Although some people may be uncomfortable talking about race, sex, sexual orientation and other differences, Erickajoy Daniels steps right in and speaks up.
“Diversity can be used as an enabler to advance an organization’s strategy forward and should be a key component of any strategic plan,” said Daniels, senior vice president of diversity and inclusion at Aurora Healthcare. “I see and drive myself to be a bridge builder. I like to connect people and ideas in innovative ways. I am energized by meeting new people and finding ways to leverage synergies in relationships to make an impact.”
Business leaders not only drive diversity in their organizations, but also where they lieve, Daniels said. “At Aurora, we have built a team that embeds diversity in our everyday work,” she said.
Aurora is the largest private employer in Wisconsin. Daniels said its diversity efforts reach far beyond the walls of its clinics and hospitals.
“We can use our status as a way to help transform the community,” she said. “We have a responsibility to share what we have learned and how we have found success with others.”
To inform employees of diversity-related topics, Aurora uses educational experiences and cultural training topics, Daniels said.
“We definitely have a blended-model approach. Our employees just don’t sit in a class. They get to see the experiences of different populations,” she said.
Daniels played a leading role in getting Aurora to sign the American Hospital Association’s Health Equity Pledge, which encourages U.S. hospitals and health systems to commit to working to ensure all patients receive high-quality, equitable and safe care no matter their race, ethnicity or sex. After the pledge was signed, Aurora was able to identify and improve the length of stays for male patients and black patients and improve a service disparity that affected access to healthcare records for Spanish speakers.
Before joining Aurora in 2015, Daniels worked at the Brady Corporation in Milwaukee, where she was responsible for organizational development and talent management.
Beyond her role at Aurora, Daniels has worked on diversity-related matters issues by helping to found ONE MKE.
In her work at ONE MKE, Daniels looks “to transform the mindset to embrace diversity as more than just an initiative for committee, but a way of life in order to maximize the potential of our city and companies’ bottom line,” said Oby Nwabuzor, an ambassador to ONE MKE and resource development/special projects coordinator for the YMCA of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.