Supporting Engineering Students, Clearing the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Providing Guest Speakers, and Hosting a Webinar Focused on Sleep Disorders in Women Highlight our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in 2022
Established in 2021, the EnsoData DEI committee impacts many aspects of the company culture. As the primary driver of our volunteer activities and guest speakers, the DEI committee serves as an integral team within the EnsoData organization.
Over the past two quarters, and throughout 2022, the DEI team has led a handful of projects, highlighted by our volunteer work to clean up the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and our effort to support the PEOPLE Program. Continue reading for more on both of those initiatives and additional efforts from our DEI team in our 2022 recap.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail Clean-Up
The EnsoData team is headquartered in Madison, WI. As such, many of our Team Summits occur in Wisconsin, the home to the iconic Ice Age National Scenic Trail. The nearly 1,200 mile trail spans across the state, with a portion of the trail just outside of Madison. Naturally, with a team full of outdoor enthusiasts, participating in a trail clean-up project sounded exciting.
And it was! The team met on a chilly morning during our 2022 Fall Team Summit event. Led by a handful of local volunteers and armed with “loppers” and hand saws, the team marched down the trail to a section overgrown with common buckthorn. The buckthorn invades upon the tall, beautiful oak trees, and steals the sunlight from small, budding oaks.
Our team quickly went to work in pairs, lopping, and then spraying the buckthorn with a sealant to keep it from regrowing. The chill in the air was quickly gone as some of the thicker buckthorn required sawing. Piles of the invasive buckthorn soon littered the area, and by the time our team rolled out of there for some celebratory pizza, we’d cleared a couple hundred meters of trail up the hill and out of sight over the ridge.
Multiple Guest Speakers Shared Insights with our Team
Organized by our Chief of Staff and DEI Internal Education chair Xica Wiltgen, our guest speaking opportunities are always engaging events. Several speakers from 2022 deserve a little extra recognition, for groups looking for similar opportunities at their organizations.
Lori Mitchell Graces our Company with her Wisdom
In May, Lori Mitchell, the Founder & CEO of Black Women in Technology, spoke about what EnsoData can do to positively impact the tech community. Her engaging, thought-provoking discussion was excellent, as we covered how we can activate the tech & health community towards equity, inclusive growth, and citizenship.
After her presentation, she created and moderated a dialogue around equitable opportunities for all people, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or any other personal beliefs or traits. The conversation was impactful for our team. Vulnerabilities were shared. Connections were deepened. And Mitchell did an excellent job navigating this with our team. We’d be remiss if we didn’t give Lori one last thank you in this post.
Amy Hillman, PhD Provides Energy and Insight
In August, Xica booked another excellent guest speaker in Amy Hillman, PhD. A self-described strategy geek, governance expert, and storyteller, Hillman shared insights on improving diversity within different types of organizations. When it comes to diversity efforts, Hillman believes in starting at the top of every organization.
“Getting diversity on your board of directors, executive team, and workforce overall is key to improving organizational performance,” she said.
During her conversation, we discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with recruiting, retaining, and advancing diverse populations, specifically those at the C-suite level.
Aayaan Jamwal Speaks on Transgender Awareness
The final guest lecturer of 2022, Aayaan Jamwal, spoke to our team at the end of November about the challenges faced by transgender individuals. Aayaan’s presentation style was very open, inviting, and thought-provoking. For them, finding and channeling your true self, your most authentic self, is the key to achieving your goals without sacrificing yourself.
Per Aayaan, the goal of their speaking engagements is “to create conditions for clients to access breakthroughs in their inner, emotional and relational worlds.”
It certainly was effective with our group, as we ran out of time for questions from the audience. Thankfully, Aayaan was gracious enough to stay a little long and help wrap up the conversations. All of our guest speakers were excellent this year, and again, thank you to each of them for participating and sharing their wisdom with our team.
Women in Sleep Webinar
Another speaking opportunity that was spearheaded by the DEI committee, specifically DEI Chair Steven Miller, was the Sleep Disorders and Women webinar held in December. The educational webinar was hosted by EnsoData’s Clinical Director, Andrea Ramberg, MS, RPSGT, CCSH. Andrea was joined by panelists Andrea Matsumura MD, MS, FACP and Sarah Moe, RPSGT, and the three of them explored the following learning objectives:
- Identifying the unique sleep needs of women
- Addressing the different hormone/physical changes a woman goes through and how it could alter their sleep
- Learning how to educate women on how these hormonal and physical changes can alter sleep and when to seek medical attention
- Discovering information that will help us educate both those in the medical field and the community on the importance of sleep for women
- Uncovering whether treatment options and success rates differ for women compared to men
Hosting a DEI-focused webinar was a primary goal for the committee, and while it took the entire year to pull it off, it was one of the most well-attended webinars of the year, and was certainly something for the committee to be proud of in 2022.
Volunteering with the UW PEOPLE Program
Finally, let’s highlight the work done by DEI Community Engagement Chair, Connor Sheedy, with the 2022 PEOPLE Program. In late July, our team led a two-day workshop for 21 students in the Engineering and Computer Science program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Designed for low-income and potential first generation college students, the PEOPLE Program empowers students from populations that have traditionally been overlooked and underserved for college admissions. Our two-day course was coordinated and spearheaded by Software Engineer and DEI committee member, Connor Sheedy, with an emphasis on providing the following learning experiences for the students:
- Explore how engineering and science can lead to starting a business
- Discover how sleep data is collected and analyzed
- Demonstrate how we can use software and coding to solve problems
- Interact with a team to complete a common goal
Learn more about the People Program event in this longer blog.
With that, we’re wrapping it up for 2022, and looking forward to our 2023 activities. Read more about the efforts of EnsoData’s DEI Committee on our blog:
- EnsoData’s DEI Commitment
- The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission
- Community Enrichment DEI Event: Habitat for Humanity
- Establishing EnsoData’s DEI Committee
Check back regularly to see our next DEI update!