EVERETT, Wash., April 11, 2022 – Compass Health recently welcomed Connie Summers, the organization’s first-ever chief human resources and diversity officer (CHRDO). As CHRDO, Summers oversees all aspects of human resource management and is key to fostering a culture that celebrates and supports diversity and inclusion.
“We are excited to welcome Connie to our team,” said Tom Sebastian, president and CEO of Compass Health. “Her experience, not only in human resources but in the behavioral health sector, coupled with her exceptional leadership capabilities make her an ideal fit for this role. I am impressed by her passion and vision toward establishing communities of care that are welcoming, supportive, and more culturally informed to improve access to quality behavioral healthcare.”
Creating and filling the CHRDO position represents a major milestone in Compass Health’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging strategy (DEIB). With Summers at the helm, Compass Health has committed to making 2022 a year of direct action, weaving DEIB into the infrastructure of the organization and establishing a momentum that facilitates continued progress for years to come.
“When the opportunity at Compass Health came up, I was captivated by the drive to do the real work that is necessary to make sure that the organization is operating in an equitable and inclusive way to ensure belonging for everyone,” Summers said. “I truly feel that it is the perfect circumstance to build off of my previous experience – operationalizing equity, inclusion and belonging into Compass Health’s systems and processes in an increasingly diverse workforce and community.”
This year is a foundational step for Compass Health as it works to get its DEIB strategy off the ground, which includes engaging everyone in companywide discussions, creating accountability for the actions the organization does or does not take, working diligently to create a culture that is inclusive of all staff, and ensuring that everyone is culturally competent and responsive in the delivery of services to the community.
“Compass Health serves such a diverse group of clients and has the capacity to serve even more,” said Tom Kozaczynski, chief advancement officer for Compass Health. “I’m excited to explore this alongside Connie and work together to strengthen relationships that are so important to our organization.”
As part of the organization’s early DEIB strategy, Compass Health also formed a Health Equity Committee, with members from across the organization’s programs and geographic locations, to provide agency-wide guidance that helps ensure everyone served has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. In February, the committee led staff in training and discussions using a tool developed by committee members to mitigate common forms of inequality through the language used in healthcare. Summers further enriched these efforts by hosting a series of discussions in honor of Black History Month, providing a platform to highlight inequalities in healthcare for BIPOC communities and expand awareness of the achievements of BIPOC healthcare leaders.
“With the addition of Connie to our team in conjunction with the existing Health Equity Committee, Compass Health has really accelerated its DEIB efforts in 2022,” said Charissa Westergard, director of healthcare integration and Health Equity Committee member for Compass Health. “Both our clients and our staff want to see actions that reflect that they’ve been heard and that’s what we’re all working to accomplish.”
Summers joins Compass Health after serving as the director of human services for Seattle Counseling Service and spending almost 25 years with Boeing, finishing as a senior leader in global diversity, equity and inclusion. She received a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis on human resources from Western Governors University and earned a Master of Science in human resources development from Villanova University.
“When it comes down to it, Compass Health is committed to taking meaningful action and that is something that is deeply important to me, the workforce and the communities we serve,” Summers said. “We’re already off to an amazing start and I’m looking forward to the many strides the organization is going to make in the DEIB space this year, and beyond.”
For more information about Connie and Compass Health’s DEIB strategy, visit www.compasshealth.org.