A Grassroots and Global Approach to a Business Resource Group
Meet Bruce, a territory manager for our Front Line Care business, and co-president of Baxter's Black Professional Alliance
Question: Why did you join a business resource group (BRG) at Baxter?
Bruce: I've been involved in BRGs throughout my entire career. I’ve found that this is the best way to understand an organization. It can be easy to become siloed in your professional role, but BRGs offer automatic networks of people you can access across a company.
Q: In your own words, what is the Black Professional Alliance (BPA)'s mission?
Bruce: To create an inclusive environment for our members, and to equip them with the skills they need to be successful and grow in their careers. We also strive to create an impact in the Black community outside of Baxter – exposing young people to the multitude of professional opportunities they can pursue in their lifetime.
Q: Can you expand on the BPA's community-driven work?
Bruce: Through the Baxter International Foundation, BRGs can nominate a nonprofit to receive a two-year grant. The BPA chose to support Technovation, a global nonprofit focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for girls, through which we are engaging employees around the world as mentors. The goal is dual purpose: we expose girls to our industry, encouraging them to pursue STEM careers at a company like Baxter, and we offer BPA members the opportunity to develop coaching and leadership skills.
We also recently organized a fundraiser on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for One Warm Coat. And for Black History Month, we are raising money for the Equal Justice Initiative.
Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to the BPA?
Bruce: One of the first events I was involved with was a simple coffee chat, an informal networking session, and we received such positive feedback. BPA has members like me, who joined Baxter as part of the recent Hillrom acquisition, as well as folks who've worked for Baxter for years. So, our breakout rooms brought together people who didn't know each other, who worked on teams or sold products that others were not familiar with. People felt it was a safe space to be yourself and connect with other people. A lot of big things happen in small rooms, and this was a great reminder of the power in simply getting together to talk with others.
Q: You've been involved in BRGs at other organizations, how does Baxter's BRG community differ?
Bruce: Baxter takes a much more global approach. With the BPA specifically, the nomenclature of a Black affinity group is purposely inclusive of all people of Black or African descent – for example, Afro Latinos or Black people living in the UK – versus prioritizing African Americans or topics specific to the U.S., which I have experienced in some of my previous roles.
Baxter also focuses on external impact, as I mentioned earlier, which is different from the internal focuses I've experienced. This is key to making holistic change.
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