For Snow, It’s All About the Same Differences

Story by Levell Williams

Everyone Say ‘CRG’ — Michael Snow’s selfie with members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Colleague Resource Group.

One day, while waiting in his supervisor’s office for a meeting, Michael Snow sat behind her desk and envisioned himself as a healthcare leader.

A native of Hartford’s North End, Snow grew up helping his single mom make ends meet for him and his younger brother. A job with an office always seemed out of reach.

But, when his supervisor and mentor Elaine Barbera stepped into the doorframe, she remarked, “You look comfortable in that chair, like this is something you could do.” That comment planted a seed of greater aspirations that Snow has nurtured ever since.

Over the next 10 years, he cultivated that seed, earning multiple sterile processing certifications and an associate’s degree and ascending to the role of manager, sterile processing at the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute. His career progressing, he joined the Black and African American (BAA) Colleague Resource Group (CRG) to support others.

He liked the group’s mission to engage and elevate frequently marginalized groups through networking, mentoring, social and workplace collaboration. But he didn’t stop there.

This year, HHC’s four CRGs – Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI), BAA, LGBTQ+ and SOMOS (Hispanic/Latine) – started working more closely together and participating in each other’s events. Snow assisted with community efforts like a backpack giveaway led by the BAA CRG and a food and diaper drive hosted by SO-MOS and LGBTQ+. He also had fun at events, joining AAPI at the dragon boat festival.

Before he knew it, Snow formed friendships across the system, met executive leaders at events. And joined all four CRGs.

“It just happened organically,” he says.

Inspired by the group’s insights groups, Snow adopted workplace practices that help foster a more inclusive work environment — his email signature now includes his preferred pro-nouns and name pronunciation, practices gained from the LGBTQ+ and AAPI CRGs.

Even given his success, Snow says his CRG involvement remains grounded in inspiring others to feel comfortable at work and know they’re not alone.

“It all comes back to understanding what it’s like to look, feel and be different,” he says.