Blog Post

Best Practices from the 2018 Above and Beyond Awards

By Jennifer London
June 26, 2018
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Some of the Above and Beyond Awards Recipients

In its fourth year, Diversity Best Practices’ Above and Beyond Awards has provided insight into some of the next and best practices that employee resource groups, their leaders and allies have to offer. Every year the nominations get stronger, reflecting the evolution of employee resource groups and their position as crucial drivers of change and impact in their organizations.

This year’s nominees were no different, representing an impressive cross section of ERGs, industries and areas of impact. Below we share the best practices from the recipients of this year’s Above and Beyond Awards in four categories: Business Impact, Community Impact, Affinity Group Leadership and Valued Ally. We also created a new award this year, the Best in Class Award for Overall Achievement in Leadership and Impact awarded to Johnson & Johnson’s Veterans Leadership Council. We will be doing a separate article on them in the coming weeks so look out for that!

In the meantime, read on to learn about (and from) this year’s honorees!

Business Impact

Winners: HOLA, Bank of America’s Hispanic/Latino ERG and the Millennial Innovation Council (MIC), Capgemini

Honorable Mention: La Voz, Macy’s Hispanic/Latino ERG

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Representatives of HOLA, Bank of America’s Hispanic/Latino ERG, accept their Above and Beyond Award

Bank of America’s HOLA

HOLA drives responsible growth while strengthening the company brand through community engagement. With 30 percent of new checking account clients identifying as Hispanic/Latino, HOLA has advocated for more resources to be available in Spanish. As a result, the Bank of America mobile banking app is now available in Spanish with more than 1.3M active users in Spanish. HOLA members have engaged clients and promoted the benefits of the mobile app among clients, resulting in a 33 percent year over year increase in 2017.

Another example of HOLA’s wide-ranging work is the impact they have had on workforce development, recruitment and hiring of Latino talent at the bank. Through their external partnership with UnidosUS and the Bilingual Workforce Development Program, Bank of America provides an 8-10 week training program through local affiliates that prepares participants for job placement. Approximately 15 candidates per class in each of the six markets across the U.S. will learn a variety of financial services industry skills.

HOLA has consistently partnered with campus talent acquisition on their Insight Week efforts since 2016, including active recruiting of HOLA mid-level members and executive advisors to volunteer for Insight Week events (networking sessions, mock interviews and panels). Since HOLA’s engagement with the program, acceptance rate of Latino summer interns has increased consistently from 8 percent to 13 percent to a 63 percent increase since 2016.

Lastly, HOLA has worked to develop new programs that yield revenue growth across the markets and help drive better connections across the bank. One example is the Los Angeles Latino Leadership team’s focus on pursuing Latino businesses of all sizes and key Latino individuals and families in Los Angeles. As a result of this work, Bank of America won two major new accounts for the bank including one that includes $110M multi-bank credit facility, Group Banking services to their 3,000 employees, and various mortgages for their employeesand another resulting in $8M in Loans, Treasury Management and Investment services.

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Capgemini’s Millennial Innovation Council

The Millennial Innovation Council (MIC)

Capgemini recently re-branded to reflect a more innovative, youthful, and agile organization. Two business goals that follow this transformation include driving innovative client initiatives and generating thought leadership. Their clients have been asking more from Capgemini to help them develop a culture of innovation and present new ideas and use cases apart from just being a system integrator. The Millennial Innovation Council (MIC) went above and beyond to meet these goals by executing various innovation challenges and hackathons, both internal and external to Capgemini. Hackathons are events that gather working professionals, students, and startups to come up with ideas and build solutions around a problem statement or theme. Participants consist of developers, designers, architects and business people from different companies and industries. It’s recognized by tech giants such as Google and Facebook as one of the fastest and most effective ways to ideate and crowdsource innovative ideas. Since early 2017, the MIC has hosted three successful hackathons (Social Good Hackathon, Millennial Disrupt, and Global Open Banking Hackathon).

To cover financial needs, MIC raised over $200K in funding from Capgemini Business Unit and Service Line leaders and Shared Service Teams (Marketing, HR, CSR, and Recruitment). As a result of MIC-hosted hackathons:

  • Four charities received tangible solutions that advanced their technological assets (e.g.: a new donation portal)
  • Stronger client and partner relationships through inviting clients to mentor, judge and provide their technology environments for participants to use during the event
  • Capgemini’s Group Investment Review Board were provided a repository of all the ideas coming out of our hackathon to
  • The Marketing team received tens of thousands of coverage views from articles covering the events and millions of impressions through social media The success of MIC’s hackathons garnered the attention and support from Capgemini’s global Chief Learning Officer, Head of Talent and HR, and Chief Technology Officer.

With sponsorship and recognition, MIC has grown a hackathon community with evangelists all over the world (including France, UK, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and India). MIC is now on track to host eight hackathons in 2018 – expected to engage dozens of clients, over 1000 hackers, generate hundreds of ideas/solutions, and millions of social media impressions.

These events led to the creation of a brand new service offering for Capgemini called Hackathon as a Service. The MIC leaders behind hackathons have commercialized a model to deliver hackathons as a managed service for clients. This offering acts as a wedge for significant downstream revenue from the ideas coming out of hackathons being developed into full-scale applications for Capgemini’s clients.

In addition to being a Hackathon Leader, MIC is also a trusted sandbox for emerging tools, a hub for learning and development and a culture of innovation and high performance.

La Voz, Macy’s Latino ERG

La Voz was looking for a quick win they could realistically deliver that would have a positive impact on Macy’s business. The goal of the Quinceanera project was to drive new sales based on the group’s knowledge of Macy’s business and the shopping needs of the Latina community.

This project has already driven additional confirmed sales and, more importantly, it has established the start of a potentially much larger business that Macy’s can now market for quinceañera’s and other birthday events, and look at additional merchandise associated with the celebrations.

Community Impact

Winners: Cigna’s Asian/South Asian ERG and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s African American ERG, Enlightenment and Empowerment Enterprise

Honorable Mention: Hispanic Latino Associate Resource Group (HLARG), Walmart

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Mina Ghale of the Asian/South Asian ERG from Cigna accepts the Community Impact Award

Cigna’s Asian/South Asian ERG

In the US during 2012, the total estimated cost of treating and managing diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion- $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. Type 2 diabetes is noted to be significantly more prevalent in certain ethnic groups, including South Asians. Diabetes occurrence for South Asians is as high as 39 percent of the population based on reports from the World Health Organization. To address this issue, the Asian South ERG collaborated with the Health Equity Council and Cigna University to lead an Evidence Based Diabetes Awareness Initiative for the South Asian Population.

As part of Cigna’s cultural competency strategy, assessments and insights are gathered on a regular basis from key stakeholders.

Cigna has created a robust Provider Cultural Competency Training & Resources webpage with dozens of resources to enhance culturally-responsive care for the communities and customers we serve. Diabetes Among South Asians, a three-part cultural competency training series is found on this webpage. This training has been recently released and promoted to approximately 600,000 Cigna providers including medical, behavioral and dental networks. Additional efforts include:

  • Creating a customized internal training for Health Coaches/clinicians to increase their intercultural understanding of the South Asian culture as it relates to diabetes and personalized interventions that could help with care and prevention
  • Collaborating with global public health pioneers and clinical educational leaders such as Arogya world in promoting cross-cultural understanding, cultural competence, and knowledge exchange to improve care delivery.
  • Created a podcast on diabetes burden in South Asians in collaboration with Cigna Foundation Grantee- Arogya Foundation, Dr. Nalini Saligram-public domain
  • Produced multiple YouTube videos
  • Offered onsite biometric health screenings and education at Asians Festivals

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The African American Alliance ERG at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield accepts their Community Impact Award

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s African American ERG, Enlightenment and Empowerment Enterprise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 2,056 opioid overdose deaths in New Jersey in 2016 alone – a statistically significant increase of 42.3 percent from the year prior. In response to the opioid abuse epidemic in flight in the state of NJ, the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Pharmacy team, in partnership with Rutgers University School of Pharmacy, is leading an effort to educate the constituents in NJ about opioid abuse, with a primary focus of outreach to educational institutions. For this purpose, an ‘Opioid Abuse Awareness Toolkit’ was developed.

In the fall of 2017 Horizon’s African American Affinity Group, Enlightenment and Empowerment Enterprise (EEE), joined Horizon’s Pharmacy team’s efforts and began focusing on elementary, junior high, and high schools in Newark, NJ. This partnership is contributing to the local community of the Horizon BCBSNJ headquarters and the city of Newark, NJ. As a part of this process, the team has engaged key area schools to allow them to educate their students, faculty and parents about opioid abuse and prevention. In Q4 of 2017, the team engaged five schools and community organizations and reached over 1300 students, parents, and school faculty members.

Hispanic Latino Associate Resource Group (HLARG), Walmart

Walmart’s Hispanic Latino Associate Resource Group (HLARG) has defined their mission as strengthening Walmart’s Hispanic talent to lead diversity & inclusion efforts that impact business, develop associates and build communities. All Walmart Associate Resource Groups (ARGs), led by HLARG, are proud to sponsor the Mi Futuro Mentoring Program, focused on the betterment of 8th grade students across the nation. The Mi Futuro team partners with a local school to mentor a select number of students in one hour, monthly mentoring sessions held at the participating school.

The Mi Futuro pilot and supporting curriculum was developed by Walmart associates, and the program began in a school in Rogers, Arkansas with 25 students and 8 mentors. Since inception, the program has impacted more than 9,000 students, across 30 states, in nearly 40 schools. Northwest Arkansas (NWA) has approximately 300 associate mentors based out of the Walmart Home Office. Through the participation of 12 local schools in NWA, more than 1,000 students were reached during the 2016 – 2017 academic year.

In addition, HLARG partnered with EngageNWA, an organization that strives to support the individuals that have had the most difficult time integrating and engaging into their regional community including immigrants, business relocatees, and secondary and post-secondary students. Among these segments the group that HLARG and Walmart focuses on primarily is business Relocatees who have relocated to the area for a 2-5 year assignment as an inclusive community with the necessary support services, cultural and culinary amenities, religious institutions, educational systems, and other community-based infrastructure, all essential for helping Walmart – and other global employers – attract and retain top, global talent to the area.

Affinity Group Leadership

Winners: Melissa Halloway, co-lead of Anthem’s LGBT ERG, PRIDE; Ernice Yvette Davis, chair of Bank of America’s Native American Professional Network

Honorable Mention: Kristina Isaac- Hardy, chair of GSK’s African American ERG

Melissa Halloway, National Co-Chair of PRIDE, Anthem’s LGBTQ+ ERG

Melissa took over as Georgia PRIDE lead in October 2016 and shortly after she was named as a national co-chair for the group. Since then, she has worked collaboratively with other Associate Resource Group leaders, executive sponsors, the Diversity & Inclusion team as well as Multicultural Health to further awareness of LGBT health and issues through leading ideas and activities surrounding diversity and inclusion.

Melissa was instrumental in creating branding that promotes inclusivity and acceptance of all associates including changing the the name of the ERG from ANGLE, which only referred to gay and lesbian, and left out many people in the LGBTQ+ community. She also collaborates with Corporate Communications in the creation and delivery of several internal communication campaigns to showcase the work of PRIDE. These initiatives include a screensaver for PRIDE Month and Transgender Awareness Month/Week.

Other accomplishments include the annual roll-out of Transgender 101 Cultural Competency course to all GA Medicaid clinical associates, facilitating a roundtable discussion “Transgender Voices, Stories, and Faces of Anthem” and obtaining and distributing statements from the executive sponsor on Pulse Remembrance, the Trans Military Ban and Title VII LGBT Protections.

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Ernice Yvette Davis accepts her award, pictured here with DBP Executive Director, Deborah Tsai-Munster

Ernice Yvette Davis, Enterprise Lead for Bank of America’s Native American Professional Network

The Native American Professional Network (NAPN) seeks to aid in the retention and career development of Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Alaskan Natives. NAPN also aims to increase awareness of Native American culture with all employees and support business strategy by enlarging the bank’s business presence within Native American sovereign governments. In 2003, NAPN launched but remained almost dormant until the fall of 2015, when Ernice Davis stepped up to lead the network and took on the position of Southwest Chapter NAPN Chair. She has worked tirelessly since that time and has been the driving force behind all the accomplishments and success the network has experienced since its re-launch.

Ernice has reenergized NAPN by identifying leaders throughout the country and strategically working to expand the network to local markets with a large Native American presence. The network started in three small markets: Phoenix, AZ; New York, NY and San Diego, CA and later adding six new markets nationwide: Seattle, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Fort Worth/Plano, TX; Charlotte, NC; Newark/Wilmington, DE and Jacksonville, FL. As a result of the expansion, membership increased 310 percent from 2015. The network grew from 104 members in 2015, to 421 members in 2016 and to 1,306 members in 2017. The number of NAPN events also increased 350 percent from 2016.

Through her vision, Ernice has assisted NAPN in establishing strategic connections with key community partners that service the needs of Native Americans and the internal Bank of America Community Volunteer program. With her ongoing support, NAPN members have been able to deliver financial education in Native American communities and territories. On a yearly basis, the team supports UNITY’s mid-year conference, which promotes a program focused on youth leadership development, training for youth leader advisors, networking, and cultural exchange with more than 400 students attending.

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Kristina Isaac-Hardy was an honorable mention in the Affinity Group Leadership Category. She is seen here with DBP Executive Director, Deborah Tsai-Munster.

Kristina Isaac-Hardy, African American Alliance Employee Resource Group (ERG) at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

In 2014, GSK reorganized its R&D organization which displaced key leaders within the African American Alliance ERG. Driven by her passion for both people, the development of others and her commitment to embed an inclusive work environment, Kristina strategically assembled a small multi-site team and began the work to rebuild the ERG.

Under her leadership, the ERG shifted from a siloed, site-based model to an aligned, enterprise model comprised of over 800 members at eight GSK sites. In 2017, Kristina led the efforts to focus on including field-based staff in the ERG. She identified primary points of contact within the commercial organization who served as conduits of information about business initiatives supported by the ERG. These changes to the governance model resulted in increased membership, more employee engagement, more efficient use of the ERG’s budget and an enhanced ability to support and align to both the needs of the business and to the US I&D strategy. In 2018, she is responsible for co-leading a resource group comprised of two executive sponsors, an ERG steering team, a board of advisors, and over 800 ERG members at 8 sites across the US.

Another significant area of impact driven by Kristina is the design and implementation of the US Race & Ethnicity Council at GSK. In 2016, Kristina, along with members of the AAA ERG and leaders from GSK’s US I&D team met with the CEO to discuss how to embed a culture of inclusion throughout the organization. One solution proposed by the team and endorsed by the CEO was the implementation of a Race & Ethnicity program. Kristina has been integral in the development of the governance and strategic direction of the council which was implemented in 2018. The primary goal of the Council is to focus on identifying, influencing, and emphasizing ways to make GSK and ViiV Healthcare an inclusive workplace for employees of color.

For several years, Kristina and many AAA ERG members have served as Reverse Diverse Mentors to senior leaders at GSK. In this capacity, the ERG members are sounding boards and confidantes to senior leaders who are faced with challenging I&D related scenarios. The mentors and mentees share their experiences and unique perspectives while respectfully challenging each other’s biases. Topics vary, ranging from discussions about #TimesUp and Black Lives Matter, to how to support LBGTQ employees in countries where difference is not celebrated.

Valued Ally

Winner: Dr. Paul Huckle, Executive Sponsor of the African American Alliance ERG at GSK

Honorable Mention: Michel and Gerry, Executive Sponsors of the Women’s Network at Leidos

Dr. Paul Huckle, Executive Sponsor of the African American Alliance ERG at GSK

Dr. Huckle joined AAA (African American Alliance) in the Summer of 2016 and immediately made an impact. Prior to him joining, the ERG was struggling with helping the commercial business understand the value in the areas of diversity recruitment, retention and development. To gain an understanding of the challenges, Dr. Huckle pulled together a roundtable of both AAA members and African American employees for a candid inclusion dialogue. From his learning, he went into action and implemented several programs not only in his organization (Office of the Chief Regulatory Officer) but for the entire global Research and Development organization as well.

Dr. Huckle mandated that his leadership team go through diversity training and participate in a reverse diverse mentoring experience. He also ensured that his executive team implemented leadership inclusion dialogue sessions with their teams to encourage courageous conversation with middle management. Throughout the Research and Development organization he developed and implemented the Diverse Candidate Pool Plus 1 Program, a recruiting program designed to ensure diverse candidates are properly vetted in the hiring process. The Plus 1 protocol was piloted in the Chief Regulatory Office before implementation across the R&D organization and Dr. Huckle is the senior sponsor.

Building a relationship with HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) was another key objective of AAA and Dr. Huckle understood the value and importance of these relationships. Through his executive team and leaders of AAA, in 2017, Dr. Huckle encouraged two of his VPs (alumna of Howard University) to establish a partnership with Howard University Pharmacy School and developed the first Howard/GSK internship program. This program is now not only an internship program with 2 students in the summer but has also evolved into a fellowship program with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that will be implemented in Fall 2018. GSK will host two Howard Pharmacy School students for a two-year rotational program which includes a 6-month rotation with the FDA.

Dr. Huckle reached out to then GSK CEO, Sir Andrew Witty to request that AAA Leadership have a meeting with Mr. Witty for open dialogue. Due to his influence, AAA was a part of history by being the first ERG to meet face-to-face with the CEO. From this conversation with Mr. Witty, AAA leadership along with Dr. Huckle, submitted a proposal of suggested changes needed for the success of people of color at GSK. For the first time, in 2018, GSK recognized Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s national holiday as a GSK US company holiday and in February 2018, implemented a US Race and Ethnicity Council sponsored and driven by senior leaders within the GSK US businesses and led by Dr. Huckle.

Michele Brown / Gerry Fasano, Executive Sponsors of the Women’s Network at Leidos

In August 2016 Leidos merged with the former Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) businesses. Both Leidos and IS&GS had different values and cultures as individual companies – differences also reflected in their overlapping ERGs, including the Women’s Network (WN). Both company’s WNs had a different structure, maturity level, and Executive Sponsors. Michele Brown was the Executive Sponsor for the Leidos WN with nearly 700 members worldwide as of August 2016. Gerry Fasano was the Executive Sponsor for the IS&GS WN with nearly 150 members as of August 2016. Together, Michele and Gerry were immediately vested in positioning the largest Leidos ERG to help shape the new culture not just for women at Leidos, but for all employees. They were both instrumental in helping to solidify the WN national leadership team, committing their time and efforts to recruit a strong class of leaders to represent the diverse culture of the new company. They worked tirelessly to ensure the leadership team had representatives from both heritage companies.

Once the WN national team was in place, Michele and Gerry strategized with the national team to rebrand the WN and focus programming to align with the Leidos Diversity & Inclusion engagement measurement objectives – workforce (the people), the workplace (the work environment/culture) and the marketplace (external branding/reputation). Gerry and Michele’s guidance to align the WN’s program with the Diversity & Inclusion team enabled both groups to work toward the common goals of growing membership, encouraging members to pursue philanthropic endeavors aligned with causes important to the company, and creating events that foster individual career growth that ultimately positions the entire company for success.

About the Author

Jennifer London
Director, Events