This article was written by Dr. Jessica D. Egbert and Dr. Sandy Pennington, both with Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP), an accredited graduate institution located in Provo that is dedicated to quality education that advances healthcare and enhances quality of life, took the Women’s Leadership Institute’s ElevateHER Challenge three years ago – and hasn’t looked back since.
“We wanted to be early adopters of the ElevateHER Challenge,” said President Rick Nielsen, “Our commitment is a measurable, visible demonstration to our employees, students, and the community of our Core Values – especially integrity, diversity, and leadership.”
RMUoHP selected three areas of the Challenge on which to focus organizational intentions and which were identified as Presidential Strategic Initiatives and for which concentrated efforts have resulted in positive outcomes:
#3 Increase the number of women on your organization’s Board of Directors, extend the influence of
women in your industry, and encourage women to serve on community and corporate boards.
Increase the number of women on your organization’s Board of Directors, extend the influence of women in your industry, and encourage women to serve on community and corporate boards.
The University’s Board of Trustees has increased to 33% women and nominations are called to increase that number (see Next Steps). Additionally, 58% of RMUoHP’s employees are women, including 25% of its current administrative board and 44% of its program directors.
A highlight of RMUoHP’s success with the ElevateHER Challenge is the empowerment and sponsorship of employees to serve on leadership boards. Many of the University’s women employees serve in leadership roles and positions of influence on boards within the community, State, higher education, and professional associations.
Monitor pay by gender and close identified gaps.
A comprehensive analysis of the internal and external landscapes resulted in salary restructuring and implementation of a new process to include equitability and market analysis of starting wages for all potential new employees. The University is commitment to ongoing wage equitability across genders and roles.
Establish a Leadership Development and/or Mentoring Program for women.
RMUoHP has a long-term investment in personnel development, but the ElevateHER Challenge brought leadership development and related skills to the forefront of institutional priorities. In the last year, the University has:
- Offered a comprehensive leadership development series that was attended by 25% of all University employees.
- Provided a Creating a Safe and Inclusive Work Environment training that was attended by 30% of all University employees.
- Provided an Elevating Peak Performance and Building Your Personal Brand training that was attended by 30% of all University employees.
- Developed an Administrative Professionals Forum that offers bi-monthly networking and educational content for all of the University’s administrative professionals.
- Provided a Crucial Conversations training that was attended by 50% of all University employees.
- Sponsored the UVU Administrative Professionals Conference, including supporting the attendance of the University’s administrative professionals.
- Sponsored 24 employees to attend the UWHEN Leadership Conference, including one of whom received the inaugural Special Recognition Award from the organization and facilitated cross-institutional (6) panel discussion on Eliminating Barriers to Effective Mentorship-Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome.
- Sponsored an employee to represent UWHEN and the State of Utah at the American Council on Education Women’s Network’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC.
- Provided support and advocacy for the Women’s Leadership Institute Political Development Series and actively engaged in ElevateHER events.
The University recognizes its ElevateHER Challenge commitment is long-term and RMUoHP will continue to support and invest in that commitment. Current initiatives are focused on sustaining pay equity, providing ongoing leadership development, and diversifying the Board of Trustees:
Wasatch Educational, RMUoHP’s parent corporation, is also managing the development of the proposed Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (NCOM). Both RMUoHP and NCOM, in conjunction with ElevateHER Challenge initiatives, are seeking to expand the membership and influence of women and diversity on related boards and committees. Ideal candidates will have significant professional experience in leadership roles (C-Level, Ownership, Administration), formal education, and an interest in higher education, healthcare, and the community. Present needs for RMUoHP include local business owners and banking professionals to join the existing engaged Board of experts who support the University from across the United States. The proposed NCOM, as a new entity, is seeking a broad spectrum of candidates. The proposed NCOM is developing medical school in Provo that will create expert providers to support local healthcare needs. For more information or to express interest, contact Dr. Jessica Egbert at RMUoHP (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“Women bring to an organization diverse perspectives, key leadership skills, enhanced innovation, and improveoverall success. RMUoHP has benefitted from our commitment to the ElevateHER Challenge and we encourage all organizations to join us!” concluded President Nielsen.