Featuring Evan Strange (Left) and Kelly Olson (Right)
2020 has been a crazy year for everyone, and for parents and caregivers, the added stresses of a toddler barging in on work calls and the time needed to care for loved ones has made this a year that will never be forgotten (read: good riddance 2020!).
Parents and caregivers make up a significant portion of the workforce at George P. Johnson, and to provide space and support for them, Parents and Caregivers Together (PACT) was created as our newest employee resource group.
With nearly 100 members strong, PACT was created not only to provide resources for its members, but to also help foster an inclusive and supportive environment among all employees.
Our mission is simple:
PACT provides an open forum to share challenges, milestones and advice about how to balance work and family. We are focused on advocating on behalf of all working parents and caregivers at GPJ to provide a support system through networking and information sharing.
A Q&A with our co-founder, Kelly Olson, on the mission and future of PACT
What was your “aha!” moment that showed a need for PACT?
I’m a parent of a 7 year old and over the summer, when it wasn’t clear if schools would open up for the fall, I found myself needing to talk to other parents. My colleague (and now PACT co-founder) Michelle Wolfe and I have been working together for almost 10 years. Over the years we’ve shared challenges and encouraged each other – this was no different. After an emotional “I’m not sure how much longer I can do this” session, a light bulb went on and we realized we were not the only caregivers who were struggling. We knew we needed to reach out to others, and PACT was born!
How do you see PACT making a difference at GPJ?
I’ve seen joy and relief from the simplest of connections in our Google chat groups. We have chat groups set up for caregivers in similar situations, such as a group for aging family member caregivers, or parents of babies/toddlers. Just knowing you can share your triumphs and challenges with others who are in the same situation as you is such a weight off your shoulders.
Thank goodness 2020 is almost over, what are your goals for PACT in 2021?
Building more connections with leadership at GPJ to continue supporting caregivers with guidance, both formal and informal. Continuing to update the resources portion of our internal employee micro-site to share with members. Finding ways to collaborate with other GPJ employee resource groups to bring content that is valuable to all groups.