It’s a wonderful thing to go to work feeling included every day, yet unfortunately not every workplace offers that. Holly Blunkall, Traveling Nutrition and Food Service Director knows this too well after having worked in the hotel industry in the late 90’s.
At the time, most general managers in hotels were older white males who had been with the companies for a long time, so people didn’t take the 21-year-old female Assistant General Manager seriously. Holly faced many assumptions by people who didn’t think she could run a hotel. “They thought that I was too young and that this was a ‘man’s field of work’ to be able to be successful in this position,” she says.
It wasn’t until Holly demonstrated her knowledge and abilities that her coworkers let go of those preconceived notions and that they started to break the status quo and have conversations about promoting change and growth for everyone.
Seven years ago, Holly joined Morrison Healthcare and was pleasantly surprised by the contrast between her new and old jobs. “It’s a night and day difference really. Morrison is structured, consistent and supported much like that hotel chain was, but the difference here is the difference in which we care for people,” she says.
While her old company came a long way to become more open-minded and to move outside its norm, it seemed to Holly that Morrison was already moving at a steady pace to squash the norms that other companies were dealing with, especially with women associates.
“We do still have room to grow and press forward, but I know that with Morrison and Compass Group, it is a focus and a commitment to always be getting better at growing inclusivity and diversity in our sectors.”
Holly is now chair-elect of Compass One Healthcare’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Council (DIAC), which promotes inclusion by empowering, engaging and encouraging teams to create exceptional experiences for our patients, guests and coworkers. Throughout the year, DIAC hosts events and shares best inclusive practices and resources to celebrate diversity in the Compass One community.
There are myriad reasons to foster diversity and inclusion at work: not only is it the right thing to do because it lets team members bring their whole selves to work and feel connected, but it also has many positive impacts such boosting performance rates, reducing turnover, improving retention rates and increasing profitability.
Each of us can take action to foster inclusion. One easy thing we can do is to take the time to meet and talk to someone new and get to know their stories, circumstances and needs. Managers should make sure all team members have a seat at the table and that they are celebrated for who they are and what they bring. “Remembering that your work team is or can be an extension of how you would treat your family members is a good start,” Holly says.
In the future, Holly would like to see DIAC continue working on the education and sharing of how diversity and inclusion benefit us not only individually, but as a whole. She looks forward to refining DIAC’s message to make it fun and interesting as well as creating programs that train associates to become Inclusion Ambassadors, which she believes will propel the diversity and inclusion programs and messages into something even better each year.
Holly is excited to help drive programs and develop resources to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. “It’s keeping me connected, helps me to know that we are always looking at new ways to be the good and be the difference—not only in our work lives, but as human beings and community members,” she says.
“Doing this work on the DIAC helps to continue to fill my heart tank as an extension of the already amazing work we are doing in the hospitals we support.”
Holly Blunkall chose Compass One Healthcare and Morrison because of the opportunities she has to touch the lives of patients and staff. Morrison is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA. If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, be sure to check out team member or management opportunities to join the Morrison family through Compass Group Careers.