Five men. One teenager. Four women. Three dads. Two moms. A significant number of cats. Twodogs. Two toddlers. Three adult children. One five-year-old. Army veteran. Farm owners. City dwellers. Part-time. Ohio. Wisconsin. Michigan. Minnesota. Rural. Northwoods. White. African-Jamaican. Bougie. Snarky. Introvert. Ambivert. Extrovert. Disruptors. Software Engineering. Banking. Retail. Social media. Law School.
Are you wondering what these all have in common? We all work at Ogden Glazer + Schaefer. “Diverse teams are more productive and perform better. The range of experience, ability, and working methods that a diverse workplace offers can boost problem-solving capacity and lead to greater productivity,” according to Hult International Business School.
“Complete transparency and focus on integrating ideas for growth at all levels of the company.” – Drew Factor
We all collectively arrived here, currently at the same place, at the same time, through connections to our founders Erin Ogden and Jeff Glazer. They predominately knew each of us before we were added to the team. The level of trust needed to hire new employees is inherently anxiety-inducing, but OG+S has strategically used their network to source a diverse group of individuals who work together for the benefit of the team. Those efforts to build a diverse and trustworthy team do more than benefit OG+S, they help our clients, too.
“From the bottom to the top, all our opinions matter. It is a hardworking, welcoming, and open
work environment where we all truly believe that our own well-being and family always come first.
You don’t get that at many jobs.” – Sherri Schaaf
We work together collaboratively on all issues that require a resolution to avoid temporary bandages on problems, getting to the root of the issue to determine the best long-term solution for the whole team as well as clients. We embrace being spread across several states, utilizing our tools to efficiently tackle circumstances from all angles. We use our geographic footprint as a strategic advantage.
“There is no façade here; everyone we work with, it’s a ‘what you see is what you get’ proposition;
I appreciate that. I don’t like to beat around the bush, I appreciate that we’re trying to build
a culture where we can say what we want, and what we think, without fear of retribution.” – Collin Schaefer
Erin Ogden has been very vocal about the diversity of our team and its intentionality. Our skills complement each other’s weaknesses. We have learned to ask for help from each other; we know we need each other to grow stronger. The combination of the team’s accumulated expertise is invaluable, but the real strength lies in the ability of each of us to express that knowledge to the rest of the team and have it valued.
“We are very intentional about [diversity]. You have to be, but it can’t just be intentions.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘It’s not just words. Action expresses priorities.’ You have to set
intentions, set priorities, then act on both.” – Erin Ogden
Also, embracing diversity is looking at what you are not – recognizing the gaps that exist and intentionally recruiting to fill those gaps for your team. The genius of our team is not that we are all legal authorities, but that we each bring skills to the team that allow the attorneys to focus on their legal work. In return, we each rely on our expertise in non-legal arenas to enhance our activities. No one member of our team shines on her/his own – we are collaborative. When team members have skills to share, they contribute insights to the whole team. Collaboration encourages dynamic decision-making. One of the most significant benefits of diversity is that it leads to enhanced problem-solving.
“I appreciate how OG+S plays the long game in developing and retaining its employees.
Finally, I appreciate how the size of the firm allows each individual person to influence and impact
the firm. It’s far from a “cog in the machine” kind of experience, and it does generate that diverse
perspectives are sought and appreciated.” – Sam Kavalier
Assertive communication is essential for our successful teamwork. Each person in our organization feels safe speaking up for themselves. Each person has the integrity, intellect, respect, and heart to address any situations that arise, whether internal or external. We trust each other to do our own jobs, stay in our lanes, and handle business in a manner that behooves the whole team.
“You’re allowed to be yourself here, which is a very refreshing change. Everyone in the firm cares about one another and having to take time off for personal or health reasons isn’t grounds for retaliation.” – Katie Francey
Higher engagement levels result from a diverse team because OG+S members have opportunities to share their own perspectives and experiences. Our diversity fosters solidarity among staff members, which encourages them to reach out for help when they need it. We collaborate and build relationships over our shared experiences. We wouldn’t be a great team without each other’s contributions, insights, and expertise.
“For me ‘inclusion’ begs a few questions: Are differences welcomed? Are different perspectives respectfully heard? Do people feel a sense of belonging? I very much like the feeling that all OG+S members of the team have ‘skin’ in the game or our success. We are very open to discussing our challenges, celebrating our wins, collaborating across roles, and allowing everyone a space to be heard. It’s not that we are ‘perfect,’ we try, we learn, and we adjust.” – Richard Mullings
We know from DiSC assessments, conversations, emails, and regular Teams meetings that we each have different communication styles, senses of humor, work products, time management, personal situations, and experiences. Yet, we have honed these differences into an asset that allows for a stronger team by respecting each other’s contributions.
“Part of empowering employees is creating and nurturing an inclusive and diverse workplace. If we live our lives in a narrow tunnel, we can’t see beyond the tunnel’s walls. That is a huge disservice to our clients, our company, and our employees. Our clients hire us because we think outside the box and help solve difficult problems. If we only have a narrow experience to draw from, we are missing everything else. Diversity, inclusion, and empowerment lead to better outcomes all around.” – Jeff Glazer