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Conference empowers Devereux’s Champions to cultivate an inclusive work environment

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health recently hosted its annual Servant Leadership and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Champions Conference where more than 50 emerging leaders from across the organization – selected as Servant Leadership and DEIB Champions – had the opportunity to connect, collaborate and cultivate new ideas on how to ensure their colleagues, and the individuals and families they serve, feel welcomed, included and supported.

The two-day conference, held virtually, focused on the theme of “Equity and Empathy in Action.” Author and communications expert Shola Kaye served as the conference keynote speaker, exploring how empathy drives diversity and innovation in the workplace.

“We all have our own life experiences and come from different places and backgrounds. Empathy is recognizing those things are equally valid,” Kaye told conference participants before outlining a framework for empathetic communication. “If it is the right moment for an empathetic conversation, let the person you are communicating with speak, and then listen and name back the challenge they are facing. Next, empathize with them. Finally, when they truly feel heard, it is time to transform. You might ask, “Is there anything I can do to support you?” Remember, transformation is only powerful once you have named the challenge and empathized with them.”

Driving meaningful change

During the conference, Champions also had the opportunity to work in smaller groups and brainstorm ideas and strategies for fostering a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

“We want to thank Shola Kaye, our Champions and all presenters and participants for helping to make this year’s Champions Conference a resounding success,” said Devereux Senior Vice President of People Operations Mike Ernst, SHRM-SCP, who also leads the organization’s National Culture and Engagement Committee. “At Devereux, we are committed to cultivating a culture of respect, compassion and belonging. This conference provided an opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of how we can drive meaningful, sustainable change. When we lead and interact with empathy, we create an environment where everyone feels seen, heard and valued for their unique perspectives and lived experiences. This empowers us to break down barriers and foster a deeper sense of community and understanding.”

Champions share their feedback...

Devereux’s Champions said they felt inspired and motivated by the conference, ready to uplift the diverse voices of those around them and help create an environment that fosters growth for all.

“The conference brought together an amazing group of professionals, all passionate about Servant Leadership and DEIB. The keynote speaker, Shola Kaye, was exceptional. Her insights were thought-provoking and actionable. I also enjoyed learning from my fellow Champions during the small group sessions. The collaboration and engagement were invigorating as we refresh our efforts to promote Servant Leadership and DEIB.”
Devereux Texas Director of Quality Management and SL Champion Heather Krueger

“The conference was very informative – it made me feel safe and happy to work for an organization that prioritizes DEIB. My favorite part was the keynote speaker. I loved how she outlined DEIB and provided examples of how to respond to uncomfortable conversations in an empathetic way.”
Devereux New Jersey Executive Assistant and DEIB Champion Kimberly Davis

“The experience was amazing. I learned that empathy is key to creating a healthy work environment and making meaningful and lasting connections with colleagues and the individuals we serve. To have the opportunity to participate in small group sessions and discuss ideas and projects was exciting.”
Devereux California Program Manager and SL Champion Antonela Milito

“The mindfulness practices, emphasis on self-care and deep dive into empathy were all highlights. The conference provided a great way to connect with other Champions, learn from each other and witness the passion that inspires each of us.”
Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services Outpatient Clinical Supervisor and DEIB Champion Charlley Labik

A big “thank you” to Netsmart!

Devereux would like to thank healthcare technology company Netsmart for its generous sponsorship of our 2024 Servant Leadership and DEIB Champions Conference and its steadfast support of initiatives that promote the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s commitment to Servant Leadership and DEIB.


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