Parents Advisory Council: Meet The New Co-Chairs, Niki Janian and BG Groff
With backgrounds in medical sales and financial planning, the pair bring unique skill sets to this leadership role. Their ideas for enhancing the PAC, growing membership and engaging parents tackle the challenges from two different angles but come together in a nice package.
"I couldn’t ask for a better partner," Niki said. "In my head, I was thinking of him, but I didn’t want him to feel pressured. I just think having a dad and a mom – we're on two different lanes but they really come together nicely. I just think it's perfect synergy."
Both find it crucial to incorporate education into the Parents Advisory Council's core engagement strategy. The pair believe giving parents the resources they need and allowing them to build relationships with providers at their community hospital will put them at ease when the time comes for them to need services.
"It's helpful for me to think, 'OK, I'm not alone in this,'" Niki said. "I'm not alone if I have to go to the Emergency Room with my kid because I feel like the hospital's really there for us. We just have to learn how to access GBMC for all it has to offer."
Even though BG has been well-acquainted with the hospital since childhood as his mother, Mary, served in a volunteer leadership role, he was surprised to learn GBMC partners with Darkness to Light, a national nonprofit that serves as the leading, evidence-based child sexual abuse prevention training program in the country.
His first meeting, in fact, was when the PAC was introduced to Darkness to Light by professionals. It might have been "baptism by fire" as BG said to hear this type of information, but as the parent of two young children, he could not have been more grateful for the knowledge.
"You don't know some of these things, so you rely on your support team to bring those things to your attention," BG said. "I want to help families understand the importance and the value of what's going on. I feel a need to tell people the power of what GBMC and a support team can do for you, the education you can receive and the good you can create."
The PAC as a collective has created a lot of good in its 12 years – donating more than $250,000 to pediatric programs at GBMC. The milestone will earn them induction into GBMC's Joseph S. Keelty Society this year, but for members it’s the impact that matters.
"My husband and I look to donate money throughout the year and we have some core places, but I would never want to forget the place that could essentially save my kid's life," Niki said. "I think it's really important and you want to make sure it stays in the front of people's minds."
A unique aspect of the PAC is that, in addition to pooling funds together to make a larger impact for needed programs, members hear from providers on the hospital's needs and vote as a group on where to allocate their support. The added investment engages members in the process and allows them to see the impact they have on their community hospital more directly.
BG and Niki want to continue that close connectedness with the hospital and its programs by bringing it full circle. By allowing parents to deepen their relationship with GBMC, educating parents on GBMC's resources, and elevating their engagement by utilizing advanced engagement strategies and platforms to raise awareness, educate and fundraise, the co-chairs hope to build a foundation of healthcare for parents in the community for their whole family, for years to come.
To learn more about the PAC, please contact Beth Garner at 443-849-4329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.