Employee Voices

Shining a Light So Everyone Blossoms

Meet two McKesson employees who celebrate Native and Indigenous heritage in the UNITY ERG.



Read Time: 5 minutes

In less than a quarter-century, Native American Heritage Month has grown to promote vibrant opportunities to honor the history, ancestry, contributions, and culture of Native Americans. Last year, McKesson colleagues launched UNITY, an employee resource group (ERG) for Native and Indigenous employees that has quickly grown to hundreds of members, all celebrating these traditions this month.

Meet two McKesson employees whose active participation in UNITY is helping inform and inspire ERG members to build a rich community of professional and personal growth for all employees.

Sharon Longwell: Vice President of McKesson Health Systems National Accounts and McKesson Plasma and Blood Support Services, Pharmaceutical Solutions and Services

Sharon and Laura standing together

Sharon and her daughter, UNITY founder Laura Longwell

After 35 years – and counting – with McKesson, Sharon has amassed a variety of official and unofficial roles.

Today, she and her team help ensure the company’s hospital and acute care customers have the right drug, at the right price, at the right time.

But she sees her primary responsibility as much more fundamental.

“My biggest leadership role is to eliminate obstacles so people can do what they need to do for McKesson, our community, and our health care, while reaching their own goals as well,” Sharon says.

This self-described “Mama Bear” for her McKesson family is also the real mother of co-worker Laura Longwell, senior instructional and graphic designer, and co-founder of the UNITY ERG. Incidentally, Sharon first learned about UNITY when she received the company-wide email with its membership invitation. She says she couldn’t be prouder of her daughter.

“I am the wife and mother of members of the Great Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma,” Sharon says. “As such, I am passionate to ensure my children appreciate their heritage: the relatives who paved roads and opportunities for them, and the strength that runs through their blood.”

In its first meeting, UNITY signed on 50 members, and in its first year, it has surpassed 500.

“It’s been amazing,” Sharon says. “We have the granddaughter of a World War II Navajo Code Talker, the niece of a founder of the American Indian Movement, and tribal members spanning North and South America.”

Over the years, Sharon has held ERG leadership roles with Women Empowered (WE); McKesson Military Resource Group (MMRG); Pride, for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies, where Laura is also active; and now, UNITY.

“I’m an executive sponsor for PRIDE and UNITY in Las Colinas, Texas,” she says. “I serve as a sounding board to help them accomplish their ideas. I love learning more about their passions, their heritage, what’s important to them, and what makes them tick. It helps me become a better leader and, I hope, a better person.”

Sharon believes that ERGs are critical to McKesson’s ability to gather and retain a diverse and inclusive associate pool, and to grow and create leaders.

“You cannot shine if you are trying to hide or cover up part of what makes you great,” she says. “Nothing grows in the shadows. The more we learn about each other, the more we can support and advance each other. By McKesson allowing its employees time and resources to shine a light on their whole self, everyone blossoms. It’s how we can all work together to make McKesson the best place to learn and grow, and also to make our world a better place to live.”

Dana Goldsmith: Senior Payroll Tax Analyst, McKesson Corporate

Dana Goldsmith and her family

Dana with her husband, Aaron, and their youngest daughter, Delaney Mason

When Dana saw the email announcing the new UNITY ERG in 2021, she knew it was the group for her.

“I am Native American and a proud member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana,” she says. “Joining UNITY is a wonderful opportunity to share my experience of being a member of a federally recognized tribe, the struggles that some of our members have gone through, and the excitement of how far we have come. It's very close to my heart.”

Dana quickly became a UNITY board member. Her first priority was to spread the word, and she emailed colleagues she knew across her office campus in The Woodlands, Texas, to encourage them to get involved. Then she began promoting the group’s activities, such as its annual Heritage Month events.

“We grew our membership quickly, which I like to think means we’re having a positive impact and people are interested in what we're doing,” she says. “At the same time, I expanded my network and built meaningful relationships with colleagues from other departments and locations that I would normally not have interacted with. It has given me a sense of community.”

Dana also appreciates the professional growth and development opportunities UNITY has afforded her.

“My husband and I own a small promotional products business, Native Promo, so I have management experience in addition to my McKesson role,” she explains. “But as an ERG board member, you build strong leadership skills when it comes to organizing, setting up projects, and collaborating to engage members. Turning our cameras on during board meetings has helped me with public speaking. And I recently got a promotion that I believe was, in part, a result of these experiences.”

Dana advocates for all McKesson employees to get active with an ERG that’s important to them.

“Whatever you put into that ERG will make you feel more like you belong,” she says. “I've been with McKesson for 12 years, and I’ve always felt like I belong, but now that connection is even stronger. It also promotes growth for our company. So many people don’t even realize they receive medications distributed through McKesson, but this company has such a meaningful impact on so many lives. Knowing I’m part of that process, and being part of initiatives such as UNITY, all combine to make McKesson a great place to work.”