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 a 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 2018: Building Bridges Through ERGs, will be held on May 9 and 10, 2018, at BMO’s world-class Institute for Learning located in Toronto. 



May 9

5:30 PM: Registration Opens

6:00–8:00 PM: Reception and Opening Remarks


May 10

7:30–8:30 AM: Registration & Breakfast

8:30–8:45 AM: Welcome & Opening Remarks

8:45–9:00 AM: Warm-Up Networking Activity

Pair up and discover the common bonds you and your partner share during this warm-up networking activity.

9:00–10:00 AM: Fireside Chat

Tanya van Biesen, Executive Director, Catalyst Canada discusses how ERGs help organizations navigate workplace issues of the day with a senior leader.

10:00–10:15 AM: Networking Break

10:15–11:45 AM: Leading With Inclusion Workshop


Tolonda M. Tolbert, PhD, Senior Director, Inclusive Leadership Initiative and Consultant, Global Member Services, Catalyst heads the leadership development learning platform Leading with Inclusion, which trains emerging leaders in inclusive management of diverse teams.

11:45 AM–12:45 PM: Luncheon

12:45–1:30 PM: Keynote: Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal

Throughout her career, Erin Uritus has worked to lead mission-driven organizations partner with staff to energize stakeholders and achieve extraordinary impact, navigate through historical challenges and opportunities, and become healthier and happier along the way.

Erin became involved with Out & Equal as an ERG leader at Booz Allen, which sponsored her to attend her first Out & Equal Summit in Orlando, Florida. She went on to join the Out and Equal Board of Directors, co-founded the Out & Equal DC Chapter Affiliate, and eventually served as Co-Chair for the Out & Equal DC Summit in 2007 before becoming Out & Equal’s CEO in 2018.

1:30–1:45 PM: Networking Break

1:45–3:15 PM: Concurrent Breakout Sessions (Choose One)

Telling Your Story: Building Your ERGs Communication Plan

Key to any ERG’s success is building a comprehensive communication strategy. Learn best practices for how to effectively communicate your ERGs goals, progress, and successes to both internal and external constituents.

Building Empathy Through ERGs

Empathy is the key to understanding others’ perspectives. Learn how your ERG can help build a more inclusive, more empathic workplace culture with a deep-rooted sense of sense of fair-play using robust conversations guided by empathy, where participants connect across difference, listen with humility, and inspire others while addressing workplace challenges faced by diverse colleagues.

The Keys to Building Bridges: Engaging Allies Across ERGs

Learn how your ERG can become more inclusive and engage more employees outside of your target constituency. Go beyond engaging senior leaders as executive sponsors to grow your ERG’s impact and build bridges with allies at all levels across your organization.

3:15–3:30 PM: Networking Break

3:45–4:00 PM: Closing Activity and Remarks

4:00–5:30 PM: Networking Reception


BMO Institute for Learning ( is pleased to provide on-site guestrooms on a first come first serve basis for Catalyst conference attendees on the night of May 9th, 2018. A special Bed and Breakfast rate of $160.00 plus HST has been negotiated. If you require a longer stay, please contact BMO IFL Reservations, they will be happy to assist you based on availability.

To reserve your hotel stay at the BMO Institute for Learning, please complete this form (link: and submit it by email to [email protected].


1 Reader Comment

Vivian Ayuso says:
3/22/2018 09:58:34

Would help to have an agenda for the event, event if a tentative one. I requested some information on this last week and did not receive a response.

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