Meet the hospital organizing team!
Bobbi-Jo Lewis: After spending 15 years as a stay-at-home mom and volunteering her time in community youth programs, Bobbi-Jo joined UMass in 2008. Soon after she became an activist within the SHARE union, helping make positive changes within the workplace. During the next 6 years, Bobbi-Jo held multiple jobs within UMass, including roles as a registration rep, ASR, and Medical Administrative Secretary before joining the SHARE staff full-time in 2014. Along with her work at SHARE , Bobbi-Jo enjoys playing volleyball and coaches the varsity volleyball team at Hudson High School.
Carol Hehir: Carol became involved as an activist with the union pre-election because she believed in having a voice in the workplace. She worked at UMass for 13 years, and has been full-time on share staff for 18 years now. Carol enjoys helping people and improving the workplace at UMass. She also loves visiting the beach and her place in Maine, spending time with her seven grandkids, and Elvis.
Deb Engvall: Deb has probably been working here since before you were born, and in many different roles--as a PCA in the float pool, a Unit Secretary, Payroll and Scheduling... After getting laid off, Deb came back to work in solid organ transplant before going to work with the union. She knows what it's like to work here and the importance of work-life balance. After getting to know the union better she figured that she should become a rep to better understand what unions are all about. From there she has never looked back, and enjoys her work on the SHARE staff!
Deb Largesse: Deb worked for UMass Memorial for 23 years, doing work with billing and cash posting. She was elected as one of the first Co-Presidents of SHARE when the union was voted in over twenty years ago, and stayed in that role until she came on staff at SHARE in 2009. She spends her days organizing and building relationships with SHARE members; on weekends you can be sure to find Deb out in her boat with her friend and her dog Tedi.
Elisabeth Szanto: Elisabeth caught the workplace democracy bug while supporting the organizing drive for the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. She wanted to help more people form their own unions and ended up leading the organizing drive for SHARE at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial. She cares about workplace respect and economic progress. Over the last 30 years, issues have changed, managers have changed, and laws have changed, but the need for people to have a voice at work has remained constant. She has never believed that “because I said so” was a very good answer, and she enjoys using her background in math to negotiate progressive raises and wage systems.
Jana Hollingsworth: Jana worked for SHARE staff before the beginning. That is, she helped with the first talks about forming a union at UMass Medical (the School and the then- "UMass Hospital"). Before that, Jana worked with SHARE's sister union, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. Jana takes pride in keeping vibrant the earliest vision and values of our union, highlighting the ways that collective bargaining is especially relevant today, even as SHARE evolves and adapts in ways nobody could have foreseen in 1997. Seen a good movie? Jana would love to hear about it!
Janet Wilder: Janet has been working for the union since 1991 when she helped to organize SHARE at UMass and Memorial. She believes that the hospital runs better when the employees have a voice and a say--it has a significant impact on people's work lives and on patient care. Her many years doing this work have led Janet to believe that being part of a union can be transformational, and that people can learn skills and grow int heir ability to make change in all parts of their lives.
Kirk Davis: Kirk joined the SHARE staff in 2005 on the recommendation of a friend with whom he worked at the University of Michigan. (Word spreads.) Kirk believes in workplace democracy. He is married with two young children, one of whom is already a leukemia survivor. Working at SHARE during her years of treatment has helped him to develop a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between patients and caregivers, and about the importance of respect and compassion among everyone in the hospital community. Also, he likes to swim.
Marie Manna: Marie has worked as a union organizer since 1981--first with SHARE’s sister union, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers--helping to form and build our local around the ideas of participation, fairness, and respect for 25 years. She recently started working with SHARE in 2015 and has found it great to be part of this caring community. Marie's particular interest is making sure that staff participate in the work decisions that effect their jobs; she is particularly excited about SHARE's new effort of Unit Based Teams.
Melissa Markstrom: Melissa Markstrom has been a labor organizer for nine years, working with union members across a wide range of industries and job classifications throughout the country. In her work with healthcare unions, she has extensive experience working to improve the workplace and patient care from hospitals and ambulatory care to VA’s and habilitation facilities. In her previous position representing resident physicians, she facilitated sixteen member-led improvement initiatives. In college, Melissa studied community-based organizing in Kenya, working with indigenous people advocating for ancestral lands. Today, Melissa is working toward a master's degree in labor studies from UMass Amherst. Originally from Arizona, she loves exploring New England and is just learning to muddle her way through gardening--she's very proud of her tomatoes and green beans.
Will Erickson: Will is SHARE’s in-house process improvement specialist. He began working with the union as a student intern in 1999. Since then, he’s traveled to England and back. (While overseas, Will worked with Unison, one of the UK’s largest trade unions, and at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School as part of a team studying what the future healthcare workforce might look like.) His current role bridges SHARE’s mission with that of UMass Memorial’s Center for Innovation and Transformational Change (CITC); his job is to help SHARE members figure out how to make their work less aggravating and more meaningful. Among other things, Will has helped train nearly a thousand employees in Lean thinking, and is one of the primary architects of SHARE’s pioneering Unit Based Teams. He’s currently getting his master's in public health, and is devoted to his wife, two daughters, espaliered pear tree and scobies.