At Northwell Health, we’re committed to building an inclusive and safe environment for our team members where we can all be Truly Ourselves. Our Spoken Word event encouraged individuality as team members and their families engaged in powerful self-expression.
Hosted virtually by Northwell’s Social, Belonging & Inclusion Council, this unique night of verbal expression offered team members an opportunity to creatively share what’s on their mind. Employees from all roles and teams within our organization had the opportunity to join and perform artistic pieces that focused on a variety of topics including allyship, COVID-19, diversity and inclusion, recovery, resilience and social justice.
“When we envisioned the Spoken Word event, we were excited to highlight the talent and diversity of our Northwell Health family,” says Dorean J. Flores, senior manager, Human Research Protection Program and member of the council. “Showcasing and attending an event founded in unity and interwoven with artistry invoked a sense of pride in being a part of an organization that exemplifies camaraderie.”
As part of that unity, the event created a space to share a passion from their personal lives with team members – whether that be from the topic they chose or simply the act of performing itself. For Emily Kagan-Trenchard, vice president, Digital & Innovation Strategy, and one of the night’s performers and MC, that meant connecting an artform that has been a big part of her life for over two decades with her friends and colleagues.
“What I love about spoken word events is the way it bridges all divides. It insists that all truths are worthy of an audience but makes no other demands on the shape or form that truth must take,” says Emily. “Because here’s the thing: there is no spoken word without the audience. It requires a speaker and a listener and that makes it a profound tool for building community.”
Another performer, Jeremiah Mallari, a workforce intelligence analyst in HR Operations, was grateful for an outlet to express himself while connecting to Northwell’s community, going on to even share his performance from the night online. “The Spoken Word Event was a beautiful picture of Northwell’s Culture of C.A.R.E (Connectedness, Awareness, Respect & Empathy),” says Jeremiah. “We’re all unique and hearing the different thoughts and passions of our team members perfectly depicts that. Each of the artists that performed showed their true selves and they were each embraced and celebrated.”
The spirit and passion for expression was felt throughout all 12 of the performances, with the night ending in a group virtual dance party. Healing was a continual theme through the night with the pieces allowing team members to get support and feel heard – something especially important as our healthcare heroes recover from COVID-19 in these unprecedented times.
“This event created a moment of connection and vulnerability that felt so necessary, so affirming and so urgent for all of us. The gift of spoken word is not only in the poem or the song or the freestyle that is shared, it is as much in the gift of space to listen,” says Emily. “Because this is how we get better. We sit together with the beautiful and difficult truths about the work we do for our patients, for our communities, and for ourselves to heal.”
Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion.