Susan Salka’s diverse family has given her a different perspective on the importance of DE&I. Of her eight children, five are adopted; three of them are Black and now in their mid-20s. Having Black sons has opened her eyes to the differences in society.
She applies that perspective to her role as CEO of AMN Healthcare Services, focusing its DE&I efforts on three areas: workplace, workforce and marketplace.
When it comes to workplace, the question is, “How do we make sure that we have not only a diverse workforce internally but also make sure there is equity, equality and opportunities?” Salka says.
In 2020, the company moved the needle at the leadership level to 21% of its leaders being people of color, up from 18%. AMN also pushes for diversity at the board level. Fifty percent of its directors are female; that number will go up to 56% after this year’s annual meeting.
In terms of workforce, Salka ensures AMN’s culture reflects its team members’ diversity and people feel included. One example: It recently increased its floating holidays to a total of six to make sure team members could take holidays that are meaningful to them.
And in the marketplace, AMN launched a diverse business pledge to help 100 minority-owned businesses get their minority-owned business certifications.
“What I’m most proud of is every team member at AMN has been a part of DE&I efforts,” she says, finding DE&I opportunities for the company at the grass-roots level.
Salka also notes 2020 made clear what still needs to be done in terms of DE&I.
“It is a very sensitive subject, sometimes you don’t know the right thing to say,” she says. “By having a culture that wants to be better and wants to learn and educate ourselves and be willing to have those hard conversations, that’s how you make progress.”
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