John Davia and Stacia Soucy

Sep 26, 2019

Employee Business Resource Group Spotlight: Parents@Work

Stacia Soucy, managing director of financial planning, and John Davia, manager of well-being solutions; co-chairs, Parents@Work, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

This blog post is the fifth in a series highlighting BCBSRI’s employee business resource groups (EBRGs), which are employee networks structured around non-majority dimensions of diversity. Dimensions of diversity are traits that impact a person at home, work and in society. Examples include gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or physical ability. While EBRGs are usually composed of employees with a shared dimension of diversity, all interested employees are welcome to participate. BCBSRI recognizes the importance of EBRGs and their place within the organization. BCBSRI currently has six active EBRGs: Emerging Blue Talent, Latin@Link, Blue pRIde, Military Services EBRG, Parents@Work, and Black Council @ Blue.

Being a parent often involves providing for your family in a multitude of ways - balancing a full-time job, coordinating child care and family quality time, and managing personal self-care as well as a marriage or relationship. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s (BCBSRI) EBRG, Parents@Work, recognizes the struggles that can accompany parenthood and provides an active support system for professionals working to achieve a proper balance between managing a career and parenthood.

Parents@Work advocates for employees to thrive as professionals while balancing responsibilities that come with being part of a family. Our more than 50 members encourage fellow parents and caregivers through lectures, networking events, discussions and collaborative projects. As we observe National Working Parents Day this month, we want to recognize all the hard-working parents balancing workplace and caregiver responsibilities and share more about our group’s mission.

Founded in 2013, Parents@Work provides a judgement-free support group while advocating for workplace policies that make day-to-day work-life balance easier. Some of our initiatives include:

  • Bring Your Child to Work Day: In 2018 Parents@Work hosted 20 middle- and high-school-aged children of employees to participate in a day of learning, community service, problem solving and more.
  • P@Wer Hours: Our EBRG hosts ongoing discussions to help the group manage care for families while focusing on their careers. Most recently, we led an informal, yet in-depth discussion on summer activities for families while balancing lifetime career opportunities.
  • Open Enrollment benefit Q&A: In collaboration with our human resources and sales teams, we hosted an informal Q&A session on the benefits provided to BCBSRI members in the 2019 open enrollment period. The group provided clarity on the parent-focused benefits that members’ families can take advantage of including parental leaves, flexible work hours, and assistance for special needs and opportunities for career development.
  • The Many Faces of the Opioid Crisis in Rhode Island event: On the first day of Diversity Week at BCBSRI last year, Parents@Work hosted a viewing of The Fix: Examining Rhode Island’s Opioid Epidemic to introduce and discuss critical topics around the misuse of opioids. In collaboration with BCBSRI’s behavioral health team, we offered information, tools and resources, including treatment options offered through BCBSRI plans, all designed to help associates start potentially difficult conversations with their children and loved ones.

While Parents@Work celebrates BCBSRI employees who are parents, we’re continually looking to increase inclusion of all types of family caregivers, whether as a parent or guardian to a child or a child caring for a parent. This year, we’re part of a collaborative effort to transition “Bring Your Child to Work Day” to “Take Your People to Work Day” in the hopes of providing a more inclusive event that appeals to all generations, including younger employees caring for their parents. Additionally, we’re reworking our volunteering efforts within P@Wer Hours to offer family volunteering opportunities including the United Way of Rhode Island’s National Family Volunteering Day.

Working Parents Day honors the same vision that Parents@Work holds to the highest importance: the ability to be a loving parent while building a career. As we recognize parents and caregivers balancing work and family, Parents@Work looks forward to bolstering our efforts toward maintaining a supportive and balanced workplace.

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