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Growing Stronger Together: Embracing Diversity

Fresenius Medical Care is committed to learning about and responding to the diversity of the human experience.

Creating a nurturing environment in which everyone can thrive and fulfill their potential means welcoming people of every race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or spirituality, nationality, age, and socioeconomic status.

“At its core, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are about belonging. We are on a multiyear journey to build an environment in which people feel safe and confident, welcomed, cherished and celebrated,” explains Mignon Early, who in 2021 became Fresenius Medical Care’s first vice president of DE&I. Trained as a dialysis nurse, Early joined Fresenius Medical Care as a regional vice president, later advancing to general manager, eventually switching back to her clinical roots as vice president of clinical quality. Faced with a rising tide of major challenges in 2020, from the pandemic to racially motivated killings in the U.S., she felt the calling to address them head-on.

Early led the initial effort to examine issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion before taking on the new position of vice president in charge of company-wide DE&I. “Having been a nurse, an operator, and a corporate leader, I have personally experienced the many ways people at Fresenius Medical Care provide support to each other and to our patients, who often come from minority and underrepresented groups,” Early explains. “We can and we are building on that culture.”

“We want to build an inclusive, high-trust culture for our employees and attract, retain, and develop a world-class team that reflects the diversity of our patients and staff,” says Early. “Thirdly, we want to position ourselves for success through our commitment to DE&I, and we want to make sure that senior leaders realize their individual potential to make a company-wide impact.“

I realized I had to use my voice as a woman of color and speak up. As an organization, we need to turn inward to create the necessary change that will empower us to make a difference in the lives of fellow employees and patients.

Mignon Early
Vice President DE&I

One initiative is listening to employees, which so far has reached more than 11,000 of her colleagues. Early’s team also hosts regular workshops on the topic of inclusion, delving into topics such as intentional inclusion and cultural competency, and has published a Glossary of Inclusive Terms that will be regularly updated based on employee input. Other initiatives in progress include inviting speakers to promote DE&I education, providing foundational learning for leaders, and focusing on the new company diversity goals.

“We’re just at the beginning of this journey and can always do more, for instance collecting data-driven insights on our talent,” Early says. “A company’s commitment to DE&I can be a very influential factor in retaining diverse talent and encouraging prospective employees to join a company.”

A bottom-up approach to building an inclusive workplace

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have been instrumental in creating a more inclusive resource and spreading the reach of our DE&I programs. “ERGs offer opportunities for professional development, networking, mentorship, and community engagement that members can take advantage of,” says Christine Mulligan, BSN, RN, clinical research project director and co-chair of the LGBTQIA+ and Allies ERG. “ERGs also offer insights into diverse employee populations, helping to shape company policies and improve overall employee engagement and retention.”

Fresenius Medical Care’s ERGs originated in the U.S., and some are now embracing a global footprint by including international participation. One such group is the LGBTQIA+ and Allies ERG, which focuses on being a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. “ERGs are all about creating a welcoming environment for our community — anyone looking to do that can join,” explains Jamie Housley, BSN, RN, director of clinical quality–home therapies and co-chair of the LGBTQIA+ and Allies ERG.

Employees can form ERGs based on mutual interests and inclusion. Our current list of ERGs includes a Women’s ERG, Black Employee Network, Green ERG, and more. This is a bottom-up approach that empowers employees to come together and have a larger voice within the company. 

“ERGs give people a feeling of belonging and purpose beyond their day-to-day jobs,” Mulligan says. “I am proud of our ERG’s accomplishments and our roster of friends and allies. We are doing magnificent work, and it helps to enrich the work lives of our members just by being a part of the group.”

Housley, Mulligan, and Early also have high hopes for the continuation of the ERG mentoring program, which matches mentors with mentees to meet at regular intervals. “It can be a great way to find a mentor and help people unlock their potential,” Early says. “Through mentoring and sponsorship, we can equip employees from underrepresented populations with skills, tools, and internal advocacy to promote them to more senior roles and ultimately assume leadership positions.”

Fresenius Medical Care has dialysis clinics around the world with a variety of career options available for those interested in joining Mignon Early in supporting our global mission of improving the lives of kidney patients worldwide.


Publication date: May 2023 | Article updated: May 2024

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