Blog Post

Best Practices from the Above and Beyond Awards

By Jennifer London
June 21, 2016
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ABA Winners at NALC East.

Last week at Diversity Best Practices’ Network and Affinity Leadership Congress (NALC), we honored the winners and honorable mentions of the 2016 Above and Beyond Awards. DBP established the Above and Beyond Awards to recognize the invaluable work of Employee Resource Groups, their leaders and allies in support of diversity and inclusion at their organizations and in their communities.

Over the last two years, awards have been presented in four categories: Business Impact, Community Impact, Affinity Group Leadership and Valued Ally.

With over 100 nominations across the four categories this year (and 80 in 2015), we have found many examples of best practices that we would like to share with you. For each category we provide a short explanation of the category, the “winning components” of the awardees’ applications, and a few examples from this year’s nominees of the impact the groups or individuals had on their organizations.

The bar has been set high. We hope that by sharing some examples of this work, it will inspire you to take your ERGs to the next level.

Business Impact

Groups nominated for this award demonstrate a clear contribution to business goals made by the group as whole. Examples of Business Impact areas can include financial, cultural, regulatory, reputational, marketplace and other business operations. Over the last two years, the business impact category has been extremely competitive with many examples of great work across many organizations, industries and regions.

Winning components:

  • Clear alignment with business goals of the organization
  • Measureable impact on the “bottom line”
  • Sustained efforts over time, as opposed to one time programs

Examples of Best Practices

Company: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

ERG: Latin American Cultural Organization

Horizon’s Latino/Hispanic affinity group, Latin American Cultural Organization (LACO), is comprised of roughly 85 members representing Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile, and Mexico. Membership is not limited to Latinos and Hispanic employees.

LACO identified the significance of in-person assistance and the benefit of following up with consumers multiple times to engage the Latino community and ultimately bring their business to HBCBS of New Jersey. They also understood the important role local and Latino media played in their information gathering. LACO members got to work to address these issues.

LACO members worked with sales to launch a toll free help line which is staffed with bilingual representatives from Hola Doctor and who are trained to help Hispanics in everything related to the healthcare law as well as to guide them in the application process for acquiring health insurance. They also translated messages into the most commonly used Spanish dialect and tested the system to ensure it worked as intended.

LACO members played an instrumental role in the translation of the Horizon Blue website and created LACO worked with the team to ensure the site functioned as designed, and that the content was accurate and informative. Current customers, potential customers, and service providers access this site. This dedicated site helps demonstrate to the Hispanic/Latino community Horizon’s commitment to providing them with quality service.

LACO also engaged trusted partners and Spanish-language media like Univison and La Mega Radio to ensure the Hispanic community received concise, current and relevant information.

Results: In 2015, the Hispanic percentage of new enrollment in Essex County increased by 174%; Hudson County increased by 272%, Passaic County increased by 245% and Union County increased by 199%. The increase in new Hispanic members contributed to a rise in overall membership from 10,000 to 30,000 members.

Company: Johnson & Johnson

ERG: Veterans Leadership Council

Structurally the national leadership team of the J&J Veterans Leadership Council (VLC) is designed to directly drive business results: one of the three “pillars” of the VLC’s goals and organizational structure is focused on “Our Marketplace.” Over the last year the VLC did much to support marketplace activities, including – as a few examples – activities in partnership with the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area, Consumer Brand Teams and the Enterprise Customer Group (ECG).

  • The VLC partnered with the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area (TA) in the area of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – two of the “signature injuries” of the recent and ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – to support J&J’s research and partnership efforts in this area. The VLC provided subject matter expertise and other promotional support to the TA’s activities in this area.
  • Additionally, The VLC actively engaged marketing and sales colleagues in the Consumer sector to promote sales and promotions through military channels, including on-post Army-Air Force Exchanges (AAFES). In addition, the VLC partners with Corporate Equity and Communications groups to support J&J sponsored baby showers for active duty military families.
  • The VLC also partnered with the Brand-Aid brand team to develop and market the “Our Veteran Heroes” Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandage line that is currently available in stores. A portion of the money from those goes to support veteran-related charities such as Team Red White and Blue. By providing a donation option for the consumer at checkout, the VLC was able to raise over $15,000 for The Travis Manion Foundation, a local charity focused on Veterans and their families.

Company: PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

ERG: Pittsburgh African American Employee Resource Business Group

The Pittsburgh African American EBRG sold 119 products and services to new and established customers through special outreach efforts coordinated by chapter members. During 2015, these efforts generated $2.8 million in revenue to PNC.

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a federal regulation that encourages banks to meet the financial needs of the low-to-moderate (LMI) income communities they serve. PNC understands the opportunity that exists to play a proactive role in the development of LMI communities and the financial health of LMI individuals. Therefore, PNC continues to invest both financial and staff resources in support of LMI individuals and communities. In 2015, the African American EBRG completed 45 CRA credits, representing nearly 10 percent of the company’s CRA goal through financial literacy and home buyers’ educational programming.

Community Impact

Groups nominated for this award demonstrate a clear contribution to the community made by the group as a whole. Positive recipients of this award demonstrate an impact and/or improvement on a community’s well being.

Winning Components:

  • Focused and sustained efforts over time as opposed to one off programs
  • Creating programs that both impact the community and create opportunities to impact the business
  • Use of metrics to measure results and report data to support organizational goals
  • Collaboration between networks to achieve goals and make a larger impact

Examples of Best Practices

Company: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.

ERG: Toyota Technical Center African American Collaborative (TTC-AAC)

The TTC-AAC BRG successfully mobilized a water donation drive that provided clean water for the citizens of Flint, MI. TTC-AAC was able to secure an agreement to fund a combined corporate donation along with team member matching funds in the amount of $100K for the Foundation to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund.

Within three weeks, TTC-AAC planned and implemented the initiative that resulted in the collection and delivery of more than 500 cases and containers of water to Flint. Through their efforts, strong and positive relationships were developed with the Flint Child Health & Development Fund and the Ennis Center.

Sustained programming:

TTC-AAC BRG has a strong relationship with the University of Michigan University Musical Society and the Ypsilanti Community Middle School to create opportunities for underrepresented students to experience the performing arts.

TTC-AAC BRG supported the North American One Toyota BRG Expedition in which Toyota created opportunities for team members and their families to visit new communities where the team members may be relocated as a part of the company’s consolidation plans. The TTC-AAC BRG took a lead role as an ambassador for the Michigan community to introduce the great environment available to the team members and their families who may be contemplating relocation to Michigan from out of state business operations.

Company: Capgemini

Nominee: CARES (Community Action, Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability)

CARES efforts resulted in overall community engagement of 1,818 employees, 8445 hours donated and over $200,000 donated to 70 unique charities.

ISO14001 Certification: the CARES ERG played a pivotal role in securing this environmental certification for Capgemini NA, and has promoted sustainability through national in-office signage campaigns and by teaching offices how to improve their recycling programs.

Pro Bono Consulting: The biggest contribution CARES led in this arena was for Habitat for Humanity. Leveraging consultants in between projects, the CARES ERG worked with H4H on a SharePoint project in order to improve their internal processes. In addition to this charity, Capgemini has successful completed pro-bono consulting projects at Boys and Girls Club and the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House, donating 2,160 pro bono hours through the 2015 year end.

CARES Local Leads Community Service: Beginning in February 2015, the CARES ERG began its Local Leads campaign to engage CARES members in cities across North America. Each local team is encouraged to organize a community service event and/or drive once a month – this results in over 250 community service acts a year.

The goal is to be able to fully track and account for all community service activities across all cities in North America by the end of 2016. The CARES ERG is doing this through 2 venues: Completing a pre-event form with details about the city’s upcoming event or drive and completing a post- event survey-documenting amount raised, number of volunteers, etc. The combination of these efforts will lead to a firm system for tracking metrics for NA Community Programs, which we hope will translate into a system for Global Capgemini Outreach programs.

Company: Capital One

ERG: Women’s Business Resource Group

The Women in Tech (WIT) group, a subset of the Women’s Business Resource group supports multiple programs to encourage and support girls and young women interested in tech careers. This includes a 10-week program for middle school students to gain exposure to software engineering and computer science in the Greater Washington D.C. area and a partnership with a local all-girls school in the Richmond area, and Higher Achievement to host a week long summer camp and hack-a-thon for 30 young female students.

As part of WIT efforts, Capital One was a diamond sponsor of the first ever Tech Superwoman Summit in San Francisco in 2015.

Affinity Group Leadership

A candidate for the Affinity Group Leadership Award is an individual whose grit and determination has led to the creation, success and/or turn-around of their network/affinity group.

Winning Components:

  • Deep understanding of organization’s D&I and business goals
  • Transferring of knowledge and skills from day to day role to inform direction of the group
  • Leveraging position within the company to influence leaders
  • Ability to forge partnerships with other ERGs, business leaders and external organizations to create meaningful impact
  • Influence multiple aspects of the company’s culture, business and the community

Examples of Best Practices

Leader: Chris Brown
Company: KPMG
Title: Partner, Audit
ERG: Abilities In Motion (AIM)
Position with group: Co-Chair

Under Chris Brown’s leadership the AIM network expanded its talent development strategy, created consistency in communication to network members, spearheaded collaboration with KPMG’s Veterans network, and expanded awareness and visibility of the network and its objectives.

Chris successfully advocated for establishment and implementation of a leadership development process designed to address the career development of people with disabilities. Chris advocated for and led the development of KPMG’s Inspiring Change, Influencing Inclusion program, a two-day leadership program for AIM members as well as members of the Veterans Network. Inspiring Change, Influencing Inclusion was designed to support the careers of high-performing network members, and included veterans and military spouses, in addition to people with disabilities, those who are caregivers, and their allies.

Under Chris’ leadership, KPMG established the AIM 1i5, an advisory board comprised of emerging leaders who are PWD and caregivers; the AIM1i5 supports the strategic initiatives of the national AIM Advisory Board. AIM 1i5 creates talent development opportunities for AIM members, and in particular, those who are viewed as high-potential and future leaders. The AIM Advisory Board oversees, guides, and mentors the AIM 1i5 leadership group as they execute activities that support AIM and the firm’s overall diversity and inclusion priorities. This unique opportunity enables its members to hone their leadership skills, interact with partners, increase their visibility with firm leaders, and influence AIM’s strategy by shaping local and national programs.

Chris is also a member of KPMG’s Diversity Advisory Board (DAB) member and importantly, as a person with disability and caregiver to loved ones with disabilities—Chris provides KPMG’s senior leadership with a personal as well as professional lens into the unique needs of our people with disabilities and caregivers.

As a member of the USBLN Corporate Advisory Board, Chris is able to collaborate with other federal contractors to identify and benchmark approaches being used to comply with government mandates on employment of people with disabilities, then make recommendations on how we can best achieve these objectives at KPMG. As a result, Chris has helped to shape communication strategies and approach to educating and building awareness among KPMG’s people to support self-identification.

Name of Nominees: Abby Hoke, Amy Linda, Kelle Jacob
Company: The Estée Lauder Companies
Name of Network/Affinity, BRG, ERG: GenNEXT
Position within group: Co-Founders and Executive Co-Chairs

Abby partnered with the Estee Lauder Talent team to roll out ELC Assignments, an opportunity for employees to explore job experiences outside of their day-to-day jobs as they develop their careers at ELC. Abby ensured GenNEXT membership was represented by hosting a task force to recommend the purpose, process and functionality of ELC Assignments as the business team was building out their framework. The partnership culminated in an exclusive launch of ELC Assignments with U.S.-based GenNEXT members, one month before ELC Assignments were officially rolled out to all US employees.

Amy leveraged her role in the Inclusion & Diversity department to bring all ERGs an Employee Advised Fund, in which ERG members choose a non-profit partner to be the beneficiary of a $25,000 corporate donation for the fiscal year. Amy worked with GenNEXT members to identify Pencils of Promise (PoP), a non-profit organization that builds schools and increases educational opportunities in the developing world. Amy chose PoP because it was founded by Adam Braun, a Millennial, has global reach, and aligns with GenNEXT Philanthropy’s mission, of helping the “Next” generation – children.

Kelle created a task force of GenNEXT members for Rhonda Vetere, ELC Chief Technology Officer. The first CTO Task Force project conducted external research to identify global trends in Millennial perceptions and use of technology. The group then surveyed ELC Millennials to obtain specific information about preferred technology, technology-related behavior and key areas of opportunity. The resulting report, “How We Like to Work”, provides actionable recommendations to integrate into ELC’s Global Information Services strategy . The CTO Task Force has since participated in two GIS software and applications pilots, including one for the Mobile Center of Excellence to help shape a new technology testing model. The reports and feedback from the GenNEXT CTO Task Force have influenced the direction of GIS’s request for proposal to major software providers.

Abby, Amy and Kelle’s connections to multiple global brands and functions offered GenNEXT members their first opportunities to contribute to the development of Global Brand programs and have successfully established GenNEXT as a resource across the business.

Nominee: Andrea Morton
Company: Boston Scientific
Title: Executive Assistant
ERG: LEAD, PERAL, Women’s Network, Young Professional Network (YPN)
Position with group: Captain

Andrea Morton has been instrumental in the success of many ERGs across Boston Scientific. She has played an instrumental role in leading and/or creating the Women’s Network, Young Professional Network, and LEAD (the network for people with disabilities).

Andrea has established working relationships with multiple non-profit organizations including the Michael Hoefflin Foundation that supports children with cancer for which she has organized multiple events to raise money for that important cause.

Valued Ally

Individuals nominated for this award hold an active position within the organization and have a history of supporting one or more Network/Affinity Groups, ERGs, or BRGs. An ally is an individual that champions or fights for a cause on behalf of your affinity group. They are instrumental in providing ERGs with support and partnership toward achieving or exceeding the ERGs’ goals. They help drive change.

Winning Components:

  • Leverages position within the company to influence senior leadership and build engagement of the C suite in diversity and inclusion and the work of Employee Resource Groups
  • Shows a commitment to diversity and inclusion beyond involvement in an ERG
  • Seeks opportunities to expand knowledge base to better support the ERG and the business

Examples of Best Practices

Nominee: Tim Pratt
Company: Boston Scientific
Title: Executive Vice President
ERG: People Accepting and Celebrating Equality
Position with group: Executive Sponsor

Tim’s visibility has led to the engagement of the CEO in important events as well as his commitment to the HRC’s Global Coalition for Workplace Inclusion. Tim has participated in the Gay Lesbian Medical Association’s’ conference to learn more about the business cases and buying power of the LGBT community and has supported the need for a more focused supplier diversity program at the organization.

Tim helped to establish a scholarship to honor Kelly Phillips, a former colleague and close friend, at Kelly’s alma mater to ensure that an LGBT student can pursue their dream to become a lawyer. Tim supplemented the ERG budget and committing his own resources to sponsor an all-chapter PACE ERG leadership summit.

Nominee: Kenji C. Hashimoto
Company: American Airlines
Title: Sr. VP Regional Carriers
ERG: Family Matters Employee Business Resource Group
Position with group: Executive Sponsor

Kenji consistently leverages EBRG members as a forum for advancing new thoughts and ideas for the business and advocates for all EBRGs during officer meetings, highlighting their accomplishments and events and encourages his fellow executives to participate in them.

Kenji kept EBRG initiatives alive during the merger between US Airways and American, when everyone was distracted by integration tasks and when EBRGs were asked to scale down events. Kenji worked tirelessly to help other leaders continue to focus on what was important for the employees in the face of the merger and that by doing so, the impact to the working culture was positive, which in turn, helped productivity in our operation.

He has worked with the Family Matters EBRG to create the business proposition for floating holidays and supported the ERBG in their advocacy for enhancing adoption policies.

Kenji secured two Regional Jets for the Abilities EBRG to host their It’s Cool to Fly American event in Mobile, Alabama, the very first event of its kind at an American Eagle location.

Nominee: Diana Reid
Company: PNC Real Estate
Title: Executive Vice President
ERG: PNC Women Connect
Position with group: Executive Sponsor

Diana leverages her internal network and challenges Senior leaders to connect with PNC Women Connect which allows for greater exposure and opportunities for the members. She is often encouraging Senior Leaders who travel between markets to share their travel schedules so that Women Connect chapters can possibly coordinate a local networking opportunity or other programming.

Diana digs deep on the gender equity conversation – both with men and women. She is not shy about identifying areas of improvement and actively engaging the right parties to create change and make significant progress. She speaks up on behalf of the Women Connect mission and its goals and she connects dots around the organization to combine resources and move the needle.

Diana helps make PNC women visible in our organization and in the community. Diana is willing to look for and leverage intersections between Women Connect, the bank’s Women’s Business Development Executive Steering Committee and her membership in The Committee of 200. While PNC has been a corporate sponsorship partner with C200 for 10 years, the collaborative event held during Women’s History Month was the first time the organizations executed a joint, mutually beneficial program. For PNC, the event exposed female employees and female clients to successful female role models. For C200, the event created awareness within PNC and among clients in 18 different markets, some of whom would qualify as members or for the organization’s Protege entrepreneurial program.

About the Author

Jennifer London
Director, Events