‘Where The Magic Happens’ — How Doximity’s ERGs Put Employees at The Helm of Inclusion Efforts

Inclusion Strategy Program Manager Dr. Jessica Tsadwa describes what makes the company’s ERGs unique and how these groups have impacted employees’ lives, including her own.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Feb. 20, 2024
‘Where The Magic Happens’ — How Doximity’s ERGs Put Employees at The Helm of Inclusion Efforts
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When thinking of employee resource groups, does the term “high-stakes” come to mind?

It does for Inclusion Strategy Program Manager Dr. Jessica Tsadwa. While ERGs aren’t typically responsible for driving product development or hitting mission-critical goals, they deal with a matter she considers more complex: the nature of identity and belonging. 

“People are advocating for who they are, not just what they do,” Tsadwa explained. 

To help team members safeguard their identities, she spearheads Doximity’s ERG efforts, ensuring all team members have space to feel understood and connected with others, which is a need that she personally relates to.  

“As a woman of color, the work of our ERGs is very personal for me,” she said. “Despite the access to others via social media, it’s easy to feel isolated or alone when you hold historically-marginalized identities.”

Through her work, Tsadwa finds a community for herself while empowering others to take the initiative in cultivating inclusion. Whether they decide to become ERG leaders or participate in ERG-hosted events, team members play a direct role in building a more supportive workplace.  

“Intentional space for diversity to be appreciated breeds more conversations about equity and a greater sense of inclusion,” Tsadwa said. 

But Tsadwa believes it’s not enough to simply establish ERGs; they must also be properly maintained to elicit as much influence as possible. That’s why she strives to ensure these groups succeed by investing in leadership, financial support, program planning and more. 

“My goal is to help all of our ERGs get to a place where all members feel like these groups meaningfully contribute to their experience as a Doximity employee,” Tsadwa said. 

Below, Tsadwa shares more about Doximity’s ERGs and their impact, what makes them stand out from other company-led committees and how these groups have influenced her own life. 

 

WHAT DOXIMITY DOES

Doximity offers a professional network for physicians across the United States. The company’s cloud-based platform enables medical professionals to collaborate with their colleagues, securely coordinate patient care, conduct virtual patient visits and more. 

 

What are the goals of Doximity’s ERGs?

Dr. Jessica Tsadwa
Inclusion Strategy Program Manager

We have three ERGs: Women@Dox, BIPOC@Dox and LGBTQ+@Dox. Our ERGs are company-sponsored and recognized workplace groups that are voluntarily led by employees. We believe these groups are vital to maintaining a sense of community and belonging across our organization. The health equity and inclusion strategy team partners closely with Doximity ERGs to provide strategic guidance, operational support and community advocacy. The mission and goals vary slightly for each group, but overall, they each work to affirm, support and empower employees with shared identities.

 

What makes these ERGs and their work different from other company groups?

What makes ERG work different from other committees is the deeply personal nature of identity and belonging that’s tied to these communities. This understandably creates a sense of urgency and a desire to fix organizational challenges that the group likely doesn’t have direct control over. This is where developing an ERG program that fosters professional development, organizational trust and advocacy pathways becomes incredibly important. 

Managing that sense of urgency to find the right balance between community-building and advocacy work can be very difficult, and each group has an executive sponsor to support this effort. While difficult, this is also where the magic happens. It can be incredibly affirming and validating to be in a space with people who understand your experience and allow you to be your most authentic self at work. Being in a meeting with folks who just “get it” without needing explanation or evidence can do wonders for morale and a sense of belonging.

 

NOT YOUR AVERAGE MEETING

According to Tsadwa, each ERG is empowered to run board meetings on their own terms. While a designated spokesperson typically guides the agenda during each meeting, board members are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions and offer updates about ongoing projects or programs. For Tsadwa, the most important element of these meetings is the “warm, collegial atmosphere” that they foster. “The need for performing professionalism, which we all do to some extent at work, falls away,” she said. “You can sense that people are happy to be in the space and excited about what the ERG is doing.” 

 

What’s unique about how Doximity’s ERGs are structured?

I want to highlight the two aspects of our ERG structure that sets us apart: a roadmap for establishing an ERG and a compensation plan. We developed a four-phase roadmap to help our ERGs go from the early stages of establishing themselves to thriving and influencing the organization. This roadmap has helped manage expectations for our ERGs and focus their attention on tasks that align with their operational readiness. This is a new approach for us, but I’m confident it will lead to even better retention of our board members and increased satisfaction for employees. It’s also a helpful accountability tool for me as the program manager. 

It’s my responsibility to help the ERGs move through the roadmap by coaching and connecting them to appropriate resources. One resource we provide is a compensation plan to support the work of each ERG. The plan includes a budget, board member stipends, professional development opportunities and executive sponsorship. Compensating the employees leading these spaces acknowledges their valuable contributions and helps set them up for success by providing tangible resources they can pour into their communities.

 

Doximity women employees posing for a group photo at industry event
Doximity

 

What’s the inspiration behind some recent ERG-led initiatives, and what do these events mean to you personally? 

At Doximity, our ERGs have boards made up of employees who take on leadership roles for a one-year term. We recently hosted our first ERG board member onboarding event. This event was rooted in our desire to foster more intentional and intersectional work in our ERG communities. As the program manager, my role was to plan and host the event. More importantly, I wanted to have ERG board members leave feeling connected with one another, equipped with the tools to be successful in their roles and inspired to make a meaningful impact on the employee experience. Creating an ERG is one thing, but really investing in leadership development, program-planning best practices, membership engagement techniques, budget management and organizational skills can help ERG leaders and their community members thrive. 

Last year, LGBTQ+@Dox hosted a speaker for Pride Month, which was a wonderful example of the intersectional, thoughtful work I hope to see from our ERGs. They brought in a nurse practitioner to talk about gender-affirming and inclusive healthcare. The discussion helped educate employees about the difficulties of finding this type of care, provided resources that could benefit both patients and providers and validated the experiences many of our LGBTQIA employees face in their personal lives. What was so spectacular about the event was that it created a greater sense of community and belonging while simultaneously providing a development opportunity for employees across the company.

 

How does the work Doximity’s ERGs put forth reflect the company’s core values? 

Doximity’s core values are “Get Stuff Done,” “Stretch Goals,” “Straight Talk” and “Bring the Real You.” ERGs fit into all of these values in really tangible ways. ERG leaders go the extra mile to engage in projects and programs outside their day-to-day roles with a “Get Stuff Done” attitude. They share the gift of bringing their identities to work, and they challenge Doximity to stretch for innovation in the areas of equity and inclusion. ERG leaders do this by offering straight talk about their experiences and the needs of their members.

We benefit greatly from the added value our ERGs bring to the company. Intentional space for diversity to be appreciated breeds more conversations about equity and a greater sense of inclusion. There’s no doubt that the work happening in ERG spaces, even the work of relationship-building, helps Doximity live out its core values.

There’s no doubt that the work happening in ERG spaces, even the work of relationship-building, helps Doximity live out its core values.”

 

How do you bring the work of Doximity’s ERGs to your personal life?

There are times when global, national or local news will have me searching for a way to connect or be in community with others. Working with ERGs is a constant reminder of the importance of building my own network and community, both personally and professionally. That network has helped me tremendously through difficult times, but it’s also a joyful place for me. 

I’m a Black woman with a Ph.D. who has regularly had to fight for my accomplishments to be recognized and celebrated. In my personal life, I’m surrounded by people who celebrate with me, champion my work, make me feel seen and, most importantly, laugh with me. Everyone deserves to have spaces like that in and outside of work.

 

 

Reponses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Doximity.

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