Inclusion and diversity are not destinations – they’re the values that guide us on our journey. From the beginning, Intouch has strived to build a community of diverse employees because we believe it equips us with greater empathy and the insights needed to better serve patients of all kinds.
Creating a sense of belonging at any company requires leadership buy-in. It was no surprise, then, that members of our own executive team offered a resounding gesture of support when they attended, and spoke at, Intouch Chicago’s March Sunnyside Up lecture series last month. Other agency leaders, plus Intouchers at all levels, also participated in a Women’s History Month edition that took the form of a candid panel discussion moderated by guest host and award-winning diversity leader, Veronica S. Appleton, MA. Panelists included Intouch founder and CEO Faruk Capan; human resources EVP Kristi Veitch; Betsy Kramer, SVP Client Services; EVP of Innovation, Justin Chase; and group account director Jennifer Peeples.
Women’s History Month — which started in 1980 when then-president Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation designating March 2-8 as National Women’s History Week — commemorates and encourages the study, observance and celebration of the vital roles women have played in American history. In our panel discussion, we aimed to not only acknowledge the value women bring to Intouch, but also to expand on that with a broader discussion about diversity and inclusion, and what we can do to foster even more inclusiveness at Intouch.
The designation of a safe space to speak honestly about our differences was inspirational for attendees. Many members of the audience asked questions that prompted personal anecdotes from the panelists — which in turn helped listeners understand their colleagues more deeply than before. For example, our EVP of Innovation, Justin Chase shared a story from a time he felt inferior because of cultural differences – we’ve all been there at least once. Betsy Kramer, SVP Client Services, who’s one of many women in leadership at Intouch, admitted to recently getting extremely frustrated after experiencing microaggressions as one of the first and only women coaches in her kid’s sports league.
Stories like the ones shared during the panel help reinforce the connection between what we do and why we do it.
Intouch is on a journey. Together with our clients, Intouch is working to minimize the impact of unmitigated, unconscious bias against the people we serve, not just within the organization but the communities of patients who are most vulnerable simply because they are different.
When we consider the essence of Women’s History Month, our work is reaffirmed — we are on the right path of disrupting bias to unleash every individual’s full potential.