“The halls of the MGH have changed, people have changed, the country has changed, but the work that we do and the values that we have, have not changed,” said Darnell Williams, president and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and former manager of MGH Management Recruitment and Development in Human Resources.

Williams was the keynote speaker at the annual MGH MLK Gospel Celebration Breakfast on Feb. 1 in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The breakfast – sponsored by the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners (AMMP) – also featured empowering quotes from King and musical selections performed by the Gospel Unlimited Ensemble directed by Elder Hu White.

This year, a familiar face at the MLK breakfast was in for a surprise. Jeff Davis, who recently retired as the senior vice president of Human Resources, was honored with AMMP’s first Diversity Champion Award. Williams shared the impact that Davis had on his career and the fondness with which he looks back on his time working at the MGH. “Jeff and I would meet for lunch and discuss how to improve the MGH community,” Williams said. “We would discuss how to destroy walls of emotional indifference and perceived obstacles. Neither of us would come to the table with an agenda, instead we would just talk. A lot of successful programs came out of our dialogues.”

While accepting his award, Davis shared advice about leadership. “Good leadership is mostly listening rather than telling, and mostly following rather than directing. When you retire, people tend to credit you with things you didn’t necessarily do. All I have done is say ‘yes’ to the amazing ideas that people bring to me.”

During the event, another group of diversity championswho said ‘yes’ to service was recognized as the 2019 YMCA Achievers, each nominated for their accomplishments within the MGH and in their communities. This year’s recipients were Asha Abdulahi, surgical technician, Operation Room Nursing Service; Efren Flores, MD, Radiology; Junie Joseph, patient service coordinator, Cancer Center, Matthew Heron, support service team manager, Patient Care Services; Pamela Cazeau, associatedirector, Development; and Saheeda Mohammed-Kelly, RN, Labor and Delivery. 

For more information about AMMP, visit the organization’s page on Apollo, the MGH intranet.