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Dr. Tonya Jackman Hampton works to bring serenity and comfort to patients

Tonya Hampton (Photo provided)

Dr. Tonya Jackman Hampton is the vice president of human resources and organizational effectiveness for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS). She’s quick to share that she’s grateful to be in a position to for women’s rights.

With those eye-catching and lovely silver tresses, Dr. Hampton, who is also the founder of Graces of Grey, shares how her team provides great customer service to serve both their employees and patients and the multiple ways to give back to the community.

What is your company’s mission?
Affirming the human right to reproductive health and freedom.

What is your day-to-day like at work?
I am incredibly grateful every day to be a part of an organization dedicated to providing reproductive health care and education to the community, and one that fights for the human right to reproductive health and freedom.

Within the Human Resource and Organizational Effectiveness department, we provide human resource management and administrative functions, as well as direct the organizational learning and development strategy.

Planned Parenthood serves a diverse patient population across 19 clinics in three states. That’s why my department is dedicated to PPMNS’ strategic objective to increase the diversity of our employees, volunteers and board members. We lead the recruitment and retention processes needed to build diversity at all levels of our organization. And, we’re responsible for driving employee engagement to create an environment where every employee wants to stay and feel inspired, engaged and empowered to fulfill our mission.

Our department may be called human resources and organizational effectiveness, but we want our employees to remember us by the experience we provide them while they work here. This includes ensuring we have a strong focus on their compensation, benefits, career development and advancement, and health and well-being. By doing so, we’ll create a culture where employees are engaged and can provide an excellent patient experience.

What inspires you to show up at work every day?
I am inspired by the patients we serve and social justice actions we support as an organization. Today, more than any time in my lifetime, we’re challenged by those who believe Planned Parenthood should not be reimbursed by Medicaid for health care services we provide. We’re also challenged by parts of the world that believe Planned Parenthood should not exist. Yet, I am surrounded every day by employees, volunteers, supporters and donors who believe in the importance of all the reproductive health care services we provide to our patients.

I know firsthand how important it is that patients have access to the care we provide. As a young woman, I came to Planned Parenthood when I didn’t have anywhere else to go. They helped me make a well-informed reproductive health and safe sex decision. For me, this was a life-altering experience and I wasn’t shamed in any way. Had I been, I wouldn’t be the woman and leader I am today.

Furthermore, when I come to work, I often see families and young people ready to have a conversation with someone about their care in a safe and confidential manner. It gives me joy and makes me content knowing they feel as comfortable as I did coming to Planned Parenthood.

How did you determine your career path?
Early on in her life, my mother worked with families in daycare centers and at the end of her life, she was a caretaker. She was also a fraud investigator in between. Yet, her true passion was helping and caring for others, including animals. My father is active in the community. For years he drove a semi-truck but, during my more formative years as a teenager, he worked in the community as a newspaper publisher for one of the only two Black newspapers in the Twin Cities. He is a transformative thinker, always looking for ways to solve community problems and tell their stories. He also loves talking to others — he’s a people person.

Coupled together, these two influenced me to start first working in the employee relations and employment law field so I could help organizations treat their employees fairly. As time continued, I decided I wanted to help organizations design longer term and transformational solutions that addressed systemic equality issues. So, my love for helping individuals and organizations to be effective came about and now I can design human resources practices, organization development solutions and direct our diversity and inclusion strategy to live out the dual legacy my parents impressed on me.

I’ve had a great opportunity to work [with] a variety of organizations and I’ve probably changed industries more than most people I know. I don’t regret these changes. However, for the last decade, I’ve been working in health care. I can’t imagine working in another industry. Even more so, working at a health care nonprofit organization puts me at the crossroads of health care and serving the community.

Describe the voice of success that you hear in your head.
Whether they’re present or passed on, I am so fortunate to have so many people in my life who inspire me. The voices I hear the most are my late grandparents, mother and present father. Recently, I lost my mother and more now than ever I hear her voice encouraging me to keep moving and that even in the tough times you must believe that every little thing is gonna be alright. When I interviewed for my position at Planned Parenthood, my mother was in the hospital only after two days of learning she was terminally ill and suffering from level four cancer that had metastasized to her main organs. To this day, I am not sure how I found the strength to have the interview, but I am certain my mother would have wanted me to move onward in the process and eventually accept my role. I don’t regret my decision to take the job call that day, but I sure miss my mom. Today, I can be proud that I am working for an organization that came to me during a difficult time in my life and it gives me serenity that I am able to make a difference in people lives.

Community success based on what you do in the community means what to you?
It means I am finding multiple ways to give back to the community, sharing my knowledge and fortune. Even, if I make a personal goal to influence ten times the number of people in my life as I am old, then I have only impacted less than 500 people in my lifetime. This is not enough to help the number of people that need help in this world. So, I must identify strategies inside and outside of my organization to truly make a difference. The trick is I must work on a few projects I really like and do them well and apply these same skills and solutions [in] many places, one at a time.

What role does technology play in your daily life?
Bottom line and on a personal note, it’s a nuisance, a distracter – but it enables me to work faster and be more responsive. Bittersweet, for sure. I use technology to stay up on the latest leadership tactics, mostly when I am driving in my car or running. It helps me relax and drift off when I need to. Technology also helps me, and my team improve our work and it is the backbone of the HR services we provide across the organization. Through technology, we’re able to track employee transactions and complete reports that drive smart and equitable organizational decisions.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I wish I could more than quadruple the gift of trust, understanding, hugs and love in the world to dissipate the suffering that sits on so many people’s hearts. This may seem sort of Pollyanna, but I think pain exists when there is a lack of these elements in someone’s life. Consequently, we have many people in our world who are sad, angry or both. And, for instance, I believe the intersection between diversity and inclusion is fear. If the world had more trust, understanding, hugs and love, I believe there would be less fear in the world too. You may be thinking, oh if were only that simple. But, I am convinced it’s a darn good start.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I receive so many compliments on my grey hair — it’s a daily thing. It’s great and sometimes it leaves me feeling overwhelmingly grateful that God gave me such a gift that inspires others. Yet, humbly, I’d like to change my abilities to include a magic wand so that every time someone complimented me on my hair, I would then shake my magic wand to grant an organization or individual a large sum of money or gift to support their cause or personal need. This would give me the chance to truly inspire all the people who have praised me and make a difference in the world and lives of others who really deserve it.

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.

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