Events

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are important drivers of talent and business results. Whether called employee networks, business resource groups, or affinity groups, these groups can have considerable impact on your organization’s ability to develop future leaders, increase employee engagement, and expand marketplace reach. While some may regard these groups as exclusive, ERGs can build alliances across difference in the workplace. ERGs are also critical advocates of inclusive leadership.

The Employee Resource Leadership Initiative (ERLI) conference, ERLI 2016: Demonstrating Value Through ERGs, was held on May 2-3, 2016, at BMO’s world-class Institute for Learning located in Toronto. The conference covered how to add value to your business and talent results, and provided attendees with the opportunity to network with other ERG leaders.

ERLI 2016: Demonstrating Value Through ERGs brought together experts, business leaders, advisors, and other ERG leaders across companies to share knowledge, network, and participate in workshop sessions that provided new ideas and tangible solutions to ignite inclusion throughout organizations via ERGs. ERLI2016 is part of Catalyst’s Employee Resource Leadership Initiative; learn more here. The sessions featured strategies for enhancing your ERG’s impact on business and inclusion in the workplace:

  • ERG sessions on business impact, strategic business alignment, building organizational support, engaging racially/ethnically diverse women, and defining and measuring success for your ERG.

  • Leadership development on what inclusive leadership is and how to amplify inclusive behaviors through ERGs.

  • Networking and best practice sharing with best in class ERG leaders

ERLI2016 Participant Feedback:

  • Loved this conference, we got lots of great ideas, networked, and I personally was INSPIRED by the materials that were presented. 

  • Excellent conference. Just what I needed for my ERG

  • Biggest takeaway: Understanding the ways an ERG can make an impact on the business, employee performance, and a company's strengths

  • Biggest takeaway: We must work together across ERGs, HR, and executive leadership in order to truly be effective advocates of change for inclusion and diversity.

  • Biggest takeaway: Consideration for allies as part of the mix

Krista Brookman, Vice President, Inclusive Leadership Initiative, Catalyst, makes opening remarks at ERLI 2016: Demonstrating Value Through ERGs.

Vandana Juneja, Senior Regional Director, Central Canada, Catalyst, speaks at ERLI 2016: Demonstrating Value Through ERGs.

Keynote speaker Benjamin Lynch, Tax Partner & PRIDE Network Advisory Board Member, KPMG LLP, talks about the ‘whispers’ of ERGs at ERLI 2016: Demonstrating Value Through ERGs.

Tolonda Tolbert, PhD, Director, Inclusive Leadership Initiative and Consultant, Global Member Services, Catalyst, talks about being an inclusive leader and feeling like the “other” in the workplace at ERLI 2016: Demonstrating Value Through ERGs.

Steve Stall, Culture of Inclusion Business Segment Leader & Rockwell Automation ERG Advisor, Rockwell Automation, speaks on the importance of coming out as an ally at ERLI 2016: Demonstrating Value Through ERGs.

Click on the image below to view the full conference workbook.

Click on the image below to view the conference speakers' biographies.

May  2, 2016

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Registration

6:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Opening Remarks

Speakers:
Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst
Tara John, Managing Director, Leadership Development & Enterprise Learning, BMO Institute for Learning

May 3, 2016

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Check-In and Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Sonya Kunkel, Chief Inclusion Officer, Vice President, People, Strategies & Insights, Human Resources, BMO Financial Group
Vandana Juneja, Senior Regional Director, Central Canada, Catalyst

8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Fireside Chat—The Evolution of ERGs: Getting to Business Impact
Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst
Barry Telford, President, Sodexo Canada

9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Break

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Keynote Address
Introduction: Meryle Mahrer Kaplan, PhD, Senior Vice President, Talent, Culture, and Global Member Services, Catalyst
Benjamin Lynch, Tax Partner and PRIDE Network Advisory Board Member, KPMG LLP

10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Leading With Inclusion: An Interactive Workshop
Tolonda Tolbert, PhD, Director, Inclusive Leadership Initiative and Consultant, Global Member Services, Catalyst

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Networking Lunch

12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Adding Business Value Through ERGs

Moderator: Krista Brookman, Vice President, Inclusive Leadership Initiative, Catalyst

Panelists:
Deb Cimino, Senior Manager, 3Mgives Strategic Initiatives at 3M, 3M
Nancy Hernandez, Founder and President, ABRAZO Marketing
Steve Stall, Culture of Inclusion Business Segment Leader and Rockwell Automation ERG Advisor, Rockwell Automation
Angela Stephens, Senior Vice President, Controller, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
Cedric D. Thurman, Head, Inclusion US, BMO Harris Bank

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions (Select One)

Inclusion: Fostering New Thinking and Solutions for ERGs
What is keeping you up at night as an ERG leader? Are you getting support from management and employees? Is your ERG aligned with your organization’s business strategy and demonstrating value? Is your ERG driving change and fostering inclusion or just getting by as social club? In this session, we will explore how several organizations elevated their ERGs by overcoming common challenges, leveraging inclusion, and aligning with organizational business objectives. Participants will learn about Catalyst Award-winning ERG practices, how to identify common ERG obstacles, and how to develop solutions to overcome those obstacles.

Presenters: Martha Feeback, Regional Director, Texas Missouri, US, Catalyst, Tuni DeJesus, Regional Manager, Southern California, US, Catalyst

Panelist:
Nadine Vogel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Springboard Consulting Break

Leveraging Diverse Perspectives in ERGs: Engaging Racially/Ethnically Diverse Women
Many ERGs focus on gender or race/ethnicity, but relatively few focus on multiple dimensions of difference. In this session, Catalyst representatives and a panel of experts from Catalyst supporting companies will highlight the unique perspectives, contributions, and needs of racially/ethnically diverse women. They will also discuss methods for creating more inclusive ERGs that better serve the needs of diverse individuals while achieving business goals. Participants will then engage in table exercises using inclusive leadership concepts to create solutions to better include diverse women in ERGs.

Presenters:

Katherine Giscombe, PhD, Vice President and Women of Color Practitioner, Global Member Services, Catalyst, Vandana Juneja, Senior Regional Director, Central Canada, Catalyst

Panelists:
Nohelia Hernandez, Director Business Development, Sodexo
Pulkeshi Jape, Senior Director, CIO—Business Engagement Lead, PepsiCo Foods Canada, PepsiCo
Melanie Singh, Vice-President, Enterprise Procurement, Loblaw Companies Limited
Cedric D. Thurman, Head, Inclusion US, BMO Harris Bank

Defining and Measuring Your ERG’s Impact
ERGs must contribute to business goals to secure support, funding, and ongoing engagement from the organization. A panel of experts from Catalyst supporting companies will discuss how they define and measure ERG success and impact on individual members and the organization. In particular, they will focus on how ERGs can help create inclusive leaders.
Presenters: Deepali Bagati, PhD, Executive Director, United States, Catalyst, Rita Chhabra, Regional Director, Northeast US, Catalyst

Panelists:
Deirdra Copeland-Gonsalves, Head, Enterprise Resource Groups, BMO Financial Group
Kimberly Smith, Manager Professional Practice, EY
Rukhsana Syed, Diversity & Compliance Leader, IBM

3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Break

3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks
Meryle Mahrer Kaplan, PhD, Senior Vice President, Talent, Culture, and Global Member Services, Catalyst

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Reception

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