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Inclusive Excellence Podcast: Feeling included when miles apart

In this episode of the Inclusive Excellence Podcast, Erin Sember-Chase and Toral Patel are joined by two members of the newly formed Office of Talent Attraction and Recruitment team at Cornell for a conversation about creating connection in a world where many employees are working remotely.

Sonja Baylor, Recruitment Manager, Division of Human Resources

Jamie Doss, talent acquisition partner, and Sonja Baylor, recruitment manager, work on a team of primarily remote and hybrid employees. However, despite the physical distance, their team has been able to sustain a positive and inclusive workplace.

“I feel very connected to my team and to the Cornell community,” Doss said. “I attribute that to several things. I feel like part of that is my responsibility. If I want to feel connected, and if I want to be involved in activities that the team and Cornell have going on, then I have to do my due diligence to make sure that I speak up about wanting to be included, because I'm not physically in Ithaca. Overall, I think Cornell does a great job for employees like myself who are remote.”

Increased opportunities to work in a remote setting transpired post-pandemic and has remained a viable option for job seekers. Many employees have prioritized their work-life balance and are exploring ways to dedicate more time to life outside of the office.

Jamie Doss, Talent Acquisition Partner, Division of Human Resources

Baylor sees managing her team of remote and hybrid workers as an opportunity to engage in creative and innovative ways of connecting.  

“It's been beautiful to see this team come together,” Baylor said. “They're from all over the place and they're all contributing and connecting. As a manager, I need to be very intentional, engaged and accessible. I always tell them there's nothing more important to me than you all. Your success is my success.”

For Doss, Baylor and others on their team, building this trust was not something that occurred overnight. It took time, patience, dedication and, sometimes, stepping outside of the box.

“Last year, for the holiday season, we engaged in a gingerbread house activity that we did virtually, and it was so much fun. It's something that I think everybody really enjoyed – the opportunity to not only build something, individually, but we were still able to do it together,” Doss said.

With this shift in the workplace, the Office of Talent Attraction and Recruitment is embracing these changes and learning as they go. 

 “As we learn, we get more clarity on what works and what doesn’t,” Doss said. “And the things that did work, we keep those in our toolbox. We had to practice some of the ways we engage to figure out what's going to be the most efficient for us and what's going to yield success. We continue to build up that toolbox with activities and different strategies to make sure that we do maintain that sense of cohesion, because we worked hard to get here.”

Tune in to hear more about the Office of Talent Attraction and Recruitment team in Episode 68: A New World of Work: Feeling Included When Apart. Visit to access the episode and transcript.

About the Inclusive Excellence Podcast

Join Erin Sember-Chase and Toral Patel from the Department of Inclusion and Belonging for a bi-weekly podcast series where they explore various topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at work. During each episode's interview, they provide a platform for campus colleagues in various roles to share their lived experiences, thoughts and ideas around how to create cultures of belonging, especially in the workplace. You can listen to this podcast on your phone, at your desk, on your way to work, while you are taking a break, even while you get ready for bed! 

Do you have a topic you would like discussed on the podcast, or want to recommend someone doing awesome work around campus? Contact

Grace DePaull is a Communications Assistant in the Division of Human Resources.

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