Come One, Come All: Veterans Employee Resource Group paves the way for future groups
Join us for Employee Resource Group (ERG) Launch Parties in Prosper on Sept. 19 and at Medical Center-Fort Worth on Sept. 21 (morning and evening events)!
By Heather Duge
Sherry Foster and Kimberly Johnson, co-chairs of the Veterans+ Employee Resource Group, both served in the military and are passionate about supporting veterans.
“Our group has camaraderie,” Sherry said. “A lot of times only members of the military understand our experiences and different sense of humor.”
Giving Back by Supporting Others
The Veterans ERG began six years ago. The core group of veterans meets monthly to plan events. All supporters of employee veterans such as family, friends and coworkers are welcome to participate in activities the group hosts. Twice a year in April and October, the ERG hosts an open meeting for everyone that is a veteran to attend.
Sherry said their goal is to support others as a group. They will build with Habitat for Humanity twice this fall, ride in a float for the City of Fort Worth’s Veterans Day Parade, hand out coupons for free cookies at Camelot Court on “Cookie Wednesday” and host a flag raising ceremony and reception the day before Veterans Day.
Sherry, who served in the Coast Guard, knows firsthand how it feels when a military family is supported.
“I was a military child and come from a big military family,” Sherry said. “My brother served four tours in Afghanistan and I’m now the mom of one veteran and one who is currently in the military. I love giving back.”
Through the Blue Star Banner Program, the Veterans ERG presents loved ones being deployed overseas with a blue star banner. Care packages are sent to those who are deployed.
For Kimberly, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and as Military Police, the Veterans ERG fulfills a desire to belong to a like-minded group.
Benefits of ERGs
“When you take an oath for your country, it resonates differently,” Kimberly said. “We all are connected by that. Kudos to Cook Children’s for letting our group lead the way for future ones. Employees at our hospital represent all walks of life and it’s great that our organization desires to make sure no one is left behind. We can all be included in something.”
Wini King, Senior Vice President, Chief of Communications, Inclusion, Equity and Diversity, says there are many potential benefits to having Employee Resource Groups.
“They (ERGs) can help with retention, recruitment and professional development,” Wini said. “They can also help employees with their mental health and well-being. But more importantly I believe these groups will assist with elevating our organization’s culture.”
Sherry and Kimberly look forward to more veterans joining their group.
“We don’t care what people look like, their background or what they do,” Sherry said. “If someone served in the military, they are welcome to join us and they have our respect.”
More to Come
According to Wini, the launch of the new ERGs is just the beginning.
“We’re starting with four ERGs, but I could see this expanding in the near future." she said. "We could set up a women’s network, a group for single parents or maybe even a group for young professionals. This is meant to be something we all can participate in.”
ERGs are like special clubs where employees who share common interests and experiences can come together to make our workplace even better. It's a way for us to learn from each other and grow as a big Cook Children’s family.
In addition to the Veterans group, we are starting up three new ERGs. They are:
Black/African American (BAA+)
Latinos Engaging, Advancing, Developing & Supporting (L.E.A.D.S.+)