Flexing Her Entrepreneurial Spirit: What’s UpNext with Emily K.
January 16, 2019 | Express Scripts
Emily K. is a human resource business partner and founder of Employee Resource Group UpNext at Express Scripts. She is also an experienced and avid baker, alongside her cousins and sister-in-law. Her baking even inspired their very own blog. (She’s pictured here with her husband.)
During my nine years at Express Scripts, I’ve learned it’s a place where you can have an idea today and start working to implement it tomorrow. And that’s exactly how UpNext, an employee resource group focused on empowering today’s professionals to take on tomorrow’s challenges, was formed.
After interning in Express Scripts’ Competitive Intelligence department for two summers, I officially started my career as a testing operations analyst. During this time, I partnered with other former Express Scripts interns who became full-time employees to revive GenNext, a United Way Chapter in St. Louis that creates a community for young professionals by pairing members with meaningful community service activities. Community service has always been a passion of mine, and I saw my involvement with GenNext as an opportunity to not only do something I love but also develop and hone my leadership skills. Shortly after becoming a member, I became the President of the Express Scripts Chapter.
As I was finishing my MBA, I had the opportunity to bring my improved leadership skills and passion for volunteerism together as I morphed GenNext into an official Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Express Scripts. UpNext became an ERG focused on helping employees develop themselves, grow their network, and serve the community. This has been a major highlight in my career at Express Scripts, as I found that if you have a dream you can make it happen here!
Through UpNext’s launch, I was able to flex my entrepreneurial spirit as we created a brand and executed a strategy that led UpNext to reach employees of all levels across the company. Additionally, UpNext was the first ERG to establish chapters at Express Scripts sites beyond our headquarters, as well as have a dedication to reaching our employees who work virtually.
My experience with UpNext has allowed me to not only grow my network but also uncover my passion for helping employees find their right fit within Express Scripts, which ultimately led me to a new career path within Human Resources. About six months ago, I chose to accept a role as a human resource business partner where I’m asked to work with the business on all things talent-related, whether it is strategizing on engaging and retaining talent, evolving organizational designs to advance with the dynamic market, advising and partnering with the Business to develop their employees or strategizing and delivering on talent plans. Every group is different as is every day, so I make sure I am nimble to pivot where needed to help them meet their objectives and goals.
Before employee resource groups existed, I found that it was truly up to me to raise my hand to work on my development, whether that was working with my leader, finding a mentor, or developing an ERG. My goal for UpNext is to be a place where employees have resources at their fingertips to help them grow at Express Scripts, whether it is taking advantage of our Development Dash, our Virtual Book Club, using UpNext meetings to expand their network, or volunteering in their community.
What I have gotten out of my time with UpNext is invaluable. By founding the group with my GenNext leadership team, I worked on thinking bigger and bolder as we created a strategy and a brand for UpNext. As the President, I learned about building relationships at all levels of the company and across various departments. UpNext taught me that authenticity and hard work will take you where you need to go. It also taught me that not every person thinks or acts the same, and I need to be able to adapt to those different than I.
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