Meet Stryker's African Ancestry Network (SAAN)
Updated: Feb 7
We all win when employees feel comfortable sharing their diversity of thought and unique perspectives and feel welcome and comfortable coming to work as their authentic selves. Stryker continues to strive to build an inclusive, engaging environment where employees’ differences are not just embraced, but celebrated. The varied backgrounds of our team members help us create an environment where innovation thrives. One way we continue to make strides to support employees is through our employee resources groups (ERGs).
Fast Facts about Stryker’s African Ancestry Network (SAAN):
Mission: To drive diversity, equity, and inclusion to make Stryker a career destination for Black employees.
Founded: While local chapters of SAAN were established as early as 2016, SAAN National was formally established in 2020.
Where to find SAAN: SAAN is comprised of four regional chapters (North, East, West, and Central). SAAN membership is available to all employees whether they work onsite, in the field, or remotely. Our regional chapters have a presence across the United States and Canada.
In 2016, the first chapter of SAAN was established in Mahwah, New Jersey. Seeing the success, and recognizing the need for more chapters, a team formed in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2017 to extend SAAN’s footprint at our Global Headquarters.
In 2020, it became increasingly clear that companies needed to prioritize understanding Black employees’ experiences – both in and outside of the workplace. Employees across Stryker acknowledged that while some work to break racial barriers had been done, more action was needed and additional chapters of SAAN were established, including SAAN National.
Today, SAAN has hundreds of members that encompass nearly 20 locations and are guided by our national steering team.
Fun fact: Regional chapters are set up based on the headquarters of various Stryker Business Units – not our geography. You may be a member of SAAN Central, but actually work in Redmond, Washington!
Making Stryker more inclusive
How is SAAN living their mission to drive DE&I and make Stryker a career destination for Black talent? Although making Stryker a more inclusive workplace is an ongoing practice that can't be summed up in a paragraph or two, we’ll give you a few highlights on the impact SAAN has on our culture.
Celebrating Black talent: Each of our SAAN chapters looks for opportunities to celebrate and highlight our Black employees. One way this is done is via employee spotlights recognizing our Black employees and accomplishments within the Black community.
Creating community: SAAN is proud to host cultural events surrounding Black History Month (BHM) and Juneteenth. These events allow our employees to gather and learn more about Black culture. BHM events in 2022 included: BHM trivia, a SAAN Town Hall welcoming guest Allan Golston (President of the United States Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), a SAAN Forum discussing the impacts of COVID-19 on the Black Community, and a History of African Cuisine event that offered a chef’s tasting menu of regional cuisines with education on the origins and cultural impact of each dish. Events aren’t limited to BHM and Juneteenth though and are throughout the year; SAAN also hosts happy hours and community events giving teams a chance to connect with one another outside their day-to-day roles.
Encouraging authenticity: Following the murders of George Floyd and Ahmad Aubery, members of SAAN stood up, spoke out, and led transparent and educational conversations with their peers on how these events impacted them. The support received from these conversations, created a sense of safety, allowing others to feel more comfortable having difficult conversations about being Black in America and at Stryker.
Supporting career growth: SAAN is proud to support formal mentorship programs throughout Stryker including the SAAN Leadership Development Program. This program pairs Stryker employees with an internal mentor, and an external leadership coach for six months to work on career development. Additionally, SAAN has partnered with other Stryker ERGs including Stryker’s Women’s Network to launch cross-over mentorship programs. In 2022, the two ERGs kicked off Personal Agency in Professional Settings, a pilot development program for women of color that focuses on the common experiences and unique circumstances facing women of color in the workplace.
A career destination for all talent
Since its inception, SAAN has been heavily involved in numerous panel discussions and events that have played a strong role in the push to increase and improve our diversity hiring practices.
Looking into the future, SAAN has five strategic priorities that guide their actions.
People: Create a space for Black employees and allies to share experiences, connect and further inclusion
Recruiting: Increase Black candidate pool
Influence: Influence organizational change to support an inclusive and equitable culture
Development: Facilitate opportunities for Black employees to reach their full potential
Education: Provide perspective to encourage organizational collaboration
These imperatives all feed into making Stryker THE destination for Black talent.
What SAAN means to the Stryker team
“I am involved with SAAN because I am passionate about creating platforms for individuals to do what they do best no matter their backgrounds. I believe that Stryker is a talent-based company and if we have a safe space to be able to identify, express, and elevate those talents, then we are all better as an organization. SAAN also provides a place for people to connect with similar interests and backgrounds. Whether you are a member or ally, SAAN is a place where we can all encourage one another and make this the top work destination for minority talent!” – Jeremy T. | SAAN Central President
“I joined SAAN for its rich sense of community. I also wanted to make more meaningful connections with my fellow Stryker colleagues, but also make a positive impact on how we attract and retain diverse talent at Stryker.” – Candice L. | SAAN Member
“Here at Stryker, our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion is an important part of our culture. This includes a focus on employee resource groups like SAAN, whose mission is to make Stryker a career destination for Black employees. I am proud to lead SAAN because it is my responsibility to help foster and drive an inclusive environment that enables opportunities for other diverse employees to be successful, just like others have done for me throughout my career.” – Preston W. | SAAN National President
“I have learned more about the Black experience in my two years with SAAN than I did in the two decades before I joined. The people I have had the privilege to work with in SAAN are amazing, and I am grateful to be able to help others grow. It has been an enriching experience and I am a stronger ally and a better person because of it.” - Lianne S. | SAAN Central Executive Sponsor
“There are many reasons why I joined SAAN, but my overwhelming motivation was to be a leader in the effort to significantly enhance the careers of the talented Black men and women at Stryker. My passion is to help develop and provide resources to our employees that can level the playing field and create opportunity for those who seek it. SAAN has provided me with a unique opportunity to establish a network of individuals driven to advance our DE&I initiatives. Together, I am excited to see how we continue to shape the narrative of making Stryker a career destination for Black employees. “ – Greg T. | SAAN East Coast President
"Being a member of SAAN has given me a greater sense of community at Stryker. I am proud to be a part of an organization that fosters diversity, inclusion, and equity to meet our company’s mission and values." - Ashley T. | SAAN West Coast Vice President