top of page

invariant dialogue for change | all about employee resource groups

Invariant's Dialogue for Change


Unknown Speaker 0:01


Nicole Venable | Invariant 0:02

my name is Nicole Venable and I work with various clients on their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and I lead our firm's drive committee. Dr stands for diversity, respect, inclusion, values and equity. On behalf of all my colleagues here at invariant, I'm pleased to welcome you to our seventh dialogue for change. dialogue for changes our series focused on critical conversations about racial injustice, inequality, and the actions we can we can take to influence change in the public and private sectors. Through our series we asked what can CEOs what can employees and what can individuals do to enact change? Today's discussion examines the central role of Employee Resource resource groups or er G's. Er G's often called affinity groups or voluntary employee led groups generally composed of individuals with common backgrounds such as race, gender, or ethnicity. originally created to be supportive social networks, er G's have evolved into think tanks guiding everything from business strategy to concrete, successful and innovative solutions for today's and companies problems. Today, 90% of Fortune 500 companies have er DS, and about 8.5% of those employees are actively engaged with them. As the American workforce becomes more diverse engagement with er G's continues to grow, especially among millennial employees. And invariant we work with many of our clients on dei programs and have engaged with their er G's directly. Today, we've assembled a stellar group to tell you about some of the work that they've been doing. We have Carlos Butler Valle from McDonald's, Ashley Schuler from workday, Kenny Thompson from PepsiCo and Sam Warren from GlaxoSmithKline. All of them will discuss the work to engage their args and talk about some of their innovative programs. Then we will have a one on one conversation with Danielle price, one of the country's leading dei specialists who will share guidance, best practices and pitfalls to avoid and appreciation for their participation today. In variant we'll be making contributions to each of the panelists favorite charities, which include the center on Halstead interactive Wake County, crowds, the Children's Center Spelman College, in the Innocence Project of Texas. So with that, I'm pleased to introduce our panelists today. First, we have Carlos Butler bow. He is the Director of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for McDonald's, where he oversees the strategy and operations for the company's global employee business networks and leads the work and am focus of the US Diversity Council. Ashley Schuler is the is the senior quality assurance engineer for workday, where she also pioneered the company's first employee resource group for black employees. Kenny Thompson is the head of External Affairs for PepsiCo, where he leads Pepsi's North American strategic development, creation and implementation of innovative partnerships with different stakeholders. He drives and he stakeholders in partnerships with that drive business growth and social impact. And he works with the company's er G's that was a little hard to get out, but I made it through. Sam Warren is the manager of inclusion and diversity for GlaxoSmithKline. So you can see we brought a mix of people who oversee er G's and some who they all engaged directly, and one who was innovative and starting one. So with that, I'd like to ask each panelist to kind of talk about some of their er G's, what they do, and some of the innovative programs that they have incorporated with their er G's. And we're gonna start with Carlos. So Carlos, can you talk to us about what's been going on at McDonald's? Yeah,

Carlos 4:00

absolutely. First and foremost, thanks for the opportunity to engage with all of you today. This is obviously a passion of mine. And so I'm really excited to have the opportunity to come together to discuss this. I've been at McDonald's for a little bit over a year and a half. And in that time, we've gone from having about 1500 members in our employee business networks to having roughly 40 100, which is I think, fantastic. When you're talking about growth and just opportunity to, to connect with people. And if you if you imagine, since January, I think even that's obviously been I think, traditionally what we would think is a little bit tougher, right? Because everybody's been sort of, you know, Shawn sheltering in place to some extent, but truly, you know, what we've done at McDonald's is really leverage this opportunity to create additional engagement opportunities and opportunities for awareness and really to ultimately drive action. So we have about I mentioned we have about 4800 that's actually In the US alone, we have a total of over 100 chapters throughout the globe. And so it's my responsibility to work with all of those chapters and make sure that they have the tools, the resources, the knowledge, the information that they need in order for them to really, ultimately accomplish what they want. And what we really want to make sure that we do. Because the reality is that our networks are truly enablers of rd AI strategy. And so really making sure that we're making that front and center and that we're not just taking and taking and taking from our networks, but also really giving an improving that value proposition. So those are the some of the things that we have been engaged with. And truly, it's a work in progress. But, you know, I think that always amazes me that there are so many people that have such a passion to be able to do this, and can really find the time in addition to what they're already doing it for work, not just for work. But one of the big things that we talked about, especially through COVID is folks who are members who also are caretakers, you know, and just that added responsibility, but can still find the passion to do this, because they not only see the benefit, but also see the impact.

Unknown Speaker 6:17

Great, thank you, Carlos, was there a particular story or some innovative program that you might want to highlight today?

Unknown Speaker 6:22

Yeah, absolutely. I just wanted to make sure I was still good on time. So one of the things that we have recently done, and I think probably some of the companies here as well, when we started going into the sheltering in place, you know, during COVID, we realized that there really was an opportunity, a lot of research was coming out talking specifically about working mothers, and working parents. And you know, the added stress of not only the uncertainty, but also having to worry about their children not being you know, in school potentially. And again, I mentioned the caretaker component. So we really elevated our working parents business network to become a true support group. And, and really leverage the fact that we were able to do a lot of virtual programming to make sure that they were able to connect with each other, it was one thing for us to just send out a bunch of resources that we were getting from other folks. But there was nothing better than the opportunity for people to have an open, safe place to be able to talk about some of the challenges that they were facing. And you know, some of them shared things like curriculum that they had put together for their own children based on different age groups that they were in virtual. We work with the Field Museum here in Chicago to put together some virtual sessions as well, for the kiddos. And, and for the parents alike. And so I think it was a really great opportunity. And that really kicked off how we were able to also really leverage and, and really leverage the rest of our networks, it took that idea of a safe space, and took it even further. And and really, we wanted to make sure that it wasn't something that was led by us that it was something that was led by our working parents, but supported by us. And that includes even some of the additions that we made in terms of benefits as well. So, you know, I think that's one quick example. But that certainly, I think, something along the lines of what I think so far has been a really big win for us.

Unknown Speaker 8:21

Great, thank you. Now I'm excited to turn to Ashley Schuler, who's with workday. Ashley sort of has this distinction is she is one of the people who said we need an ER g at workday and took the initiative and started it. So I'm really interested to hear what you have to say, Ashley, so the floor is yours. Awesome. Thank

Unknown Speaker 8:40

you so much for having me. So at workday, we call our args employee belonging councils. And so when we started our councils back in 2015, yes, 2015 for our black employees, which we call ourself the talented 10th. And we recently rebrand to black at workday to be more globally inclusive, and just to have a name that people knew exactly who we were and kind of what we stood for what we stand for. But black, that workday was established on the basis to ensure that in the eyes of all employees that we see a diverse and equitable workspace, our primary focus at that time and even still today was to really be a strategic business resource to the business and really a soundboard for our leaders to bounce ideas off of and really just to collaborate and think about where we want it to be in this space in the future. But from a, I guess, a membership perspective, our commitment as a leadership team, has been to really create a way a safe space for our members and our allies to be their best selves. There's a lot going on and so it's nice to always have that community to come back and just, you know, let your hair down a bit. But also we were focused on you know, developing skills that they probably could not really Do on their, in their current roles as are thinking about future opportunities. But you know, we have a place for them to do that. But additionally, I think from an innovation perspective, I think the the pivotal moment for us. And I think the most impactful achievement that we always kind of go back to and talk about, was when we created our series called being comfortable with being uncomfortable back in 2016. And that, you know, that series was kind of from what we heard across talking with our peers and other black er G's at other companies. It was kind of a first of its kind kind of event to talk about, you know, taboo topics of discussion in the workplace. And it did create a safe space for us to really increase cultural awareness and just, you know, have more empathy and understanding for our workmates. You know, we're at work more than we're at home. And so it was really key for us to have this dialogue. But our very first one I'll speak to this one really quick was racial injustice and se we're kind of almost back here again, but that was in 2016. And, and we talked about how the things that we encounter in our communities and how how it impacts us in the in the workplace. And this was our first time that we as EBC talked about Black Lives Matter and kind of talk about what it is and what it's not. We had members and allies on a panel really talking about, you know, how this area really impacts them personally, and the things that they've experienced. And we had a group of leaders that were there, the state even afterwards and we you know, broke into smaller groups and just dived in on certain issues and and we felt like that was just so key, because it was a time and in our country, in our in, even in our history of our company to really talk about things that we hadn't talked about before. And it's also been nice that other args blood next dossier has had those same conversations around immigration and dreamers or what have you. But I would just say that that series really has inspired me and empower myself and other leaders and workmates. Sorry, we call each other workmates at work. But it's gotten Oh, this is allowed us to all get involved and really start to support each other from an equity and more. And, you know, creating that environment for all. So thank you.

Unknown Speaker 12:24

Oh, great. Thank you for sharing that. I think that's one best practice that we can talk about, especially for companies that are multinational. Like I think people often think you want to focus on African Americans. But really, there's a diaspora in that experience. And I think it's interesting that you all shifted the name to reflect that. So thank you for sharing that with us. Now, I'm gonna turn to Kenny Thompson from Pepsi. Kenny's got sort of line of sight across all of the ER G's in Pepsi. And so I invite him to the floor to talk about some of the things that they've done.

Unknown Speaker 12:55

Thanks, Nicole. Thanks, everybody, for joining today is the coalition I have the opportunity to work across all of our er G's. I am a member of mosaic or African American marriage, but because of my role in our public policy space, I get the opportunity to work across our all of them. So it's been really awesome to see the evolution of how we activate and engage our yardies. I've been in PepsiCo for seven years. Now, when I first started, our eg theologies were very active three internal focus, you know, building that community and making sure folks had company at the workplace, the course of my time at PepsiCo, and through the evolution of our overall engagement strategy at the community level, so has our relationships with our er G's. We've been able to activate our er G's across every community that we have employees, ranging from, you know, small cities, the big towns where we've got communities, folks who want to be engaged in our community. And one of the best things I think about PepsiCo is, we don't have a top down approach. I've found that if we can plug in our er G's on the front end, and they can tell us specifically what's happening in those communities, we can best develop partnerships that fits that model. So you'll see something different in Dallas than you'll see in Oakland, all across the country purely based on what our args and our employee base was telling us what is needed in those communities. So I am particularly this year, I think all of us have had roll at home. So obviously this is a strange year for all of us. But during the COVID I guess during COVID and, you know, the racial injustice that occurred earlier this year, and obviously during the election, our era has played a critical role and activating all of our community engagement from PP distribution to backpacks for kids going back to school to voter registration, you name it, and this is What's coming from them? I one thing I'll say is, if there's something going on in the community, and we're not doing something about it, I guarantee you, I will get an email from an AARP member, I promise you, they will reach out. And that is the kind of employee base that the active employee base that really helps to drive our public policy really helps drive our community engagement. So they've been a huge asset across across the country. So I'm looking forward to conversation. I think this is a great topic. A lot of folks don't really know what Dr. G's do and how they're incorporated in communities and businesses alike. So thanks again for having me.

Unknown Speaker 15:37

Great. And I love that you were talking about how the ER G's really shaped the partners and the types of things you were doing per community. I think sometimes people think you make a template, you you give that to er, G's around, and you just do that one thing. So I think it's really interesting to hear you say that, and what actually works differently in different communities. So appreciate that. Sam have with GSK, she's got some some to tell us about the ER g that they have at GSK, which is called Mosaic, and talking about some of the other ones. So Sam, if you you would be so kind as to share with us some information. Yeah, I would love to. So first of all, I'd have to say on behalf of GSK, not your GE network. Thank you so much for having us participate in this panel today, at GSK. Our energies are absolutely central to our ind strategy, quite frankly, we see them as very much an extension of our formal ind team. I have the pleasure, like Kenny to walk work across all 12 of our energies. And those energies span a number of diversity dimensions, from gender to sexual orientation to ethnicity to ability. And then we also have energies that center veteran status, disease awareness and support and career development. Like he is at many companies, our energies have been on quite a journey. And the focus has shifted significantly, we started as affinity groups, you know, really focused on food and fun, not that we don't care about food and fun. But we've evolved now we're more strategically aligned to the DNI and the business strategy. So as a result, we've developed a number of innovations that range from developing packaging design for some of our medical products, ensuring that they're accessible for most, we support our recruitment efforts on the ground, we provide marketing support and beyond. So today, I'd just like to quickly share just a novel approach that our patient advocacy and Education team took to kind of leverage the talents and insights of our mosaic energy, which is our African American and African diasporic, focused energy. So we have a patient education and advocacy team, and they were working on a lupus project. And they realized that there was a significant breakdown between the communication that needs to happen between patients, excuse me, lupus patients, and healthcare practitioners. And that was actually resulting in adequate treatment amongst lupus patients. And I think everyone probably knows that lupus disproportionately impacts black and brown people, particularly women. So the team reached out to the mosaic energy, specifically those that self identified as having a personal relationship with lupus either as a patient or caregiver to collect insights for two reasons, one to really get behind and understand the relationship that black and brown women are having with their

Unknown Speaker 18:48

communication. And then secondly, to really understand what are the best ways to engage with the communities that are impacted. So this led to a number of discussions over several weeks, they collected data and analyzed it and they were actually able to use all the data collected from the mosaic er G, to build on it to create a non promotional lupus education program, which we're really, really proud of, we were able to launch that program across the United States through a number of different engagements. And through a number of different channels. The campaign is called us and lupus, you can certainly, you know, check it out a little bit later. But we were able to launch a couple of patient and community collaborations that we're proud of one being a partnership with NARS and Sephora, where we created a night of beauty across a number of cities across the United States, where we completely centered women who either have lupus or are caregivers to lupus patients so that they can spend some time on themselves and spend some time really learning more about lupus to position them to be more empowered. And to self advocate when it comes to their care. We also took this non promotional education campaign to a number of conferences, like healthy churches 2020, that, you know, centers around the importance of faith in the African American and Latin communities, and also a women's empowerment workshop, which is attended by 1000s of women in the Raleigh North Carolina area. And of course, you know, like everyone, we certainly leveraged our social channels. So the program was, you know, very successful, we're quite proud of it. And it just serves as you know, one of the many examples of how tsk, actually leverages the talents and insights of our energies to support our dei and business objectives. Wow, I just want to say wow, on that, because there was so much to unpack there. And it's just amazing how the company really worked with I think the ER G and got so much benefit from that. So thank you, for everyone, for sharing those. I think we're gonna go into some q&a for the whole panel now. So Carlos, given that your across all of your er G's, how were you able to really get and ensure that you have sort of C suite buy in from the work with er, G's? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 21:17

that's, if I'm being honest, I think that's an ongoing process. Right. Um, you know, first and foremost, I learned very early on in this work that, you know, there's the head and the heart approach for this, you know, for this type of work. And, you know, as, as I think, type, you know, optimistic as you want to be about the fact that you think people will dedicate the time to do this, you have to really make sure that you're making the business case for this work. And so I think very early on, and I mentioned, you mentioned in the intro, that I also oversee the US Diversity Council, you know, so, so early on, it was really about first and foremost, making sure that we were creating opportunities for education around what the network's actually do, what's their purpose? What's their mission? And, you know, what are they ultimately trying to drive, I think it was also making sure that our leaders knew and understood that our networks were kind of that frontline defense, you know, that they were really the enablers and that they were giving, you know, that all of that HR stuff that they're that they've been scared out of doing that we can leverage the networks to be able to do just that, and just the mere fact that they're there that they're present, even if they don't speak, you know, it makes a big difference for people, and it truly has, I mean, you can see, I'll give you an example, our us, our president of McDonald's USA, was on one of the webcast completely unannounced, you know, nobody knew that he was going to be showing up. But I mean, the the chat board just lit up with people, you know, just being thankful and expressing a sense of gratitude that that he was there just to listen and learn. And so, you know, we were able to leverage those examples. And that's another thing I'll actually take, I think it's great if you can get one even leader on board and really excited about this. I've learned from very early on that leaders have a sense of competitiveness around this work. And so if you give visibility to something that a particular leader has done, all of a sudden, other people start going, Oh, well, wait a minute or so and so was there, I wasn't there. That's not okay. So I think that's, you know, that's certainly an opportunity. And the reality is, I think, I think a really great way to get leaders involved is to start creating a list of small wins. And I think those small wins, you know, and making sure that you're giving visibility to on that. And then those small wins start turning into really big wins. And I think, you know, once leaders start to make that connection between the fact that this isn't just a bunch of people coming together, because they're disgruntled or because they, you know, they're unhappy, or whatever it is, but these are folks who have great business ideas. These are folks to Kenny's point that are keeping us on our toes in terms of community engagement and involvement that won't let us continue to sit idly by and not take a public stance on certain things that are the right things to do, that are a microcosm of our consumers. I think all of those things really helped to continue to not only create that engaged engagement, but really drive that can gain engagement in a very consistent way.

Unknown Speaker 24:34

Thank you for that. I think it's sort of dovetails with some of what Ashley was talking about. Ashley, you talked about like this, this uncomfortable conversation that you had, and it made me think about, you know, early on in the development of er, G's, they were really around, you know, sort of the black group or the Latino group. And then there was some pushback from let's call them the allies, right. So you had people who were not involved in args, feeling like That sometimes the ER Geez, we're getting special treatment or special things. So Ashley, or if there is someone else that wants to talk about this, how do you bring in allies to the work of some of these er, G's or these affinity groups? And how do you make them feel like they're a part and they're welcome to the conversation?

Unknown Speaker 25:20

Sure, so,

Unknown Speaker 25:22

since day one, we've had allies, and we've been able to, again, with our programming, you know, they're coming in passionate about a particular topic. And so when we started, we had created three pillars, recruiting, engagement and whatnot. And so when we started working out in the community, that's when we started to see our allies really showing up and, you know, being facilitators to our events that we were having with our students, because they felt like, Hey, I have a particular skill or a story to share. And so this is my way of giving back to my community is starting to help move the needle in some of these inequities.

Unknown Speaker 26:01

All right, and while I'm on you, you know, you started workdays, first one, are there any tips that you would give? If there's an employee on here who says, Hey, we don't have one of these? And I want to start one? Is there any kind of advice that you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 26:14

Yeah, so

Unknown Speaker 26:15

there's a whole lot, I almost, I'll just give them three little nuggets of advice. I think one is just really to, you know, find a leader that's truly passionate, motivated, driven, goal oriented, and really comfortable speaking up and speaking to leaders about whatever things that arise in the in that space. Because often our energy leaders are the ones that's really setting the pace for the group, and ensuring that we're, you know, ensuring that we're hitting our commitments, right, if we're telling the business, we're going to do something, we have to have a leader that's going to help us do that. And then also, like I said, Be that advocate for those who don't want to speak up. Another thing is just we have to organize as, like a small business, have a good mission, good vision, clear goals, understand kind of when to insert yourself into the business, and when when not to, but just really understanding the you know, where you fit in the larger scheme. And I think the last thing is really be true to yourself and to your culture. And you know, what you stand for, you know, when you're pioneering something, or starting something that seems a little bit, you know, on the edge, you know, you're going to be met with some resistance, some hesitation. But, you know, it's important for you to be okay with educating others on things that they don't know. And then you also have to be one, educate yourself, you know, I've come from a little small town in Texas. And my experience is very different from those in New York, or even in Dublin, Ireland. And so it's important for you to be knowledgeable about your history and what you're trying to do for the company.

Unknown Speaker 27:49

Great. Kenny, actually mentioned something and she said, one of the things you have to be aware of is when to insert yourself into the business lines. So I mean, I think that we all understand now that er, G's can play a big role in helping with marketing and helping like consumer products. But But if the ER g hasn't made that pivot from, as Sam mentioned, the fund and the food, how do they make that Kenny, how do they make that pivot? And how do they start making a case to the C suite that they actually can help the business lines? How do they make that case? And and what was what were some of the things that that happened to Pepsi in this regard?

Unknown Speaker 28:29

I think what's really, really interesting about PepsiCo is that so many of our yardie members are in the business, right? So they are the ones who are telling us the cook the corporate folks, what's working and what doesn't work in the community and business level, right? So having their experience having them tell us, hey, this won't work. Because XYZ, here's a, here's a initiative that we're launching in the business that you may may help be helpful to corporate team. That's the kind of information that is extremely beneficial for us as we think about how to develop community engagement programs. So like I said earlier, it's really be lean on them, or this type of type of Intel on the business front, on the community front, because they're actually in ingrained in our business every day. So being able to call upon them to say, Hey, listen, we're thinking about this. Is this a good idea? Maybe, maybe not. But having that connection to the business is crucial as we think about how we develop these programs.

Unknown Speaker 29:29

Great. And Sammy, you know, you clearly have a number of er G's and I love that you because we got received some questions about sort of disability, people with disabilities and other things. And so er, G's can be any type of group of people to get together. Can you also talk a little bit about how er G's can help with recruiting for companies and add value there? Yeah, absolutely. So our IR G's all of them really across the entire network have been involved in recruitment efforts. The majority of connection that we see is through recruitment fairs, either at the university level or beyond, because oftentimes, when someone's looking for a job, they have very specific questions. They want to know, what is the culture, you know, at GSK? What is your sense of belonging at GSK? For open roll x? Can you let me know organizationally, how it's set up? Or let me know specifically what's happening? With that role? What can I expect on a day in the life off, so we often will have energy leads that attend those spheres. In addition, we have your team members that support our recruitment team at conferences. So whether it's the National Black NBA conference, or whether it's out and equal, which focuses on the lbgtq plus community, our IR j members are right on the lines to support those very efforts. Another interesting discussion is just making sure that we have an understanding of what the recruitment goals and objectives are, and just staying connected on a regular cadence to see, you know, are we actually meeting our ambitions and our aspirations? And if we're not, we have mechanisms in place to kind of hold each other accountable. So there's just I mean, our IR G's are an absolute lockstep with our recruitment team, especially these days. Thank you. So we have a couple of questions that have come from some of the participants who are listening in. And so I'm going to throw this to the panel. And if anybody wants to take this poll, just just grab it. The first question we've got is, again, for multinational corporations that have employees in different countries, how do you how do you bring them and employees and other countries together in some of these grG or affinity groups? Would anyone like to talk about that?

Unknown Speaker 31:58

Yeah, I will. Yeah, I think for us, Africa, we've got not only an active employee base here in North America, but globally. So what I think is best about PepsiCo, I keep saying that, there's a lot of good things about that. So we are very community based around the globe. So you know, whatever we're doing in our MENA region, very focused on that. And so thinking about the very specific programs and very specific initiatives that we're launching, it's very targeted to different regions. And I think for us having that having sort of the the ethos, we want you to be involved in our community engagement efforts, even if it's not in your portfolio, we encourage you to do things outside of work on behalf of the communities that you're living in working. So that's sort of the ethos that we have across the company. And I think that is really shows by how many folks are engaged. mariology?

Unknown Speaker 32:57

Great. Carlos, I know you talked a little bit about sort of this pandemic, and how some of the ER G's are able to confront some issues. But does anybody have any more about keeping employees engaged through this prolonged pandemic? And while everyone's in this new virtual world, any good examples of things that have worked or that you guys used? Yeah, this This is Sam, I'm happy to weigh in, we've done a couple things, I think the first thing that we've done is to show ourselves a little bit of grace. You know, there's a lot happening in our homes and our businesses, you know, we're taking on responsibilities, you know, at the same time, but we've never done before. So we're just trying to show ourselves some grace. So a small example is, if we're running an energy meeting, or di meeting, and, you know, you're not feeling like you're ready for primetime, maybe you don't need to be on the video. And that's okay. Other things we're doing is we're having more personal check ins. So with a lot of the travel restrictions in the COVID restrictions that vary from city to city, we aren't able to actually get together, you know, and connect. So we're doing more meetings where we actually spend a little bit of time talking about business, but let's have a cocktail too, and catch up on you know, how you're doing personally. We're also managing this through programming of late in particular, we brought in some really high profile speakers that have excelled, you know, in their in their careers, and they come in and inspire us and kind of, you know, keep us focused and remember why we do what we do. And then another one that I don't particularly engage in, but it seems to be very effective for many is the use of exercise. There are a lot of walking meetings that are happening, you know, throw on your headphones and handle your business as you take a couple laps around the community. So, you know, we're just trying to stay active and engaged and to keep our you know, morale and energy and enthusiasm up. Great. Those are some great ideas. We got a question about Whether or not any of the ER G's have sponsored conferences, and I, you talked a little bit about some panelists, but I don't know if any, anyone else has any examples where the ER g went to leadership and said, We have like a conference idea and want to put one on four for each other and for our community. Does anybody have any examples of that? Or could talk about that?

Unknown Speaker 35:23

Oh, you know, as far as sponsors, I don't know what that was my dog, I apologize. Um, so as far as sponsorship is concerned, I mean, so there's a few things we have a summit that we do every other year. Specifically, that is kind of sort of our own mini conference within, we're bringing leaders for all of our networks. And, Ideally, we'd actually like to do that on a yearly basis, because there's so much tremendous value to that. But we also recently partnered with diversity best practices, for example, and they do an NBN summit, basically, you know, they they used, they used to do, obviously, in person this year was our first one, it was in September, and we did it virtually. And we had since it was our first time we had, you know, we piloted it with a few folks. And you know, just to get a good sense of what we wanted to do. You know, there are other ways that, you know, we also work with like our equal, and we're big sponsors, for example, in in their, for their, their summit, as well, I think there's a lot of really great opportunities, the one thing I'll say is that, you know, it's one thing to sponsor these things, but it's another thing to really make sure that you are leveraging it in a way that people are going to really maximize, you know, what, what they're going to get out of it. Because especially now, one of the things I had to ask folks was like, are you able to actually take the time off work to be able to be a part of this, for this, you know, two or three day conference, or whatever it is, you know, and knowing and understanding that that might not be a possibility for everybody. But I do think it's important. And I also think that it has to be authentic, you should do it with an organization that you're really connected to, that you have a really deep, you know, relationship with. Because I think that that just strengthens the that strengthens it. And it's more than just saying, once a year, we sponsor this thing. It's saying, We've hosted a webcast with this organization, we have a fellow that you know, we've worked on or whatever it is, like there has to be, I think, a bigger, better rap sheet, or bigger, better sheet, one pager, if you will, that that I think is connected to that organization to just really make sure that there's a deeper connection to that.

Unknown Speaker 37:38

Great, thank you. So this one may go a little bit to all the panelists, but so if you guys want to want to add in, because I think this will be the last question for this panel before we pivot, but throughout our speaker series, some of the dei experts have have have emphasized measurable goals, both for dei programs, and to ensure their success and their longevity. Can you talk about how do you measure er G's and goals with er G's? And how do you present those back to the leadership like, so if any of you could talk about the goals that you may measure with your er G's, we'd appreciate that.

Unknown Speaker 38:17

Check and kind of highlight some of this, and this is something that we're, you know, always try and find ways to improve. But, you know, we have to kind of deal with the data that we have internally. And so some of that data that we have is our the the participation of our events, right. So we, you know, have folks register for the event. And then now actually, which is nice. With zoom, you actually have a list of who actually attended. So now we're truly able to measure versus how we were in person. But we even do surveys, we you know, do a little bit of a a Sentiment Survey with our members, just to understand what's going on, you know, we don't always have an opportunity to reach out to everyone. And so we take that information, we dissect it. And then we go back and have a conversation with our DNI, our chief diversity officer, Karen, just to highlight some of those things that we're starting to see. Because I think it's really key for us to highlight the day that we're grabbing internally, because sometimes our members feel more comfortable sharing certain information that they might not share in some of the other surveys that the company is sponsoring, because that eminent am an empty anonymity space. And so it's really nice to be able to look at both of those, those data points to say, hey, hmm, you know, do we need to do something different? Do we need to, you know, create more safety and security around some of those surveys. And so that's how we're able to whatever little pieces of data that we can we can get we dissected. It's in the back to the business.

Unknown Speaker 39:49

That's really helpful. Anyone else have anything else to add with respect to sort of data or benchmarking? Let's say I'll say the 30s

Unknown Speaker 39:58

I'll say some real quick I think Every year we sit down with our energies and talk about their goals. What do you guys want to do this year online, and let's see where it aligns with our, obviously our business goals, but also from a public policy standpoint. Do policies. So whether or not it's attending events or building specific partnerships, you know, they have a calendar of here's a ways Here are ways that we can engage in January, February, March and April. And, you know, quarterly, we'll sit down and say, like, Alright, we had an event here, not very many people showed up, how can we do better in the next quarter, or we see this public policy issue coming down in Chicago or Detroit or wherever? So how can we make sure that we continually engage with the, across the board, not just event focused, but programmatic work? And from a public policy standpoint, keep them in the loop as to some of the issues that we are working through your DC and across the country? So Data Wise, I'd say it's really driven by how many folks can we get to participate in events? Or, you know, how many events can we can we put on on throughout the community? And how many, how much? How many people do we get to activate it is, but overall, I think it's very, it's very important to make sure that across the board across communities, that we have a consistent level of engagement on public policy issues, I'm super want to make sure that our community and our employees are engaged as well. So I think it's about consistent engagement, making sure that we're talking to them, not just when there's an event, but like, hey, if you've got some thoughts on this, please let us know.

Unknown Speaker 41:44

That's great. I'm Sam, any Anything? Anything parting from you before we pivot to the other panel? Yeah, I just want the sentiments of the the other panelists, I think, if you want to get the best picture, you need both quantitative and qualitative measures, the quantitative measures give you a sense of, you know, how many people attended, what's the ROI on the spin? How are we spending our money across diversity, dimensions, all of that is very, very important. But if you really want to get to what was the impact of program x, you need to seek the voice of the customer, or, you know, the voice of the employee base. And we do very much what Ashley mentioned earlier, oftentimes, we'll just flat out, you know, solicit feedback. But the most effective mechanism, at least for us to collect some real data that's honest and authentic is to offer a survey where people can anonymously, you know, really give us some feedback. And we need that feedback, because it lets us know, what's valued, you know, by our employee base, what we need to continue to do build on or stop doing completely. So I think we have to have a mix of the two, to really understand what our impact is. Oh, great. Thank you very much. So I want to thank all of our panelists today. I mean, again, I told you, I brought you some some folks who've been working in ER G's and with some stellar and some innovative programs. So Carlos Kinney, Ashley and Sam, thank you so much for joining us, we really appreciate you sharing the stories of your companies and of your er G's. Now we're gonna pivot over to our second panel, where I'm going to talk one on one with one of the nation's leading dei specialists. I am extremely excited and very proud to introduce or to begin the second part of our panel today, and have a one on one conversation with Danielle price. Danielle has worked across er G's in many industries, including Goldman Sachs in the NBA for more than 20 years. And I'm excited to also say that I've known Danielle for more than 30 years because we went to college together at Spelman College. So I'm very excited that she agreed to join us today. As Danielle comes in. I'm going to tell you a little bit more about her. She is now the chief inclusion officer at Paul Weiss, which is a large New York based law law law firm, where she is responsible for continuing to develop and promote all diversity and inclusion practices across the firm, while ensuring that these principles and values are reflected in client work policies in daily interactions. See, we're pulling in Danielle. Oh, there she is. Hi, Danielle. Hi, how are you doing? Good. Well, like I said, I'm so excited to have this one on one with you. You've been listening to sort of the panel and I mean, what what what is what is the what are some of the things that you sort of took away from what they were saying? First of all, I

Unknown Speaker 44:45

mean, fabulous panel, all of the, you know, salient points were covered. And you know, just really quickly just as a summary, for those of you that that I list, both parts of this you know what They basically emphasized is that, you know, er g should be a two way street. Um, you know, we, I think heard Sam talk to us about, you know, starting out as an affinity group, which many companies, organizations have affinity groups, the difference there is, you know, you're really getting together, it's social, it's you're trying to find one another people have, like, backgrounds or like interest are trying to just find one another within an organization, especially the larger an organization may be, you know, the stronger desire to make sure that you find those that are like you. And so most organizations, I would say, sort of generally tend to start out having having affinity groups, you know, can we just get together? Can we have cocktails on Friday, can we celebrate heritage months, you know, of respective groups. And so usually, that's the starting point, from there, it tends to develop into a resource, and then this is where it becomes a two way street, a resource for the organization. So now, you know, people have found one another based on their likeness in this circumstance, or, you know, talking about likeness, sameness. The business is then hopefully, connecting with these groups and finding out how can they, you know, leverage the business strategies, business decisions, um, you know, of this organization, I would say, the third iteration tends to be people like me, you know, many diversity practitioners were on the last panel, and I hope what everybody sort of took in is that it's a lot of work, it is a lot of work done, well, someone needs to be managing all of these moving parts. And again, the larger an organization, the more important it is to have a central repository. In my case, you know, it's my inclusion team at the firm, all organizations that I've worked with previously, you know, there have been dedicated diversity professionals, to making sure a couple of things, number one, that there's equity across all of the networks, or the employee resource groups, or the affinity groups, you know, there may be groups that are a little more passionate, or depending on what's going on in our society, you know, there's an issue that that is disproportionately affecting one of the groups, you know, what you don't want to see, quite frankly, is that that group starts getting all of the time, all of the attention all of the resources, especially when we're talking about resources. So you know, you guys were ending talking about data, you know, the biggest data point is, how much money are we going to spend, you know, how many resources are available to all of these groups, and the very first thing you want to make sure of is, is that is that money being equitably distributed. So someone has to someone has to manage all of that someone has to be in charge of all of that. From there, I think we heard a lot about leadership, resource groups, networks, affinity groups, these are all opportunities to highlight, you know, your, your talent, you know, who really is the most passionate about this, who's really good at organizing, you know, setting strategy talking, you know, to the business units, or the business leaders about how one particular group can enhance the long term business strategy. As those people are having conversations with more senior people, especially, you know, this is their opportunity to shine, you know, this is their opportunity, you know, to show a different area of the business or a different office, a different nation, you know, who you are and what you can do. So, you know, as a member of an employee resource group, don't miss the opportunities, you know, to step up and to shine, you know, it may have taken a little longer in your career, perhaps, to talk to the business unit leader or to talk to, you know, you know, in some cases, the CEO of an organization or the chairman of the law firm, you know, you're getting these opportunities, and these access points are awkward, you know, checkpoints, I would say, based on your volunteerism, but it really is about your overall career development. So I'll stop right there for a second, because I've said a lot.

Unknown Speaker 49:16

Well, there, there was a lot to unpack in the other panel that I think you summarized it Well, is there anything that you think that they missed in terms of sort of benefits or ways that companies can really utilize er, G's that we want to talk about? Make sure that everyone knows about? Um, no,

Unknown Speaker 49:32

I mean, that's why this group was fabulous. I mean, I think they really, they did a great job, they hit all of the very important points. So if it's okay with you, I'll sort of talk the other way. What What, what are the things that can go wrong? Um, one of the thing and this is just basic, who is this group? So I think it's really important, especially for organizations that are just beginning you know, to introduce er, G's into to their organization, it's really important at the very beginning to define who is a member of this group? And then, you know, the panelists talked about allies, you know, who's a member of the group? Who's an ally of the group? Does that mean something different? In terms of participation? Does that mean something different in terms of access? You know, all of those things, the more clearly defined that they are at the outset, usually, the better off you will be. You know, I'll just give what Oh, sorry, please, go ahead.

Unknown Speaker 50:32

Well, I didn't know you give your example because I was gonna double down, but I think your example is gonna get hit where I was gonna go. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 50:39

We'll see. So, so I'll use, you know, our what I call our private work network, our LGBTQ network at the firm. We had love, I'll go way back. So before marriage was legalized, same sex marriage was legal, there was a lot of litigation, a lot of activism, a lot of advocacy around, you know, change, changing the laws of the land, quite frankly. And so you had allies, you know, people who absolutely believed that marriage equality should exist, who were, you know, working on these very critical matters, these very critical cases, but they were not actually members of the LGBTQ community. Conversely, you had members of the LGBTQ community who of course, wanted marriage equality, because it absolutely impacted, you know, their life. But they weren't necessarily involved, you know, in all of the litigation, that the firm was, was undertaking, leading up, you know, to to, luckily, you know, the legal acceptance of same sex marriage. And so, our private work network had a moment where we were trying to understand, okay, what programming, what social gatherings even are available to members of the community, versus those who 100% are supportive. But, you know, actually were not living their life experience wasn't as an LGBTQ community members. So, you know, there were lots of conversations at that point, what does it mean to be an ally of this group? What does it mean to be a member of this group? Are they one in the same? You know, how do we iron out those those those nuances, but it was becoming important that the LGBTQ community wanted to have very intimate conversations that allies could listen to, but they were sensitive to being on display, if you will. And so you know, those are the, those are some of the issues that can easily arise.

Unknown Speaker 52:40

Now, some, from your perspective, you've been looking at this for a very long time, I want to go back to that measurement piece that we were talking about the panel, can you talk a little bit more about, again, if I'm somebody who's going to go back to my senior management? Or if I'm a CEO, and I'm watching this, what do I need to measure? And how do I, you know, how do I make sure that we have that kind of benchmarking?

Unknown Speaker 53:02

So great question. Again, number one, I think the the main benchmarking is around is around engagement, because essentially, that then generates, you know, how much resource should be dedicated to each of these networks, I think what ends up happening is, you know, things are cyclical. So you also have to set a certain amount of time where you're gauging any of your data points. So number one, real simple, you're looking at participation, how many people are engaged out of the out of the pool of available people, because this is not about volume, you know, some groups are actually really small. And those groups are the most important often because you are trying to compete to create a sense of community, when there aren't a lot of members, perhaps of one group within an organization. So I want to be clear, like this is not about you know, try and get 100 members, you know, right away, you may have a network that only has 10 members, it's critical that that network receive the same equitable support. So so the benchmark is around resources equitably, I want to make that clear. And then, you know, the other the other data points are, as I believe, Kenny was saying, you know, you're constantly in contact and conversation with the leaders of these of these various groups to say, you know, was this a good use of that resource? You know, if it was a recruiting event, for instance, and you know, two students showed up, that's not the best use of time, that's not the best use of resources. So do we need to recalibrate? Do we need to think about other, you know, recruiting opportunities besides this last one? So, you know, each benchmark is a bit different because it's going to depend on the group but what you must constantly do is assess what's working, what's not working, and make adjustments accordingly.

Unknown Speaker 54:49

Hmm, great. So I'm going to tell you two other questions because we are winding down on time. The first one is how can er g support social change with becoming too political for a publicly traded company. So that one and then the second pieces, again, you've talked a little bit about starting them. But can you? Can you Is there anything that a smaller company says, so say a company between three and 500? employees? What do they need to know about having er G's.

Unknown Speaker 55:17

So I'll take that one, first, we'll go in reverse order, the smaller an organization, probably the more need, you know, for what we'll call a safe space, a common space. And at that point, though, again, as I was talking before, you may not have critical mass. So what is a common a commonality that can gather people to begin to create a safe space? So, you know, I believe two of our prior panelists, you know, that the name of their black employee resource group was Mosaic, and I find that interesting and, and cool. Um, you know, I'll speak to some of the smaller organizations I've worked at, you know, often there's some common language around being different within that space. So whether it's, you know, one group was Kaleidoscope, you know, it meant there are a variety of us, but we're all coming together, because we feel different in some way. And, you know, what that prism is, you know, is another another name that I've heard Mosaic, you know, tapestry things where there are a lot of difference different, like lived experiences, but the commonality is, I feel like an outsider in this space. So I would encourage, you know, smaller organizations to to have a multicultural, you know, employee resource group as their first step, what will tend to happen is that, you know, as you hopefully as as you are diversifying your talent pool, you know, you'll you'll then realize either you need to, you know, reassess, do we need more than this one network, but until there is more critical mass across several diversity designations, at least there is this one place where we where we can all come together. Second question, harder question. Sorry, I'm looking at the time. Second question, harder question. So first and foremost, I would say any employee resource group needs to be very cognizant of the fact that you're at work, the end, meaning anything coming out of any employee resource group has got to be supportive of the brand of the organization that you belong to, cannot be, that's not to say that you shouldn't, you know, raise issues that are important to you. But first and foremost, is is this request in alignment with the brand of the organization. So let's talk about social justice really quickly. Um, because that could be its own topic. You know, our, our black lawyers network was absolutely 100% engaged in really looking at our D and AI strategy, are we really moving the needle? Are we making effective change? And by the way, even though we've been partnered with some very, you know, strong civil rights organizations, literally going back to the founding of the Legal Defense Fund, isn't this also a great opportunity for us to look at some newer grassroots organizations. And so it was our black lawyers network that brought to us additional resources, additional opportunities for us, what we realized really quickly, some were a little too far left or too far, right. And so, you know, we, you know, had great conversation, robust conversation, but everyone understood at the end of the day, first and foremost, you work at an organization and you don't want to do anything, you know that that is too, too controversial. So that the organization can no longer do its business or can no longer maintain the brand identity that they've worked very hard to establish. So short answer, but I would love to have this conversation

Unknown Speaker 58:54

with detail later. Now, but I think I think you hit it, you're still at work. And l of you are trying to support the brand and support the company, maintain your jobs. So everybody wants to be thriving in their job feel belonging in their job, they want to feel like they can innovate in their job, and they're contributing and that people are hearing them. But all of that has to come behind the fact that you're still trying to sell that widget or that service. That is the brand too. So I appreciate that. And thank you very much. So I hate that we sort of feel like we got a little bit sort of rushed at the end. But I think we've got a lot of good things to for people to take away from both both panels and everyone. So Danielle, thank you so much for participating with us today. So again, we've come to the end of our seventh dialogue for change. So again, I want to thank Danielle Carlos, Ashley, Kenny and Sam. And I want to thank the company for allowing them to be with us workday, Pepsi, GSK and McDonald's and Paul Weiss for having you because again, this is a part of it. You know, are they supportive of you all talking about these things. So it's I think it's important to mention those companies as well. So please, everyone, again, thank you for spending time with us this afternoon. Please look for follow up emails from invariant with more details about our dialogue for change series and additional anti racism resources. You can find us on Twitter and at LinkedIn, and we have a blog on medium where all of the links to our previous dialogue for changes can be found. Again, I want to thank everyone for joining us today. We wish you all a pleasurable and a safe Thanksgiving. Again, thank you very much for joining us.

Transcribed by

Recent Posts

See All

The Startup Balance

"In 'The Startup Balance,' watch a tech founder and a business-minded employee learn to harmoniously blend innovation and stability with the help of a wise mentor. Discover the key to startup success

Thank You for Visiting Everything Neurodiversity!

Hello, Thank you for visiting Everything Neurodiversity. This site is a passion project of mine. The hosting costs are minimal and I try to dedicate time to it whenever I can. I intend to keep this site as educational and ad free. 

I have learned a great deal from working on this site and the social platforms that go along with it. So much that I have started another site dedicated to building a more sustainable and easier fashion shopping expiereince. It has recently been selected for sponsorship in the Microsoft Founders Hub Program and I'm excited for the new developments this will enable. The first 10,000 users who make a purchase through the site will get lifetime Premier Status enabling rewards up to 17%! Check it out here: RunwayRewards.Shop or browse the integrated page below: 

popular posts