This past Spring, the Thrive! board asked members to complete a survey to learn more about how our campus community felt about Thrive! programming and culture. We are sincerely grateful for the volume of responses we got. Thank you to the 120+ people who took the time to share your thoughts.
The Thrive! board came together for a half-day retreat over the summer to review the survey feedback and reflect on the insights shared, both positive and constructive. Working as a team, we used this feedback to form our strategic goals for the year to address the needs Thrive! members expressed in their responses. We look forward to using our new insights to help Thrive! better support ND employees, especially women, going forward.
Thrive! strategic goals for 2021-2022
The Thrive! board has established three core priorities for the upcoming year. These priorities were informed by the survey feedback we received.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Increased outreach, engagement, and partnership with other Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) across campus
- Offering events targeted at a more diverse audience
- Curating and sharing resources to meet the diverse needs of our Thrive! community.
- Addressing the concerns of our members brought on by the pandemic
- Acknowledging stress, Zoom fatigue, and isolation
- Creating in-person opportunities to learn, network, and engage with members of the Thrive community while also identifying ways for members to continue to participate virtually.
Using the MentorND platform and expanding mentoring and networking opportunities more broadly
- Re-launching MentorND with more training, support, and resources for members
- Expanding membership to other ERGs on campus
- Using MentorND to further create networking and professional development opportunities at Notre Dame.
The survey responses included both affirmative and constructive feedback. We are committed to continuing the efforts that have been received positively while also taking steps, as outlined below, to address concerns that were raised.
Diversity and Inclusion
Several survey respondents expressed that they did not feel a sense of belonging due to a perceived preference of members being of a certain race, socioeconomic status, or even level on campus. We heard concerns around lack of diversity as it related to pay levels, race, socioeconomic status, leaving some women on campus feeling unwelcome. We also heard feedback that Thrive! was geared only to those seeking career advancement, which is not a priority for all members of our community.
What we’re doing about it
Our response is two-fold. First, we understand and appreciate that Thrive! members are diverse and span across race, class, age, career stage, and even gender. With that in mind, we are working to be more deliberate in offering events and highlighting resources to serve this broad audience.
One of our strategic goals for this year is to expand our partnerships with other ERGs to further promote intersectionality and cultural awareness. Members will also have an opportunity to diversify and expand their networks through the MentorND platform as other ERGs are integrated in the platform.
Visibility of Thrive! Leadership
Many survey responses also noted members felt that the Thrive! leadership, including the board and advisory committee, was not visible or present in Thrive! programming.
What we’re doing about it
Over the last few months, The Thrive! board has been intentional about scheduling events with board leadership availability in mind. Furthermore, under the leadership of Marianne Corr, as its leader, the advisory committee was recently re-engaged with a renewed commitment to attending as many Thrive! events as possible.
Email and event communications
The Thrive! survey asked respondents to reflect on how Thrive! communicated upcoming events and available resources The feedback focused primarily on the email newsletter and noted that events were difficult to see when they were located on the right side of the mailing. Some people also noted that the frequency of emails meant that they sometimes forgot about events. Several survey responses also noted that the Thrive website was sometimes overwhelming and contained too many events.
What we’re doing about it
We redesigned the Thrive! newsletter at the start of this academic year to make events and key announcements more prominent. In addition, event information on the website can now be filtered by Thrive sponsored or co-sponsored events.
- We heard that members appreciate the opportunity to expand their social and professional networks.
- We are working to create more opportunities for in-person events and are exploring ways to offer virtual networking opportunities via Zoom for those who may not be able to attend in person as well.
- The timing of events could be challenging for people but most members preferred events around lunchtime.
- We will continue to schedule in-person events in the early-mid afternoon while also expanding virtual event offerings through Zoom. In cases where an event cannot be offered virtually, we aim to provide recordings of as many of those events as possible
- We learned that members joined and attend Thrive events for a variety of personal and professional reasons including but not limited to:
- establishing work-life balance
- navigating parenthood
- personal branding
- career advancement
The board and all of our committees will keep these things in mind as we continue to plan events and opportunities in the coming year.
The feedback outlined above is not all-inclusive of all of the thoughtful and valuable insights that were shared with us. While some points may have been left out, please know that we took them to heart and continue to review and reflect on all thoughts expressed to us even if they were not explicitly named above.
We sincerely believe that feedback is a gift and we appreciate all of the insightful reflections shared in the survey. If you have any additional feedback for us at any point, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of our board members.
Yours in Notre Dame,
- The Thrive! Board
- Kara Palmer, President
- Amelia Lutz, Vice President
- Angie Appleby Purcell, Secretary
- Kelly Courington, Treasurer
- Elicia Dennis, Communications Officer and Chair
- Kelly Donndelinger, Engagement Committee Chair
- Lindsey McIntyre, Mentoring Committee Chair
- Kara Primmer, Professional Development & Networking Committee Chair