Sunday, September 21, 2008

BDPA Legacy: Betty Hutchins

Mayo Clinic's Pavilion Building at their world headquarters in Rochester MN was dedicated and renamed the Rosa Parks Pavilion. One of the longtime Mayo Clinic associates honored with a permanent display at the Rosa Parks Pavilion is Betty Hutchins.

Betty founded BDPA chapters in Chattanooga TN and Rochester MN. She has been on the national BDPA executive committee for the past four years as both a vice president and outside director. Betty Hutchins would be in the BDPA Hall of Fame if we had such a thing.

Here is her story as told at the Rosa Parks Pavilion:

My entire life has been in homage to my ancestors, who gave their lives for me to have the opportunities I have. I will never forget them or take the opportunities for granted.

My personal definition of workplace diversity is people from many different backgrounds and cultures working together to ensure that all history, including slavery and the Holocaust, is respected. My definition also includes allowing all people to operate within their uniqueness, with equal, unlimited opportunities for career success.

When I moved to Rochester from Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1998 to work as a project manager in Mayo Clinic's Information Services Department, I knew no one in Rochester or at Mayo. There was no chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), so a couple of us chartered the Southern MN Chapter of BDPA in 1999. We sponsored the first High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team in 2000, and since then, Rochester students have won the national web development competition three times and placed second three times. The program has grown from fewer than 10 students in the first class to more than 50 students in the current class at Century High School.

In 1999, Mayo Clinic had no networking group for employees of African descent. About five years ago, a couple of us formed Mayo Clinic's African Descendants Support Network (ADSN). Today, I serve on the Steering Committee of ADSN. I also serve on the board of directors of the local chapter of BDPA, the United Way of Olmsted County, and on the National BDPA Executive Committee and Board. In the past, I have served on the board of the Rochester Public Library, the Rochester Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and in various positions within BDPA Southern MN Chapter. Through all these relationships,

I have developed lifelong friendships that have helped me through some pretty tough health scares and served as my surrogate family in my true family’s absence.

Mayo Clinic's support for diversity-related employee networking groups such as ADSN validates the institution's commitment to an inclusive work environment. In the future, businesses that avoid diversity will not be able to recruit and retain the best employees. Companies that become diverse only when they're forced to will be the last choice of good candidates. Today's wise organizations, such as Mayo Clinic, are creating welcoming, opportunity-filled environments for all employees at all levels of the organization.

BDPA Foundation blog is proud of the legacy that has been established by Betty Hutchins. Do you have any memories of Betty that you would like to share with us in the COMMENTS section below?

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