The Beacon: Spring 2024

International Women’s MONTH!

March, designated as Women’s History Month, culminates in the global celebration of International Women’s Day, serving as a powerful reminder and celebration of the critical role women have played and continue to play in leading change across the globe. It’s a month that not only reflects on the monumental achievements of women throughout history but also casts a spotlight on the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the unique contributions of women in leadership roles. Recognizing March as a pivotal time for acknowledging women’s leadership is essential because it brings to the forefront the resilience, creativity, and transformative power women exhibit in various sectors, often while navigating systemic barriers and biases. This period of reflection and celebration encourages society to reassess, challenge, and change the narrative around female leadership, advocating for inclusivity and equitable opportunities. It’s a call to action to honor past contributions, support current endeavors, and inspire future generations of women to dream big and break ceilings, ensuring their rightful place at every decision-making table.

We shine a spotlight on six phenomenal women whose interviews reveal the transformative power of lived experiences. Each narrative is a tribute to the undying spirit of mentorship, the rich lessons gleaned from adversity, the delicate art of emotional intelligence, and the distinctive contributions women offer in positions of power. These women’s stories stitch a common thread: a resolute commitment to uplifting and valuing every voice. With careers marked by empathy, collaboration, resilience, and an uncanny ability to multitask, they have shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations. Their journeys, carved out with the guidance of mentors and role models, exemplify the virtue of learning, the grace of adaptability, and the humility of servant leadership. As they embrace imperfections and advocate for women’s expanded access to leadership roles, these six leaders underscore that a woman’s touch in governance is not just beneficial but essential for fostering inclusive, empathetic, and effective leadership.

Thank you Malembe Sandrine Ebama, DrPH, Lisa Hayes, MBA, Emily Pelton, MPA, Tonya Duhart Miller, MPA, Lara E. Pereira, Ph.D., and Dominique Richardson, MPH for sharing your stories.

2024 HR Roadmap

During the first week in January 2024, the HR team spent two days planning and discussing the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for the year and the best way to continue to serve our staff. OKRs have emerged as a valuable tool for the HR team to effectively manage and evaluate goals.They provide a clear framework for setting ambitious–yet achievable–objectives and tracking progress towards them. Please review our OKR Roadmap to see what we are focusing on this year to continue to enhance our service delivery to you.

Our focus is to prioritize the needs of employees and leaders, fostering a culture of respect, empathy, and open communication. We will also continue to focus on building relationships with trust and transparency to help program leaders and teams solve their/your challenges and help programs amplify their/your impact. We will remain advocates of healthy business operations with a people-centered culture.

To optimize our HR strategy for 2024, we prioritize fostering an environment that values individual contributions, empowering employees to feel integral to The Task Force success. These efforts span the entire employee journey, from recruitment to departure, enhancing employee engagement.

Who Runs HR? Meet the Team!

Almeta Collins

Senior Manager, People Operations

Almeta is our employee experience expert. She specializes in enhancing the employee experience by managing and improving all HR touchpoints from recruitment to ongoing support and development to ensure a positive and engaging employee experience. Almeta designs programs and processes to boost employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity, contributing to overall organizational success. Almeta reports to Cici. Direct your questions and inquiries to Almeta regarding:

  • Anything related to BambooHR
  • Making changes and updates to any HRIS (BambooHR, PeopleSoft, Replicon)
  • Onboarding initiatives
  • Process improvement in HR
  • Connection to Central HR in Emory University
  • Serves as TA backup when Shweta is OOO
  • Officially serves as CREW Co-Chair and HR representative for ITGB and CODE
Get To Know Me

Vacation or staycation? Vacation
Night or morning? Night
Passenger or driver? Passenger
Art museum or history museum? History museum
Coffee or tea? Coffee [decaf, please]
City or countryside? Countryside
Work from the office or work from home? Work from home
Camping or glamping? Glamping

Cooking or being cooked for? Being cooked for
Attend a party or host a party? Host a party
Lose sleep or skip a meal? Skip a meal
Messy desk or clean desk? Clean desk
Sneakers or dress shoes? Sneakers
Fiction or non-fiction? Non-fiction
Reality shows or documentaries? Documentaries
Salad or sandwich? Sandwich
Start work late or leave work early? Leave work early

Shweta Pandey

Talent Acquisition Partner

Shweta is our go-to person for all things hiring and recruiting. She’s passionate about finding the best talent and making sure our staff and programs are always growing and improving. Shweta reports to Almeta. Direct your questions and inquiries to Shweta regarding:

  • Posting jobs and anything related to the recruitment process and initiating/managing the onboarding process for all new hires
  • Finding a temp, intern, volunteer or fellow (non-regular staff) for your program
  • Extending non-regular staff in TFGH (beyond their assignment)
  • Compiling DEIB recruitment data
  • Orientation process 
  • Questions about benefits enrollment
  • Serves as HR representative for Communications Community of Practice [Comms-COP]
Get To Know Me

Vacation or staycation? Vacation
Night or morning? Night
Passenger or driver? Passenger
Art museum or history museum? Art museum
Coffee or tea? Both
City or countryside? Countryside
Work from the office or work from home? Work from home
Camping or glamping? Glamping

Cooking or being cooked for? Being cooked for
Attend a party or host a party? Attend a party
Lose sleep or skip a meal? Skip a meal
Messy desk or clean desk? Clean desk
Sneakers or dress shoes? Dress shoes
Fiction or non-fiction? Both
Reality shows or documentaries? Reality shows
Salad or sandwich? Salad
Start work late or leave work early? I prefer to start my work late. I have a busy morning routine.

Lisa Scott, Senior Manager, People, Performance and Culture
Lisa is our HR guru for employee relations and performance management, learning and development and is all about enhancing leadership development and effectiveness. She’s dedicated to helping our leaders grow and succeed so they can take their teams and work to even greater heights. Lisa reports to Cici. Direct your questions and inquiries to Lisa regarding:

  • Employee relations 
  • Performance Management
  • Training, Learning, and Development
  • DEIB initiatives
  • Leave of Absence (FMLA)
  • Accommodations Services
  • Leading the Supervisor-COP group

Cici Roberts, Sr. HR Director
Cici is focused on creating a workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and engaged. She serves as the bridge between employees and the organization, skillfully navigating the complexity of the dynamic landscape of nonprofit organization. Cici collaborates with program leadership and the executive team to develop and implement strategic HR initiatives, and implements diversity and inclusion practices to attract and retain a diverse workforce. Cici reports to Ellen Wild, COO. Direct your questions and inquiries to Cici regarding:

  • Employee Engagement initiatives and strategies
  • Workforce planning, Employer of Records inquiries
  • Duty of Care 
  • DEIB initiatives and suggestions
  • Compensation, promotions, reclassification questions and inquiries
  • Kronos/ETAS timesheet management and approval & Replicon questions
  • Payroll and taxation questions
  • Out-of-state employment

Brandy Curry, People and Culture Specialist
Brandy is the newest HR team member, and she is currently learning the ropes of The Task Force and Central Emory HR. Once she gets her feet on the ground, she will be the POC for Leave of Absence, training and development, and so much more! Brandy reports to Lisa. Help us welcome Brandy to the team!

So, there you have it! These are the incredible individuals who make up our HR team.

Talent Acquisition

The Task Force Guide to Inclusive Recruitment was developed in February to facilitate collaboration between the Hiring Manager (HM) and the Task Force HR team to ensure an inclusive, effective, consistent, and fair recruitment process. By following these helpful guidelines and tips, hiring managers are better equipped to ensure successful collaboration and an excellent candidate experience.

2024 TFGH General Training Topics

  • Crucial Conversations
  • Communicating w/ Impact
  • Coaching: Move People Forward
  • Situational Leadership
  • Authentic Inclusive Leadership
  • Communication for Inclusion
  • DEI – Managing for Equity II
  • DEI – Diversity: Inclusion in the Modern Workplace
  • DEI – Inclusive Leadership
  • DEI – Microaggressions
  • DEI – Unconscious Bias: The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety
  • DEI – Promoting Psychological Safety at Work
  • DEI – An Introduction to Psychological Safety
  • DEI – Creating Psychological Safety in 1:1 meetings
  • DEI – Psychological Safety

The training schedule will be published in the next newsletter.

Kudos and Professional Accomplishments

Given the inspiring and overwhelming response to our Candy Grams initiative, we’ve realized just how powerful expressions of gratitude and appreciation can be. Your enthusiasm and excitement have demonstrated the strength of our team and the camaraderie that holds us together.

Continuing this spirit, we’re excited to announce that we will be dedicating space in this newsletter for ongoing appreciation and announcements of professional accomplishments. This section will serve as a constant reminder of the gratitude we share, the celebrations of our accomplishments, and the tangible support we offer each other.

Whether it’s a colleague who went beyond their role to support you, a team that achieved remarkable success, or a manager whose guidance was invaluable, we want to hear from you!

Email your notes of appreciation and professional updates to beacon@taskforce.org to have them included in the next edition of The Beacon. These public kudos have a unique way of boosting morale, fostering a sense of belonging, and enhancing our collective team spirit. Please limit your messages to 125 words, which gives you enough space to express your appreciation meaningfully while also keeping our newsletter concise.

Remember, it’s the small gestures that sometimes mean the most. Thank you for continuing to spread positivity, encouragement, and appreciation.

ELEVATE Mentorship Program

On Wednesday, March 27, the TFGH Mentorship workgroup launched its 3rd Mentorship Cohort with great enthusiasm and commitment. The event was skillfully managed with Rosemary Clarke-Pearson serving as the Mistress of Ceremony and was further enhanced by Ally Snyder’s insightful Program Overview.

The attendees viewed an engaging video presentation showcasing the Mentors and Mentees of the 2024 Cohort. This was followed by Guest Speaker, Gillian Landgraff, a Senior Training Consultant at Emory University, who shared invaluable perspectives about the importance of mentorship and the creation of vision boards.

The event reached a high note with an interactive hybrid vision board activity, ably facilitated by Lisa Scott and Sarah Shaw. Through this initiative, the participants had the opportunity to visualize their goals for an inspired journey ahead in the TFGH Mentorship program.

TFGH Mentorship Workgroup Members

  • Rosemary Clarke-Pearson
  • Sarah Shaw
  • Ally Snyder
  • Sumon Ray
  • Cici Roberts
  • Lisa Scott
  • Brandy Curry

SCALE

The Task Force hosted a successful visit from Agnes Scott College’s SCALE program students on March 5-7. Ten talented students from diverse backgrounds spent three days immersed in our organization. They met with Patrick O’Carroll and our executive leadership team, observed our program leaders in action, joined engaging listening sessions about their career paths, and enjoyed a fun meet-and-greet mixer! This visit exposed the second-year students to the global health space and fostered a strong connection between our organization and Agnes Scott. 

Thank you to each leader who participated this year!

Here’s How the Agnes Scott SCALE visit was a success:

  • Students witnessed the day-to-day operations of a major global health organization to gain real-world exposure!
  • Students received insights from experienced leaders and heard about their career paths, offering them valuable mentorship.
  • The mixer facilitated connections with professionals in the field, which was a wonderful and impactful networking opportunity.
  • Presenters had the chance to share their knowledge and passion for global health, allowing them to share expertise.
  • The visit strengthened the partnership with Agnes Scott College and allowed our leaders to engage with the community.
  • Interactions with bright, motivated students reinvigorated the team, resulting in an energizing exchange between the students and our leaders on every level of the organization.

SCALE 2025 Loading…Click here to add your name to the volunteer roster.

Dear Ellen

Dear Ellen,

I recently attended your open hours on the 4th floor and you briefly talked about the upcoming big project, something about developing an organizational effectiveness plan. It piqued my interest but I had to go to another meeting. Tell us more about it.  

P.S. Also, did I hear you say you are hiring a Deputy COO?  

Sincerely, 

The World’s Biggest Fan of Improved Efficiency

Dear The World’s Biggest Fan of Improved Efficiency,

I am glad you were able to join us for the open hours.  Yes, I am very excited to start the development of a Strategic Operations Plan that will work across the organization to assess our current practices and processes, find gaps and opportunities for improvement, and includes a plan to move forward. 

The Strategic Ops Plan is a Task Force wide initiative exploring:

  • How we are currently operating, 
  • What some of our challenges (opportunities for improving how we work) are
  • How our work is changing.   
  • How we can position ourselves for this future state of work.

We are engaging in this activity because the post-COVID global health environment is changing. We are being asked to work differently with our partners, how we operate in countries is being questioned and how we set up our partnerships is being scrutinized to ensure we are being more sensitive to the power dynamics of our partnerships. Overall there is less money in the global health space and more competition.  

We are also changing how we work internally. We are working across programs more, coming out of our silos. For example, our SONAR program is a collaboration between several of our programs. I believe this trend will and should increase. Yet our operational foundation is based on single program work. 

This cross program work will increase. To be more competitive, we need to reach across programs to pool our competencies, skills, expertise and experiences.  

So, to prepare for the future state, we need to build our operations up to support this cross-organization collaboration, develop tighter partnerships with countries and their staff and look at how we can operate more efficiently.

Following on the heels of the Strategic Operations Plan, we will develop an Organization Effectiveness Plan that will have goals, objectives, activities and metrics to get us positioned for this future state.    

And lastly, you are correct in hearing that I am hiring a Deputy Chief Operating Officer. We are currently in the panel phase of the interviews. I am excited to have an additional partner to support our staff.

CREW Update

Employee Appreciation Day

We hope that everyone felt valued and appreciated during our recent Employee Appreciation event on March 12, and that you all enjoyed the chair massages provided. Your wellness and happiness are paramount to us, and this was a small gesture to show our immense gratitude for your hard work and dedication.

Monthly Breakfast

The CREW-organized monthly staff breakfasts continue to be a wonderful arena for sharing breakfast and conversation with our colleagues. This has become a CREW-organized event in 2024 and we will continue to create a monthly breakfast so everyone can enjoy.  If anyone has suggestions for other catering vendors besides Panera Bread …we are all ears!

Candy Grams

On Thursday, March 21, the HR team was delighted to distribute 279 thank you cards along with eight pounds of candy, spreading joy and appreciation far and wide. We were thrilled to see the engagement and participation in the Candygram initiative. The enthusiasm was so high that we ran out of cards and candy, which is a testament to the wonderful spirit of camaraderie and appreciation among our staff. 

Thank you once again to everyone for making this such a successful and heartwarming initiative. Your participation truly made a difference, and we look forward to fostering an environment where appreciation and recognition are part of our everyday culture.

CODE Update

DEIB Lending Library

We are thrilled to announce that the TFGH DEIB Lending Library is now officially open! Located in Collaboration Room #481 near ITI’s offices on the 4th floor, the library offers a wide range of books focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). For those interested in exploring the variety of available titles, including insights into their availability and Goodreads links, you can utilize the Smartsheet Dashboard designed for your convenience.

To borrow a book, simply visit the library in person. Upon your arrival, you’ll find a QR code. Scanning this code will lead you to a form, which you fill out to check out your selected book. This same procedure applies when returning books, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for all. Please note that books are lent out on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be sure to check out your favorites while they’re available.

Affinity Groups

Furthermore, TFGH is in the process of creating Affinity Groups through CODE (Committee on Diversity and Equity). These groups aim to provide spaces for staff members to connect and engage with others at TFGH who share similar identity traits and interests. More information will be made available soon, so stay tuned if you’re interested in participating.

Compassionate Space

CODE and the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics (FACE) co-hosted the inaugural Compassionate Space sessions on March 26. A virtual session, designed as an open discussion where attendees were invited to share anything on their hearts and minds, was attended by more than 30 Task Force staff members. Participants shared a variety of experiences and emotions in a safe space where they could receive support, and if desired, advice from colleagues. The virtual session was followed by an in-person gathering, where eight staff members participated in a guided mediation and opportunity to reflect together. Attendees of either session are invited to fill out the Compassionate Space Feedback Form  to help CODE and FACE plan Compassionate Space offerings for future months.

Juneteenth

Lastly, as part of our commitment to celebrating diversity and fostering an inclusive environment, CODE, in partnership with CREW, has begun preparations for this year’s Juneteenth celebration. If you wish to be a part of the organizing team or contribute to the celebration in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Ana Bakhtiari. This event represents a wonderful opportunity for the TFGH community to come together and honor a significant moment in history.

Feedback and Suggestions

We hold the views and insights of our colleagues in the highest regard. Comments, suggestions, and feedback play a crucial role in refining our services and operations, ensuring we meet your needs and expectations effectively. Your voice is vital in guiding our continuous improvement and innovation.

Email your feedback, comments, suggestions, and quips to beacon@taskforce.org. We are committed to reviewing every piece of feedback we receive and will strive to incorporate your valuable insights into our strategies and functions whenever possible.

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