Diversity and Inclusion, Empowering Women, Leadership, Working Women

Women’s Networks: Not for Women Only

Three months ago, a group of passionate and powerful women started the conversation around the potential of creating a Women’s Network ERG (employee resource group) in our Division HQ location. This past Friday, we held a coffee social event to measure the interest level in this affinity group. We had over 70 people join us to learn about the Women’s Network. There was so much energy and excitement, we quickly realized this forum will serve a need for many!

Membership in and connection to ERGs is one of my passions – especially the engagement found in a Women’s Network! I know how very powerful an ERG can be for its members. Working for my prior company, I was involved in the Women’s Network. I have seen firsthand the impact that an ERG can have on employees – from professional development to career opportunities to community connections. Throughout my career I have experienced those benefits myself.

The creation of this Women’s Network drove a few different thoughts for me over the past month. We clearly continue to have real opportunity to support one another and drive a community of women in a space where we can develop, mentor, inspire, and network! However, I am convinced that we will need to consider some things going forward (some obvious, others not so much):

• Women in the workplace cover multi-generations that encompass different experiences, different needs as those generations mature through a career. How can those multi- generations co-exist in areas of professional development, mentoring, workplace interests etc.?

• How does talent development for women address the generational spectrums?

• How do we ensure we can preserve a meaningful focus on women’s issues in the workplace (and in life) while starting to invite men to the conversation?

It is critically important that we invite men into these conversations and initiatives. We need to ensure men are at the table to broaden awareness of some of the issues important to women in the workplace and the women in their lives. We have had these conversations amongst us, as women, for a very long time. However, I am certain that inviting men to the conversation develops more awareness and leaders who can appreciate the perspective of women in the workplace even more deeply. (This could frankly be said for any ERG – hence an inclusive approach to membership and inviting others to an affinity awareness drives a more holistic organization)

I am grateful that I work for a company that embraces diverse thought, diverse background, diverse geography, and diverse experience. A company where every person in an organization has a voice, a thought, an idea. A place where we can create a village of support and connection! The creation of culture of diversity and inclusion drives happier employees, engaged employees, and a strong healthy business!

 

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