Minority Mentoring Circle helps foster diverse leadership from within

UAB Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion introduced the Minority Mentoring Circle (MMC) program in 2022 to develop diverse talent from within and address future workforce challenges. The 2023 cohort of 31 participants recently was selected from among 103 applicants representing the many backgrounds and aspirations of UAB Medicine employees.

The MMC nurtures those who already are succeeding in their current roles, with the goals of raising visibility of diverse leadership and providing a clear pathway to advancement. Below is a snapshot of the emerging leaders in the 2023 cohort:

  • The time in their current roles at UAB ranges from three months to 19 years, with an average of about three years.
  • They represent 24 service areas at UAB.
  • Includes multiple military veterans
  • Includes employees from the disabled community
  • Includes employees from the LGBTQ+ community
  • Includes Black, white, Asian American, and Hispanic employees

“From both a business and ethical perspective, we are interested in creating a new path for potential leaders who may have had a harder time gaining access to the kind of career advancement knowledge and networking they will need to succeed,” said UAB Medicine Chief Diversity Officer André Lessears. “This program also builds a sense of commitment from our already diverse workforce; it signifies to them that they do belong here for the long term.”

Program overview

The MMC is a six-month program based on a group mentoring model that includes peer learning, self-discovery, seminars, and one-on-one time with UAB Medicine leaders. The application process is competitive and can be started by the applicant or through manager referral. The program’s 2023 cohort began in August.

Some of the topics explored include:

  • Personal brand
  • Innovation
  • Change management
  • Building trust
  • Strategic thinking
  • Continuous improvement
  • Supporting UAB Medicine strategy

Participants take assessments focused on emotional intelligence, leadership styles, and communication tendencies to become more self-aware about personal strengths and challenges. They also receive third-party executive coaching.

Along with peer-to-peer interaction and expert-led seminars, participants shadow UAB Medicine leaders, including senior vice presidents and chief medical officers, inventory and hospital operations leaders, and others. They also learn to tailor their résumés and interview responses for new positions through one-on-one coaching from UAB Human Resources team members.

This year, a new in-person session titled Conflict Communication Styles will be led by Lessears to teach effective strategies for conflict resolution – a critical leadership skill that he said is often in short supply.

Lessears sees the MMC program as a way for UAB Medicine to benefit from diversity of thought and demographic representation.

“This program shows the way forward for deserving talent who might go elsewhere or remain underutilized,” he said. “We know from the success of last year’s cohort that meaningful relationships with peers and leaders and leadership-specific knowledge are all it takes for them to start progressing toward their goals and enriching UAB Medicine.”

Listed alphabetically by last name, the 2023 MMC cohort includes:

  • Angela Ballenger, MSA CRNA manager
  • Laquata Boswell, respiratory therapy educator
  • Courtney Brown, nursing professional development specialist
  • NaTarsha Brown, director of CV Imaging
  • Rosilem Colvin, assistant nurse manager
  • Kelsey Corder, patient access lead
  • Tamara Cullen, lab services supervisor
  • Ronnie Davis, technical supervisor
  • Katrina Edmond, program manager
  • Jesus Flores, respiratory therapist
  • Jose Flores, program director I
  • Misty Gaddis, coordinator of pharmacy residency programs
  • Gabrielle Gaston, RN/nursing professional development specialist
  • Kasey Gault, RN supervisor
  • Leslie George, program coordinator II
  • Joseph Harper-Hooper, director of Perioperative Services
  • Whitney Holland, lead nurse practitioner/lung transplant coordinator
  • Katrese King, RN team lead
  • Miesha McGlotham, lead renal transplant coordinator
  • Tammy Means, telehealth educator
  • Kelsey Mitchell, clinical informaticist II
  • Leah Moore, manager of HR analytics & systems
  • Monica Perkins, lead post-kidney transplant coordinator
  • Ingrid Poindexter, hospital laboratories quality manager
  • Maria Prickett, quality system analyst
  • Audra Ryans, lead sterile supply technician
  • Umer Sheikh, certified pharmacy technician
  • Keiara Smiley, admissions assistant
  • April Speight, business officer II
  • Moneka Thompson, spiritual care manager
  • Jasmyne Washington, lead certified medical assistant

To learn more about the Minority Mentoring Circle program, click here to email the UAB Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

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