡MÁXIMO! has been able to elevate inclusion by educating our members and fellow employees that people of Haitian descent and other Francophone areas in this part of the world are part of Latin America and we celebrate them. There's a lot to talk about and a lot to learn. That’s the exciting part. The beauty is there are so many of us with different backgrounds and that give us the opportunity to learn about each other.

What are the goals for your ERG in 2023 and beyond?

Morales: I would say to continue to actively recruit, welcome, and retain Latinx and Hispanic employees. I’d also like to continue sharing resources and promote social communication and positive networking opportunities. We also have plans related to celebrating our culture. We welcome all Maximus employees to our community, and we want to show that Maximus is a great place to work.

Valenzuela:¡MÁXIMO! has created a little community within Maximus. I think that helps our members also feel like they belong with the company and that the company cares about their growth.

Guillen: Michelle, Joseph, and I are passionate about mentoring, guiding, and developing our ¡MÁXIMO! community. We believe in Maximus' goals and mission. Being part of the ERG, primarily serving as a leader, chairperson, or in any volunteer capacity, is something you can add to performance reviews or a resume. Some folks think ERGs are "social clubs," but we want folks to know this is not just a social club; this is where you will find resources, find mentors, and create relationships.