For the past seven years, Seramount has recognized the important efforts of employee resource groups (ERGs) in driving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and in their communities through our ERG Impact Awards, formerly known as the Above and Beyond Awards.
In 2022, we received over 250 submissions across six categories. All submissions were reviewed by judges who are diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioners; subject-matter experts; and/or members of the Seramount team.
We are featuring highlights from this year’s ERG Impact Award honorees in the following categories: business impact, community impact, workplace culture impact, workforce impact, affinity group leadership, and valued ally.
We hope that you will use what you learn from this year’s awardees to move the needle forward in your organizations. Congratulations to all the ERGs that submitted nominations and to the winners of 2022!
Merck’s Alianza ERG noticed that when the pandemic began, health care inequities surrounding the Hispanic community were at an all-time high. Alianza noticed that there was a clear gap in awareness and saw an opportunity to raise overall awareness of social and business impacts this community has on the company and the buying power they possess.
In October 2020, Alianza launched their first Hispanic Learning Series, which focused on health care gaps affecting Hispanics, social determinants of health, vaccine confidence, and the growing impact of Hispanics inside and outside Merck to drive business outcomes.
This series had incredible success, and Alianza increased their membership by 25%, had record attendance amongst their ERG and others within the company, received excellent feedback from business units and leaders, and inspired ERG collaboration with the Vaccine Confidence Team via the Alianza-Business Integration Subcommittee.
With Alianza’s collaboration, the Vaccine Confidence Generations campaign targeting Hispanics launched in 2021. Early results on the Generations campaign were positive and reinforced the impact and value of strategic campaigns targeted at Hispanic audiences in key markets. Initial results of the campaign include these: Hispanic targets drove a Gross Conversion Rate of 2.1–2.4X higher than all moms and Medicaid audiences and an 8X higher click-through rate; digital radio in market results for Hispanic audiences outperformed benchmark with a click-through rate 8X higher; Generations video for Hispanics had a 0.49% click-through rate vs. Benchmark of 0.08%, resulting in 6X higher impact on Hispanic audiences; Generations campaign on Digital Health and Innovative Alliances in clinics on Phreesia platform over-performed on motivation across both Hispanic (52%) and VFC audiences (42%) in comparison to the Benchmark (35%).
Alianza has plans to keep pushing forward in 2022 and beyond. They are currently planning the second edition of their learning series that will feature a four-call series to drive awareness on opportunity areas and ultimately influence business and social outcomes. Alianza is confident that they can continue to drive business and cultural insights to further results, support the community, and drive internal change for business campaigns and strategies.
During the pandemic, Tiffany’s African Brilliance Collective (ABC) did not stop its financial or volunteer commitments despite major disruptions in New York, where Tiffany headquarters is located. Instead, they prioritized community impact when Black and Brown communities were being affected at a more significant rate. Specifically, they spent time with the Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC) to help ease the stress of housing instability, community violence, and job insecurity.
At the heart of volunteering, ABC spearheaded two six-month virtual mentorship programs and a Virtual Career Day for LESGC members. These youth were connected to a network of professional women who advanced their academic and career goals and provided support around career and college readiness, offering self-care strategies, tips for staying motivated and organized, and other important life skills.
To date, 40 LESGC members have participated in the program, and 40 Tiffany employees have contributed their time. Feedback from the overall LESGC’s College and Career Pathways Program has shown that 90% of LESGC members gained knowledge of Career Pathways; 100% reported meeting inspiring women, role models, and professionals; and 100% plan to go to college. In addition to donated volunteer time, since January 2020 the ABC ERG has donated a financial contribution to LESGC, which has helped enable it to continue to grow, including the launch of a Health and Wellness Center for the members in 2021.
ABC has also been integral to Tiffany’s focus on HBCUs. Global Talent Acquisition engaged ABC members to partner with HBCU First, a nonprofit with a mission to increase college success and career access for Black youth. Over the past year, the ABC ERG has taken part in 12 career talks with HBCU students and connected with over 330 HBCU students across the country to help build leadership skills, introduce students to Tiffany recruiters, host resume workshops and mock interviews, and provide students with professional development tips and techniques.
ABC plans to continue working with LESGC members by providing scholarships, reviewing and sharing feedback on community campaigns from other companies, executing career days, offering one-on-one mentorships, and expanding support to other girl-serving organizations in the United States and globally. Also up next, ABC and Talent Acquisition are currently planning a one-on-one-mentorship program between ERG members and HBCU About Love Scholars, to provide further connectivity between HBCUs and Tiffany.
Merck’s Asia Pacific Association (APA) ERG was established at Merck to develop future leaders, build social community, and be a valued business partner by effectively promoting and leveraging Asian diversity. In 2021, APA leveraged its network to effect change in the broader community. APA demonstrated COVID-19 relief efforts, promoted equitable access to childhood vaccines, and championed STEM education within their respective communities and globally.
APA made it their mission to positively impact communities. On top of fostering the growth of the next generation of scientists, they leveraged corporate benefits that matched volunteer hours with monetary donations to a charitable cause and supported India, one of the countries hit hardest by COVID-19, by rallying, crowdsourcing, and consolidating a list of local outreach charities for employees to connect or donate to. Through APA’s coordination globally and on the ground, significant monetary and medical supply contributions (200 kits for oxygen concentrations, 2 million PPE) were made for COVID-19 relief efforts. In the United States, they championed Vaccines For Children and worked with their product marketing department to provide educational resources in Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese to aid in vital family discussions. To foster research interest and inspire future scientists, APA members prepared a Basic Drug Discovery online course with a customized weekly curriculum over 10 weeks for 100 high school and college students sponsored by employees.
APA plans to continue their community service outreach to drive change locally and abroad, by expanding to support the mental health of Merck employees, partner with patient advocacy groups, and improve health disparity awareness and will continue to expand STEM learning platforms. APA will also take advantage of the Merck corporate match program to provide both hands-on support via volunteering and monetary donations.
¡SALUD! has aligned with Constellation Brand’s goal to increase “economic development and prosperity for disadvantaged communities” and helped to identify financial literacy and housing empowerment as areas in which to focus support that could make long-term impact in the economic development and prosperity of the Hispanic/Latine community. After a vetting process, ¡SALUD! partnered with UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, making a $500K contribution and providing resources to strengthen Hispanic families’ financial security through financial literacy and home ownership programs.
Throughout 2021, this partnership provided more than 4,500 families with financial literacy and housing counseling services; over 1,000 renters avoided eviction; ~1,200 people received counseling before purchasing their first home; and over 1,600 homeowners were assisted in managing their budget and keeping their homes. The Dress for Success Spanish Language Workshop and WISE (Constellation Brand’s women ERG) partnerships empowered women to achieve economic independence by giving virtual interview tips and aid in bringing women back to the workforce through Spanish-language workshops. A select group of ¡SALUD! members also supported and reviewed Corona Refresca’s newest campaign: Let Flavor Reign, which focused on their new multicultural target consumer, with particular focus on Black and Hispanic women.
Moving forward, ¡SALUD! has plans to restructure their pillars to align closely with their DEI office’s goals and streamline their cultural approach. Additionally, there are plans to enhance employee skill sets to encourage growth opportunities, celebrate inclusive company culture for underrepresented groups, and leverage their unique culture and partnerships to amplify social equity.
Bank of America alongside their Enterprise Military Support and Assistance (MSAG) ERG not only surpassed their goal of hiring 10,000 military Veterans over five years—they have brilliantly maintained that hiring momentum. MSAG helped to recruit and retain employees by helping Veterans excel within the bank through professional development and mentorship and to create better awareness, understanding, and empathy for key issues that are important to Veteran teammates.
MSAG managed two core development programs: the Veteran Development Program (VDP) and Veteran Onboarding Initiative (VOI). The VDP is a virtual, five-month development program that combines self-study pre-work, mentorship, monthly connect sessions, and a capstone team presentation for Veterans to engage in collaborative learning with peers and share how they’re applying their learning with business leaders, their managers, and advisors. In 2021, 92 veterans completed the VDP, with the help of 120 volunteer advisors and 10 senior leaders. The VOI pairs newly hired military Veterans with Champions to help ease their transition out of the military and facilitate a smooth onboarding experience into the bank. Sixty-eight percent of MSAG’s chapters participated in the VOI, including the 47 site leaders and 133 Champions who volunteered to foster an understanding of the bank’s culture and work environment. Eighty-three percent of Veterans who completed this program are still with the bank two years later.
Additionally, MSAG produced five major events in 2021 that paid homage to Veterans, including 20 years of service and sacrifice in Afghanistan, 20 years since 9-11, a Medal of Honor event, and multiple panel discussions with internal and external speakers. MSAG also partnered with the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals and the BAC Home Donation team to address homelessness and financial insecurity by helping provide sustainable home ownership for Veterans—20 chapters hosted 30 events with more than 200 volunteers for six Welcome Home Wednesday events. They also launched a Better Money Habits® series with United Service Organizations to showcase commitment to helping military service members and Veterans achieve their financial goals.
Moving forward, MSAG will focus on vendor diversity, women’s initiatives, and enhanced Veteran hiring programs with an overall mission to positively impact our world for good. There are also plans to expand existing programs to other regional chapters and deliver on the bank’s commitment to make financial lives better, fueling economic mobility for Veterans and their families who need it most.
The Valor Employee Resource Group at Liberty Mutual has a stated goal to seek, engage, and empower our military veterans and ally community through building a strong internal network that fosters personal and professional growth, as well as supporting external initiatives and programs. In 2020, Liberty Mutual partnered with Hiring Our Heroes, an organization that connects to the military community to engage and ease the transition to civilian life for soon-to-be transitioning active-duty veterans.
The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program provides transitioning service members with professional training and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce while still on active-duty service during a 12-week fellowship. At the conclusion of the program, fellows will be given the opportunity to explore full-time positions for applicable and available roles. Since beginning this program, Liberty Mutual has hosted 18 fellows across three cohorts, converting 83% of these fellows into full-time employees post-active duty—with employees finding employment in departments such as Distribution, Claims, and Technology & Digital Services. Additionally, in contribution to DEI goals, 61% of hires are people of color and 22% are women. Each veteran is provided with a full onboarding plan, which includes job shadows and team welcome/networking events, helping them feel a part of their new team community as they prepare to transition out of their active-duty community.
Because these programs have shown tremendous success, Liberty Mutual has increased its membership in Hiring our Heroes to a Gold Sponsor-Level company and is now able to expand its recruiting reach into the Veteran community with direct hiring opportunities across job boards and hiring events. This also includes Salesforce Fellowships, a partnership with Recruit Military, and an enhanced effort to seek Military spouses in their ever-adapting work place environment.
The Indigenous ERG (IERG), since its inception in 2009, has embraced First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit and Metis employees, and allies. The Group’s mission is to create a safe space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees to learn, grow, and connect.
Scotiabank IERG has worked with multiple business lines and focused events and leaders within the Indigenous space to increase awareness for allies and support the voices of Indigenous employees. For example, they have partnered with Control Functions to develop their three-year action plan toward an inclusive environment and talent strategy, Employment Equity actions, Indigenous Mentorship, and more; provided inclusive language insights in alliance with the Scotiabank digital team to update external-facing and Talent Acquisition sites to reflect the need to address the community differently; provided workshops and sessions to encourage awareness for leadership and teams and drive change for the creation of safe spaces for employees; and taken action to speak with the Canadian Banking Inclusion Council about moments that have mattered to the community, such as Orange Shirt Day (OSD).
From these actions and more, there has been a growth in participation around nationally celebrated holidays such as National Indigenous People’s Day, with 2,077 participants in 2021 compared to 30 in 2019, and OSD, with 7,242 participants in 2021 compared to 1,463 in 2020. IERG also partnered with various internal teams at Scotiabank to provide advisement to the community for event support and to create the Indigenous Culture Competency, a mandatory course for all employees within Canada.
Moving forward, IERG plans to tackle major topics for Indigenous communities to uplift and create a safe space for Indigenous Peoples to experience the financial industry without bias, racism, and barriers. This year, IERG will be focusing on sustainability and activism but will continue to drive competency and awareness to major issues, both historical and present-day. Most importantly, the IERG will provide perspectives and insight on the bank’s ongoing initiatives regarding the advancement of Indigenous Peoples.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, UPS’s North Atlantic Real Talk Committee (RTC) used words surrounding his death to shape their ERG mission. “If we as a society are not willing to acknowledge the present, take responsibility for our actions in the past, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end…” spoke to the leaders and employees at UPS, and senior leaders from their Business Resource Groups (Women/Women in Operations, African American, Asian, Latino, Veterans, FutureLeaders, and LGBTQ+) began the work needed to create goals for an equitable and inclusive environment.
RTC met 67% of its goals, which includes consistent surveys to get the pulse of part-time supervisors on issues affecting staff and bi-weekly sessions to incorporate safe spaces for open dialogue that encapsulate their core pillars: Heal, Outreach, Mentorship, and Educate (HOME). They hosted educational sessions to ignite candid conversations on topics such as microaggressions, white fragility, police brutality, cultural race theory, women in the workplace, the plight of veterans, hate crimes in the AAPI+ communities, gender inclusiveness, inequality within the Latino and Afro-Latino cultures, Empathy, Social Awareness, etc. This led to focus groups and leadership reviews; career fair sessions for employee advancement, where they positively impacted the career advancement of eight RTC members as well as recruited and hired eight employees through collaboration with the NYC Young Men’s Initiative; bias and sensitivity training that 98.3% of management completed; and supplying local DEI resources that are on track to be materialized in 2023.
RTC has become the driving force that enables change through action and will lead to ancillary outcomes. They plan to continue localizing DEI resources, expanding their footprint, and producing quarterly conversations regarding DEI in departmental meetings. Intrinsically, RTC is having a positive impact on the UPS workplace culture by way of all who participate. Their collaborative efforts foster new conversations amongst different teams, which brings a domino effect to the awareness of a culture shift that is ultimately amplified.
Mike spearheaded the creation of ZEAL (Zebra Equality Alliance), Zebra Technologies’ ERG for LGBTQ+ employees and allies. He played a leading role in crafting ZEAL’s charter, structure, mission, and objectives, which has become the gold standard for how ERGs operate at Zebra. Mike is an active member in building the overall framework of Zebra’s I&D efforts in which he collaborates cross-functionally with ZEAL, the Inclusion & Diversity team, and across broader committees at Zebra to ensure all areas of the business are continuously learning about and benefiting from developments in this space.
Under Mike’s co-leadership, ZEAL membership increased by 84% in 2021 alone through a variety of initiatives, including 8 awareness and remembrance celebrations, 14 Pride Month events attracting 850+ participants, 12 internal news stories, and 11 “Coffee Chats” designed to foster dialogue on topics relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. As a series in its fourth year, these events have proven to be a beacon among many bright spots, raising awareness, educating colleagues, and enabling LGBTQ+ employees, guests, and allies globally to share stories and experiences in a safe and empowering forum.
Mike led ZEAL’s #MyPronounsAre campaign internally to drive pronoun visibility for the practical benefit of making clear how employees would like to be referred to while helping to create an inclusive work environment for transgender and nonbinary employees. Mike additionally oversaw the ZEAL team’s creation of a global map of hundreds of self-identifying LGBTQ+ allies within Zebra and consultation with HR on the setup of a Transgender Inclusion Program, including guides, toolkits, and support resources.
ZEAL led philanthropic efforts with five nonprofits based in the Czech Republic, the United States, and the United Kingdom in 2021. These efforts included sponsorship of and participation in two Pride parades (the company’s first-ever presence at such events!), a queer film festival, and fundraising for an LGBTQ+ charity. The group also hosted two external panel discussions, marking the first instance of a Zebra ERG partnering with customers in this space.
Mike founded the Zebra Equality Alliance (ZEAL), the company’s ERG for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, in 2019 on a global scale, with the specific goal of enabling others to bring their whole selves to work. The ERG has since made tremendous strides in representing LGBTQ+ within Zebra’s broader I&D strategy, supporting LGBTQ+ employees, raising awareness, attracting and retaining talent, and engaging communities. Mike has brought visibility and inclusion to this community through compelling workplace-relevant stories that resonate with employees while amplifying efforts in education and awareness, allyship visibility, policy definition, and empowerment of LGBTQ+ employees and active allies.
As President of PG&E National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Network, Ken increased recruitment, internships and hiring, external and internal visibility, community engagement, and educational support for K-12, collegiate, and professionals in Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) at PG&E and within the PG&E service territory through strategic partnerships with various schools as well as STEM and educational organizations. These activities have increased the underrepresented pool of hiring candidates, provided models of representation for underrepresented people in STEM, and shown a continued commitment to show up with and for the communities in which we live and serve. This has also resulted in increased growth in the NSBE Network’s impact and accomplishment in the following areas: 25% increase in the dedicated Student Mentoring programs, the Annual Scholarship program awarding over $3,000 in scholarships for 2021, and our Innovation Summit Program that has elevated NSBE members to promotions to leadership positions as well as over 50% of the NSBE board being promoted in their day job, which has happened consistently each year since Ken stepped into the role of president.
As a subcommittee lead in Minds of All Kinds (MAK), a committee under PG&E’s Access Network ERG, Ken partnered to help lead the charge to provide awareness and process change in the space of psychological safety. He helped MAK drive for change while establishing new culture, process, and policy with PG&E’s Safety, Ethics and Compliance, Human Resources, and Change Management lines of business. Psychological safety concepts were incorporated into mandatory leadership training, mandatory annual employee training, daily safety meeting protocols, and operational guidance. This helped to operationalize psychological safety as a part of PG&E’s True North Strategy and overall safety focus.
As a co-founder of the SALT Task Force, Ken and the members of the SALT team are responsible for operationalizing PG&E’s People & Culture and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategy, by focusing on human values, as well as PG&E’s Purpose, Virtues, and Stands.
The murder of George Floyd further highlighted the company’s gap in having a “safe space” for difficult conversations around race and civil unrest. Thus, Ken stepped into the opportunity to close the gap and address programming needs for leaders to develop this necessary engagement skill.
Ken uses his knowledge, network, education, servant leadership, and cross-industry experiences, paired with his passion for mental health, STEM education, duty to community, and his ability to connect with others toward his accomplishments, which include 827 activities/events for SALT services, over 602 co-worker engagement hours, and over 21,000 co-worker participants by the beginning of 2022.
In 2021, Black Employees at Novo Nordisk’s (BE Novo) mission was to reduce unconscious bias and microaggressions across their Danish organization so Black employees would gain more opportunities to achieve their career goals. Nicole Roberson spearheaded a three-step campaign. This campaign started by raising awareness for policy change via a series of Hearing and Healing sessions where employees openly shared their day-to-day racial experiences and their impact with attendees that included senior leadership. The CEO then held a meeting with employee resource group (ERG) leadership to discuss these concerns. As a result, the organization’s newly formed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Center launched an unconscious bias training and established 2026 Representation Aspirations for racial and gender balance throughout all internal roles.
Step two involved increasing ERG member engagement via a series called Excelling in the Field, where successful Black sales employees shared their career journeys and the ways they overcame barriers. By the end of 2021, programming attendance had increased by 25% and invigorated previously disengaged and siloed business units. Last, step three consisted of the creation of development opportunities for Black employees via the formation of ERG Ambassadors. These employees became change champions for their ERG, of which 50% of these employees achieved title and/or role promotions.
In 2021, Nicole additionally served as the communications director for BE Novo, where she aligned the ERG to internal stakeholders such as the Corporate Social Sustainability Team for the 2021 MLK Jr Day TakeActionUSA Campaign, where 100+ Healthy Bedtime Kits were donated to local families, and 64 employees across the United States led initiatives to donate food and/or time to local shelters. When membership interest grew, Nicole began to mentor some of the ERG’s Ambassadors through their own 2022 MLK Jr Day TakeActionUSA Campaign, which raised $5,600 and provided 224 children across the country with new coats and shoes.
Nicole is the editor-in-chief of the BE Novo monthly ERG Newsletter, using this platform to coach a BE Novo Ambassador in their new editorial role. With the Ambassador being given more responsibility within the ERG, communications moved from a quarterly to a monthly employee resource, which contributed to the year’s 25% increase in membership.
Nicole Roberson is an experienced Associate Sample Operations Manager with over 11 years working in the pharmaceutical industry. Beyond her primary role, Nicole serves as the Co-Lead of BE Novo (Black Employees at Novo Nordisk) Employee Resource Group, where her quiet leadership allows other people to shine and grow. She has mentored several members of the Ambassador Program and ERG core team, resulting in the development of successful programming, communications, and community-based initiatives.
Dr. Yvette Miller has played an integral role in the development, sustainability, and growth of the Umoja Resource Group with Red Cross. Originally founded as a resource for African American/Black Red Crossers to connect, it has evolved into a robust committee used to highlight initiatives, develop new programming, and provide a wealth of support to its members. As one of the Co-Sponsors of Umoja, Dr. Miller has utilized her influence within the organization as an esteemed Medical Director to help curate content around health and wellness offered to all, the creation of the Black Executive Steering Committee in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, and to push for (what is now a company-wide) vital initiative to increase the diversity of our blood donors, specifically aimed at helping Sickle Cell patients. Dr. Miller has been able to increase the visible allyship of partners as well as bring C-Suite Executives to the table and embrace these (sometimes difficult) conversations around recognizing and addressing the unique stressors and strains that accompany living amongst racism. The programming developed by Umoja, or with the support of Umoja as Subject Matter Experts, has been woven into the fabric of the broader company culture. By leveraging her position as an Executive Medical Officer, Dr. Miller has been able to help support and highlight Umoja initiatives. She brought broad visibility into the unique needs of serving the African American community from a health perspective and has been a driving force behind the Red Cross adopting a Sickle Cell initiative as one of their priority organization-wide goals. She has also facilitated connections for Umoja to enable a series of health and wellness events for their members and create a robust Mentorship Program within the Resource Group to support future generations of leaders.
The growth of multiple ERGs within Burberry would not have been possible without the leadership, dedication, and enthusiasm of Melissa Roth Mendez. She has collaborated extensively with ERG leads across the business to implement governance structures, delineate roles and responsibilities, oversee strategic decisions, and provide growth and mentorship opportunities to both leads and members. As a result, Melissa has directly driven growth of the ERGs, recruited new members to leadership teams within the groups, and increased visibility of ERGs exponentially in the past year.
Melissa has gone above and beyond her executive sponsorship role by actively engaging with senior leadership and ensuring ERG voices are represented across the organization. This has yielded greater visibility, increased investment, and engagement from leadership at Burberry, as well as reinforced the importance of conversations around intersectionality. Drawing in other senior leaders to gain buy-in, support, and active participation in ERG events to help broaden the member base, Melissa provides a greater understanding of the importance of ERGs and encourages the groups to grow programming year over year by collaborating with charity partners, broadening events, creating new content, and being a greater part of Burberry’s culture.
Her impact has been felt particularly across the Women Empowered (W|E) and Empowered Black Network (EBN) groups. Within W|E, Melissa has been an engaged host of discussions with prominent leaders regarding career development and analyzing key issues such as the gender pay gap. She is an active advocate for building community, engaging in destigmatizing conversations on well-being, and providing career development tools and programs to members, such as piloting a mentorship program. Within the EBN, she has championed raising awareness and activities around key moments such as Black History Month and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She has engaged tremendously with driving membership and making sure the group and its initiatives are amplified across stakeholders in the business. Leaders have remarked that her availability, positive energy, and forward-thinking have propelled the group to the position it is in within the Burberry community today.
Melissa is the Global VP of Brand Protection at Burberry. She is a strategic advisor to the CEO, Chief Creative Officer, and Executive Leadership on current and emerging issues in Brand Reputation and Management impacting luxury brands. Her multidisciplinary background includes work in PR, marketing, DEI, and as a corporate attorney. Melissa is the founder and executive sponsor of the Women Empowered ERG and executive sponsor of the Empowered Black Network. In addition to supporting the communities overall, Melissa has dedicated her time to supporting the leads in crafting strategic objectives and engaged with the company to drive awareness of the importance of ERGs in supporting colleagues around the world.