ERLI 2015: Igniting Inclusion 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. ERLI 2015 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 impact sessions on business alignment, building organizational support, and measuring success for your ERG.

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

  • Findings and discussion on active research on ERG impact for members and organizations (click here to take our survey!)

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

May 4, 2015

6:00 p.m.
Registration and Networking Reception

6:45 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Opening Remarks

7:15 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Networking Reception

May 5, 2015

8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

7:15 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst

8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
The Role and Value of ERGs: Survey Says… 
Candice Morgan, Senior Director and Consultant, Global Member Services, Catalyst
Over the past 30 years, ERGs have effectively helped give a range of diverse groups a voice within corporations. Today, their role is evolving at a rapid pace, with many ERGs now supporting areas such as talent acquisition, culture awareness and change, business innovation and inclusion. The latest Catalyst research on ERGs demonstrates the tremendous value of these groups in today’s workplace and supplies Catalyst’s Employee Resource Leadership Initiative (ERLI) with additional resources for increasing their impact.

8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Introduction: Alex Johnston, Executive Director, Catalyst Canada
Speaker: Ana Dominguez, President of the Campbell Company of Canada
Ana Dominguez is a multi-lingual leader whose career spans four continents, and who embodies the ideals of a diversity champion every day.   

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Networking Break Activity

10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Empowering ERG Members to Become Agents of Change 
Krista Brookman, Vice President, Inclusive Leadership Initiative, Catalyst
Tolonda Tolbert, Director, Global Member Services, Catalyst
We often hear that the most effective ERG leaders add value by speaking their minds honestly and respectfully, and by representing the “authentic” voice of their members’ needs. But what about ERG members themselves? What role should they play, and how can they help create sustainable change? In this session, we’ll discuss the importance of inclusive leadership, and how it can be used to not only empower ERG members but also to galvanize support for diversity and inclusion across your organization.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Lessons Learned: Employee Resource Groups Driving Business Success
Are you navigating your way through an ERG challenge? What would BMO, The Coca-Cola Company, or Nationwide do? This panel of experts including researchers, consultants, and representatives from leading organizations, will discuss the role of ERGs in driving inclusion, maximizing talent, and contributing to business objectives.
Sonya Kunkel, Managing Director, Diversity, BMO Financial Group
Julie Nugent, Vice President, & Center Leader, Catalyst Research Center for Corporate Practice, Catalyst


  • Patrick Haddock, Senior Manager, The Coca Cola Company and President, Military Veterans Business Resource Group

  • John LaVeck, Director, Employee Business Resource Group

  • Paul Noble, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, BMO Capital Markets

  • Nadine Vogel, Founder and President, Springboard Consulting

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

#1: Show me the Value—Strengthening Business Alignment for ERGs
ERG members want to contribute to the business, whether through recruiting diverse talent, solving real-time business problems, creating innovative products, or strengthening the brand through community work. There is a large opportunity for ERGs to focus more directly on business outcomes. This session will highlight why alignment with business goals is important for ERGs, what it looks like in companies through case studies, and how your ERG can rewrite its business strategy.
Rita Johnson and Maureen O’Brien, Founders, Global Women’s Leadership Forum

#2: Show Me Some Support:—Leveraging Inclusion to Build Bridges and Create Alliances 
How is your ERG supported across your organization? Forming synergies and building alliances across other areas of the organization ensures support for an ERG’s mission and activities from a number of quarters. Other ERGs, your company's Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and Human Resources (HR) departments, talent management practitioners, and senior and middle managers, all have a stake in efforts to engage the employee base. Learn how ERGs can collaborate with men and women allies across levels and functions to increase inclusion and impact.

Susannah Gouinlock, Associate, Catalyst Canada
David Lau, Senior Associate & Chair, Catalyst Canada Honours Evaluation Committee, Catalyst Canada
Alix Pollack, Director, Research, Catalyst

#3: Show Me the Results – Measuring Your ERG’s Impact 
ERGs that are able to measure their impact are better positioned to secure support, funding, and ongoing engagement from their organization. This is particularly critical as ERGs grow in size and engagement requiring greater resources within a limited budget environment. During this afternoon’s interactive session, Catalyst will present example metrics and measurement techniques as well as successful practices from Catalyst member organizations. Participants will then engage in an interactive roundtable discussion to share and learn from one another and promote collaboration and networking beyond the conference session.
Erin Leonty, Regional Director, Western Canada, Catalyst
Vandana Juneja, Regional Director, Central Canada, Catalyst

3:30 p.m – 4:00 p.m.
Wrap Up

Meryle Mahrer Kaplan, Senior Vice President, Talent, Culture, and Global Member Services

Bill Downe, Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group

4:00 p.m – 5:30 p.m.
Closing Reception

Click on the images below to view videos from the ERLI 2015: Igniting Inclusion Through Employee Resource Groups event.

Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst, speaks about ERGs creating belonging and inclusion at ERLI 2015: Igniting Inclusion Through Employee Resource Groups.

Candice Morgan, Senior Director & Consultant, Global Member Services, Catalyst, speaks at ERLI 2015: Igniting Inclusion Through Employee Resource Groups.

Tolonda Tolbert, PhD, Director, Global Member Services, Catalyst, speaks about ERGs and inclusive leadership at ERLI 2015: Igniting Inclusion Through Employee Resource Groups.

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

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


1 Reader Comment

mspfisher says:
7/15/2015 02:20:23

Thank you for making all of the conference information available for download, I can't wait to review and apply the insights towards my organizations ERGs!

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