Webinar Recap: Joining an ERG Can Help Your Career Development

Panelists: Lissiah Hundley, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Client Fulfillment at DiversityInc; Tamara Peterson, Managing Counsel and PRIDE Enterprise President at Wells Fargo; Susan Beverly, Senior Director of Sustainability and Shared Impact at Abbott; Elaine Perez-Bell, Director, Senior Project Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at ADP.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a place for employees to come together and develop themselves personally as well as professionally. They typically host various events throughout the year that include professional and personal learning opportunities, networking experiences, and volunteer opportunities at local community-based organizations at all levels.

In this webinar, Lissiah Hundley, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Client Fulfillment at DiversityInc; Tamara Peterson, Managing Counsel and PRIDE Enterprise President at Wells Fargo; Susan Beverly, Senior Director of Sustainability and Shared Impact at Abbott; Elaine Perez-Bell, Director, Senior Project Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at ADPdiscuss how joining an ERG can support career development.

“There are dozens of ways to lead a group, a committee, or a single event for anyone looking to fine tune some of their leadership competencies. Really, the possibilities within our networks are as varied as the people in our communities,” Peterson said.

Key Takeaways

  • There are many reasons to join at least one ERG
  • ERG leadership is a major opportunity to enhance job performance and meet key leaders
  • Independent contributors can gain leadership experience working in an ERG
  • Participating in ERGs provides networking opportunities and great visibility
  • ERGs support an overall diversity and inclusion strategy
  • Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are good for growth at all levels

Why Join An ERG

Leveraging professional development opportunities, becoming more engaged within the company, doing more for yourself and the company, meeting key leaders, learning about the business, connecting with other employees and sharing information are just a few of the reasons that Peterson listed to encourage employees to join ERGs.

“Almost everyone reports that they get the chance to meet people they normally would have never had a chance to connect with without having joined the ERG,” Peterson said. “And that access to new people expands your network. Not only can you learn more about an organization, but you can learn about different jobs and career paths, maybe even career paths you had never considered, and possibly even have the chance to set up informational interviews or shadowing experiences.”

The Benefits of ERG Leadership

ERG leadership is an opportunity to apply skills in ways that are different from everyday responsibilities, such as planning an event, participating in ERG strategic planning and leading or coaching other employees. The variety of opportunities that are available in ERG leadership gives employees a chance to consider areas where they would most like to develop and to be intentional about where they invest their time and talents.

Probably the most important aspect of ERG leadership in my view is the opportunity to develop as a holistic leader, and to really demonstrate that competency as you look to continue in your career,” Peterson said. “Knowing your business is important. That’s table stakes, as we like to say. But companies really look for more than that in their leaders today. They want the five-star dining experience.”

How ERGs Support Diversity and Inclusion and Mentorship

Susan Beverly, Senior Director of Sustainability and Shared Impact at Abbott, is a leader of one of nine ERGs contributing to their D&I identity. She says that leaders coming together to openly discuss their approach to diversity and inclusion builds the health of the company for the future.

Mentorship is another major aspect of ERGs.

“I’ve been able to serve as a mentor to a number of individuals across the organization. It is an opportunity to motivate talent, build the workforce of the future, but also, just by having access and being at these different ERG events, there are many people that will come to me and ask one-off questions, or to be a formal mentor,” Beverly said.

ERGs are a way for younger, newer talent in a larger company to not get lost and continue to connect with veterans of the company.

Business Resource Groups (BRGs) Support Growth On All Levels

Elaine Perez-Bell, Director, Senior Project Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at ADP, said that BRGs are where employees influence the business and develop their careers as well as volunteer. BRGs also contribute to the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

“For service excellence, our BRGs track SMART goals and their performance with their initiatives. Inspiring innovation. This is a big one. So our BRGs help build bridges to answer diversity and inclusion performance and opportunity gaps,” Perez-Bell said. “Each person counts. Our BRGs attract and build on the talent, innovation, and creativity that diverse associates bring to ADP.”

To hear the full conversation with even more takeaways, listen here. For more on Allies, career advancement and advice, visit DiversityInc.com andDiversityIncBestPractices.com,  follow us on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and check out more webinars like this.)

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