At The Floating Hospital, ‘Girlboss’ is not a trend, it’s our history
In an era where women still struggle for workplace equity, women of color are even more challenged, according to a survey by the Building Movement Project (BMP), an organization that advises not-for-profits on activating social change. BMP’s recent national survey of 4,000 non-profit organizations found that racial and gender bias continues to create barriers to career advancement for women of color.
The Floating Hospital, though, is not a place where such walls or ceilings exist.
“We have about three times more women than men on the payroll and many of them have been promoted through the ranks to senior leadership positions,” says The Floating Hospital human resources director, Philip LaRocco. From its chief medical officer to chief financial officer, and women at most director levels—clinic operations, behavioral health, health education and transportation—The Floating Hospital boasts an impressive batting average of women, and women of color, at the helm. Nearly 77% of top leadership is female and 62% are leaders of color.
It’s a model for the clinic that has happened by both accident and design.
“Queens is such a diverse borough in New York City—we try to make sure that patients can identify with someone on staff and that’s happened very organically,” says LaRocco, adding, “Everyone who comes to work for us is mission-driven.”
The Floating Hospital director of community outreach Cynthia Davis is but one of those who came into the organization with such intention.
“I have always been driven to help and assist the community around me, in part because of strong historical role models,” she says. “Standing among those models is [women’s rights activist] Fannie Lou Hamer. When she uttered the now-famous phrase at the ’64 Democratic Convention, ‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,’ it struck within me a call to service.”
In a month that celebrates not only women’s achievements but also their potential, The Floating Hospital CFO Gloria Jackson says she strives to be a role model for other women wanting to break the glass ceiling, especially when it comes to shattering outdated notions of women and power.
“One preconception that I’m up against is that men are better suited for financial roles,” she says. “I don’t feel that gender bias exists as much in the not-for-profit world as the for profit, but it’s there.”
“Working in this role, my hope is that other women—especially younger women starting out in their careers—will know that they deserve a seat at the table,” she said.