Back in 2016, Mary’s Center joined some of the top workplaces in the Washington, DC metro area and was recognized as one of the top employers in the region. I had only been at Mary’s Center a little over year and I was, admittedly, taken aback by that achievement. Not because I didn’t believe we deserved it. In fact, I knew from the moment I walked through our doors that we were different. That we had that special something that most companies didn’t have. Even with those intangibles, it’s hard. It’s hard for an employer as spread out as we are (eight locations across DC and Maryland) and as large as we were at the time to maintain such a close knit, collaborative, inclusive and mission driven culture that leads to such accolades.
Fast forward to 2019 and my… how things have changed. What changed? Leaders have come and gone, turnover is on par with healthcare organizations across the country, we’ve added programs, lost programs and we’ve grown. Wow, have we grown. In an economy where U.S. employers are averaging an annualized growth of 2.2%, Mary’s Center has seen an astonishing average of 10% growth year-over-year. That means that in the three years since we last received this award we’ve gone from 475 employees to almost 700. We went from the “midsize company” category in 2016 to “large company” category in 2019 competing with the big-name organizations that are household names. Companies like Capital One, CACI, AARP. Companies with tens of thousands of employees. Companies that should give us all pride to be mentioned in the same breath as. Perhaps the better question is: what hasn’t changed?
For starters, our founder, president and CEO Maria Gomez is still at the helm. She serves as mentor to us all and leads by example. She walks the walk, talks the talk, and brings us all along on the journey. The evening we received our recognition as one of the top 30 large companies to work for in DC, Maria was recognized by the Washington Post for her outstanding leadership. She was singled out from the group of 30 large companies to receive this recognition. They couldn’t have picked a more deserving leader. Someone who is the physical embodiment of our mission and culture.
Which brings me to what else hasn’t changed. Although we have added hundreds of team members through the years, one thing remains at the top of our criteria when we review candidates. No matter what job you’re applying for, whether it’s an accountant, patient registration, pediatrician, home visitor and everything in between… We are looking first and foremost for mission driven people. People who believe in what we do and will be ambassadors for Mary’s Center in the community. Our unwavering devotion to the communities and families we serve is what sets us apart. The shared commitment to help our fellow community members is what brings us closer as an organization. That devotion to those we serve is only matched by our organization’s drive to give each and every one of our employees more than just a job. We want to give our teams and colleagues a greater purpose. A sense of belonging. A place to grow.
If you know anything about wine, you probably know that a really good wine changes the longer it ages. It evolves, gets more complex, it develops different flavors, and overall it just gets better. In that same way, Mary’s Center has gotten better through the years. Just like a fine wine does, we carry forward the characteristics from our roots. Roots that were planted decades ago. These roots are at the core of all we do. And although we evolve through the years, it is our roots that will guide us into our future decades of service.
About the Author: Carlos Marroquin, Chief of Human Resources
Carlos has over ten years of experience in multiple HR disciplines including recruitment, employee relations, benefits, compensation and strategy. He brings a consultative approach to HR, serving as an advisor to employees and the organization, ensuring legal and regulatory compliance, and working to maximize engagement and retention. Carlos firmly believes in the mission and vision of Mary’s Center. A native of El Salvador, he grew up in the neighborhood where Mary’s Center was founded and saw first-hand the mission in action and the organization’s positive impact on the community. Prior to joining Mary’s Center, Carlos held management positions at both private and non-profit organizations. He is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).