Unite Us has officially reached over 200 employees! We are so proud to have come such a long way from our humble beginnings. In North Carolina, we have expanded our office to 22 local team members who work on company-wide initiatives and in the statewide network, NCCARE360. With boots-on-the-ground across the 38 states we work in, our team brings deep knowledge of their own communities through their lived and professional experiences. Despite the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, we are thankful to keep creating jobs and hiring locally. We’re committed to investing in the communities where we power networks. When we hire locally, Unite Us invests in the people who care most about solving problems and building community health–because it impacts where they live and work every day. This unique approach sets Unite Us apart and ensures our networks are reflecting local needs and wants.
“As a recruiting team, our first priority when launching in a new area is to hire locally. Not only is that talent pool best equipped to serve, understand, and support their neighbors, but this philosophy also attracts ‘A-players’ to our team. ‘A-players’ are high-performing candidates who want to make a broader impact in their next role. Working at Unite Us provides that opportunity to all of us. We can see how our work is impacting the community–our community–and that’s what keeps us dedicated to the mission and our work–no matter the role,” shared Jessica Paddock, Director of Recruiting at Unite Us.
We’re excited to introduce you to some of our new team members from across the country. Meet Kristin Hunter, Raj Madhure, and Gracious Gamiao!
Kristin Hunter, Network Director, Central Region
Kristin started her career in advertising and eventually realized that was not the work to which she wanted to dedicate her time. “I just was not fulfilled. I learned a ton but I was feeling like I was moving away from my internal knowing,” says Kristin. She moved on to roles at Girl Scouts, as well as Susan G Komen Great Plains. Kristin is now the Unite Us Network Director, Central Region. “Helping to build community is my passion, that’s what brings me to life, and that’s the role in which I want to invest my life,” she adds.
Raj Madhure, VP Network Development, Western US
Raj has worked in the healthcare industry for over 20 years holding titles at both Optum and Kaiser Permanente. He is now the Vice President of Network Development, Western US at Unite Us. “What I loved about Unite Us and what really drew me here was the fact that it’s an organization that is a startup environment, is a technology environment, is related to healthcare but has a social mission,” says Raj.
Gracious Gamiao, Community Engagement Manager, Washington
Gracious pursued her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington, with a focus on community engagement and program evaluation. “I have a background in the nonprofit sector working on community health worker programs, specifically, in my community and the South King County area where there are primarily immigrants, refugees, and people-of-color. For me, it’s really important to be rooted in the work that you do. It carries a lot more weight when I meet with community based organizations because I’m like, ‘I’m your neighbor and I have a vested interest in improving our community together,’” says Gracious.
What/who motivates you to succeed in your role?
Kristin and Gracious are on our Customer Success team, and Raj is on the Network Development team.
Kristin: When you are going through difficulties in your life, you are naturally fatigued because its emotionally draining, and the more you get shuffled around, the more you lose the empowerment to take care of yourself holistically, so helping my community members not fall through the cracks is what motivates me.
Raj: I take very seriously the idea that the whole concept of sales is we want to get more people to use the product. That’s what is exciting to me: how do we get people to want to work with us?
Gracious: Your commitment to the community is crucial to the Community Engagement Manager role, and that’s where it goes back to hiring locally. If you’re from that community, you have a vested interest improving and building on its priorities and the strengths. For me, I’m guided by the work that we do because I know, ultimately, it benefits the larger community that I consider myself a part of, and so I’m driven to respond to emails, to reach out to organizations, and to build these relationships because I know that it can have that long-term impact.
What is your connection to the community you work in?
Kristen’s connection to the Great Plains is pivotal as we support Unite Nebraska. In Washington and California, Unite Us powers networks that are growing daily.
Kristin: In my role at Komen, I covered South Dakota as well as Nebraska and then I lived in Des Moines for seven years, so I know these communities, I’ve lived in them, I’m entrenched in them. Like most communities, having a local footprint is especially important to the Midwest. We want to feel like we’re understood by our neighbors and I think it’s so great that Unite Us is hiring people in local communities because you have a better understanding of the needs that are specific to that community from someone who lives there.
Raj: I have lived in Southern California since I was four years-old. I’ve lived in every different part of Los Angeles, so I very much have had the opportunity to see the disparity within Southern California. I am extremely aware of how the disparities that we have within our neighborhoods look. When I think about what Unite Us does in terms of social services, I’ve had relatives who have needed access to services and fell through the cracks, so I can see how if this had been there 20 years ago, my uncle may not have passed away from all of the healthcare issues he had from being homeless.
Gracious: These are the places that I grocery shop; these are the places where I live and work. This is where my family and I walk; it’s all the social determinants of health and that’s my environment. When I think about Unite Washington, Unite Us, and the role I do, I don’t think about it short-term. I think about it as this very long-term vision because to connect to a community, you can’t do it in a short stint. These relationships take time to grow, to flourish, to cultivate.
How does health equity influence your approach to work with Unite Us?
Unite Us has never been more committed and dedicated than we are right now to fight against injustice, racism, and health disparities that have long impacted communities across the country.
Kristin: We have forgotten members of society and this solution seeks to level the playing field so that no matter your situation you feel like you are seen, you are heard, and you matter.
Raj: The challenge in California sometimes is that we’re so big and there are so many different resources that it’s so easy for people to fall through the cracks. I think something like what we do at Unite Us is all the more critical because it’s even sadder to me if the resources are out there but you’re not getting people to those resources.
Gracious: When I think about health equity, I think about any person based on the intersection of their identities and their communities: could they get access, could they get resources, and be connected in the same way as somebody that has all the privilege? That is the part of our solution and the part of a Community Engagement Manager’s role that intersects with health equity.
At Unite Us, we are so fortunate to have employees that are committed to the communities where they not only work, but live as well. As our partner Dr. Betsey Tilson, Chief Medical Officer for NC Department of Health and Human Services, shared, "What set Unite Us apart was their understanding that technology is just technology and it’s not of value if people don’t actually use it. Unite Us has a deep understanding of and commitment to working with the community." For us, it’s about working together with members of the community to make a lasting impact and, ultimately, that is why hiring locally matters.
Looking to join a mission-driven, community-led team?