Post Parental Leave Employee Resource Group

 An Employee Resource Group is a free employee-led group (open to all MSU employee types including faculty, academic, and support staff) that fosters inclusivity and builds community for those with common lived experiences by providing group discussion and learning opportunities, programming, and platforms for sharing resources. The Post Parental Leave ERG focuses on employees who are returning to work after parental leave. After welcoming a new baby, the initial return to work period can be incredibly stressful emotionally, mentally, and physically for new parents and for their child. The Post Parental Leave ERG focuses on providing support and resources to this group of employees to ease their transition back to the workforce.   
 
The Post Parental Leave ERG meets twice per semester on the second Thursday of October, December, February, and April in the form of Zoom discussion-based sessions.

Below is the Post Parental Leave ERG calendar of events for the 2022-2023 school year: 

October Session - October 13, 2022 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. 
Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with your Spouse/Significant other while Returning to Work (Discussion-Based Virtual Session)  
 
After the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, your relationship with your spouse or significant other can sometimes take second place. There are so many things to consider with a new child in your life, but let’s not forget about the importance of maintaining and strengthening our relationship with our partners during that time as well. Come meet with Dr. Jonathan Blair, of Blair Psychology, to discuss different tips and strategies on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your Spouse/Significant Other while returning to work. This will include concepts around communication, the importance of connection, and overcoming challenges created by the new roles you are juggling as a caregiver and a spouse/significant other.

Dedicated to the belief that healthy relationships matter, Dr. Blair has focused his education, clinical training, and professional practice on helping couples love better and stay together. A native of Lansing, Michigan, Dr. Blair attended the University of Michigan where he obtained his Bachelors Degree in Psychology. From there he attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts where he obtained both his Masters Degree and his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

In addition to his work at Blair Psychology, Dr. Blair is a Senior Staff Psychologist at the University of Michigan's MARI Adult Psychological Clinic where he is responsible for the couples therapy component of their training program. He also holds an adjunct faculty position at Michigan State University where he provides clinical supervision to doctoral candidates working in the Psychological Clinic. Dr. Blair is a Gottman certified Bringing Baby Home educator and works closely with the Sparrow Expectant Parents Organization to provide relationship education to couples making the transition to parenthood. He is also a member of the LifeCouple advisory board.
 
December Session - December 8, 2022 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. 
Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone: Creating Your New Normal (Discussion-Based Virtual Session) 
 
Having a new baby creates an entire new environment, schedule, and list of demands put on the parent/caregiver, which can feel very overwhelming and hard to adjust to. Emily Vliek, LMSW, Therapist at Therapy Today Counseling and Consulting, will lead the 2nd session of the Post Parental Leave Employee Resource Group. Our focus in this session will be to dig deeper and learn how to break out of your comfort zone. This session will include tips and strategies around leaning into the new normal, strategies for support, and owning your new title as a working parent. 
 
Presenter: Emily Vliek- Therapy Today Counseling and Consulting 
Emily Vliek is a Licensed Masters Clinical Social Worker. She provides therapy at Therapy Today Counseling and Consulting in East Lansing. She has over 15 years experience practicing social work in medical as well as home based care. Her areas of focus are in helping adults with depression and anxiety,  with specialties in postpartum and perinatal mood disorders, grief, chronic illness, geriatrics and end-of-life care. When not at work, Emily enjoys attending her kids' many sporting events and being outdoors with her labradoodle.   
 
 
February Session - February 9, 2023 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. 
How to Talk to your Supervisor and Coworkers about your Needs Regarding your Return to Work (Discussion-Based Virtual Session) 
 
During your return to work after the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, you will likely have additional needs and concerns regarding many aspects of your work schedule, environment, and routine. The truth is, you’re returning to work as a parent/caregiver with different responsibilities than when you left, and that’s OK. During this 3rd session of the Post Parental Leave Employee Resource Group, meet with the members of the WorkLife Office to discuss the best ways to keep open lines of communication with your supervisor and coworkers, set boundaries, as well as advocate for yourself as a new parent/caregiver in the workplace.
 
 
April Session - April 13, 2022 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. 
Things to Consider or Plan for Before/While Returning to Work (Discussion-Based Virtual Session) 
 
As a new parent/caregiver returning to the workforce, you’ve probably just started to gain a routine around the house with a new child. Now you’re considering returning to work and questions start to arise. Where will I find childcare? Who will pick up my kindergartner from school on their half days? Will I ever be able to get to the gym again? Join Emily Vliek, LMSW, Therapist at Therapy Today Counseling and Consulting, as well as your fellow Spartans to discuss the different challenges that will require planning and pre-thought before returning to work. You’re not alone! Many of your fellow Spartans are considering the same factors and/or have been through this as well. We look forward to having you join this conversation to discuss what can be done to help you be best prepared emotionally, mentally, physically, and organizationally before returning to work? 
 
Presenter: Emily Vliek- Therapy Today Counseling and Consulting 
Emily Vliek is a Licensed Masters Clinical Social Worker. She provides therapy at Therapy Today Counseling and Consulting in East Lansing. She has over 15 years' experience practicing social work in medical as well as home-based care. Her areas of focus are in helping adults with depression and anxiety, with specialties in postpartum and perinatal mood disorders, grief, chronic illness, geriatrics and end-of-life care. When not at work, Emily enjoys attending her kids' many sporting events and being outdoors with her labradoodle.