7 Personal testimonials on the life-changing effects of ERGs

June 8, 2023
effects of ERGs

In the pursuit of success, we often hear that it’s not what you do, but why you do it that truly matters. And they’re not wrong. 

But here’s the thing: we people often forget about the who in the equation. 

A scientist and a basement conspiracy blogger are both powered by the why of revealing truth, but who would you trust when they tell you the Earth is flat? The who tells us how similar their lived experience is to our own, and it helps us evaluate the authenticity of the why statement. 

Here’s another example: A company’s career website page includes a statement declaring their commitment to ensuring all their employees feel they can belong. Compare that with an employee testimonial sharing the first time they attended their company’s employee resource group (ERG) and how it made them feel they belong. 

The why is the same – sharing that employees feel like they can belong at the company, but which one would you find more convincing?

While seeing a company commit to creating inclusive workplaces can be reassuring, we’re assuming that hearing it backed by a real employee in their own voice will heavily influence your trust and belief in the message. 

So, we’ve brought together several employees from some of our Endorsed Employers to provide firsthand accounts of the value they’ve found in their respective organization’s ERGs. These testimonials offer a personal narrative that goes beyond glossy brochures and corporate websites. They reveal the reality of how these groups make them feel and highlight the tangible ways they’ve altered their careers for the better.

Check out the testimonials from these amazing Endorsed Employers: 

Powerlink | Cisco Meraki | Stantec | Softcat | Northern Trust | Microsoft

“As a member of the Pride group, I am a visible ally for those who identify as LGBTIQA+ but might not be ready to make it public.”

“Personally, I have a disability and identify as pansexual. Being able to be myself at work means I can just relax and focus on doing what I do well. Inclusion means none of my energy is lost in trying to hide a part of myself, or work around barriers. The company benefits from different perspectives, which is critical in an industry that is transforming quickly.

“I am part of a few of the ERGs at Powerlink, for a number of different reasons. This is the first workplace where I have been ready to be publicly ‘out’ at work. It takes time and psychological safety to get to a point where you feel ok to make that choice. 

“As a member of the Pride group, I am a visible ally for those who identify as LGBTIQA+ but might not be ready to make it public. As a group, we are able to hold awareness raising and educational opportunities for employees, which helps to make the organization safer for people to be their whole selves at work.

“There is still work to do so that all LGBTIQA+ staff feel accepted, but we have a voice to create the change. I’ve done talks at leadership meetings on how some language in our industry causes hurt to LGBTIQA+ people, and been thanked for opening people’s eyes, rather than criticized for being awkward.”

Jenny Vu

Senior Technical Recruiter at Cisco Meraki

I connected with Anna Tran, who is our Communications Lead for Connect Asian Affinity Network (CAAN). She shared the following regarding the values EROs bring to people:

“EROs bring employees with shared values together and create an environment that fosters connections so everyone can participate. They create a safe environment for meaningful and challenging conversations, allowing everyone to learn and grow together.”

Angeles Goyanes Eggimann 

Sustainability Project Technical Lead, Team Leader – Sydney at Stantec

When the meeting ended, I felt the immediate urge to let everyone know about this…”

“I discovered Latinos in Stantec during the 2021 lockdown. The global calendar invite named “Tertulia” immediately caught my attention.

“I didn’t know anyone in the call, and had no idea what to expect, but as soon as I heard Ricardo Carlos Perez’s (Global Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Director) whole-hearted introduction, I knew I somehow belonged.

“Not surprisingly, I was the only Australian employee in the call. When the meeting ended, I felt the immediate urge to let everyone know about this.

“That’s when I met Aida Leon (Sustainability Project Technical Lead, based in WA) and we started working towards the launch of the Australian Chapter for Latinos in Stantec (LiS).

“I’m a Project Technical Lead, and Team lead within the Building’s Sustainability team in Sydney. Stantec has given me great opportunities throughout my career journey. However, as a South American-immigrant-woman working in Engineering in Australia, there was a part of me that felt unrepresented.

“I especially noted this when I was required to pick a mentor. It was really hard to find someone who I could relate to inside and outside of work.

“We started LiS Australia to create a platform for employees looking for a sense of belonging. Employees across Stantec make use of LiS in different ways but it’s mainly used to connect with others and promote cultural awareness. 

“Globally, LiS members receive mentorship and professional development opportunities. In Australia, LiS is quite young, and we are still understanding what the needs of our members are. 

“Yet, the main objective is to offer a safe place for employees to speak up.”

Lisa Van Campfort

Practice Services Manager, Asia Pacific at Stantec

“I am proud to be the Chair of the ANZ chapter of the Neurodiversity Employee Resource Group (ERG).  

Stantec is a company that genuinely works to promote awareness, understanding and appreciation of the many ways in which our employees are ‘diverse’, be it based on gender, race, sexuality, cultural background or neurotype.”

“The role of the Neurodiversity ERG, is to give a voice to neurodiverse employees (and staff with neurodiverse family or friends), leveraging their lived experiences to improve awareness of how neurodiversity can impact individuals.”

“We take a two-part approach, working to highlight and celebrate the benefits that neurodiversity can bring to Stantec, while also recognizing and championing the provision of support that neurodiverse people may need at work in order to achieve their full potential.”    

Rupali Chadda (she/her)

Internal Recruiter at Softcat

“They provide a forum for individuals to speak up for others in the company and support employees on personal and professional matters in a judgement-free zone.”

“Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at Softcat provide a safe space for employees to share their experiences and engage in open discussions about a range of topics. They also serve as a sounding board for ideas and issues, and they bring together diverse individuals with common interests. 

“For example, the Pride network at Softcat provides a safe space for LGBTQI+ employees to connect and discuss global topics or personal matters. The network also has a committee of 20 individuals who support the organization of company and network events. The wider network of over 120+ Softcat employees enables individuals to be their authentic selves in the workplace and to make a positive change in an area they are passionate about. 

“The Empowering Disability and Neurodiversity Network (EDN) has also had a significant impact on Softcat. The creation of a safe space has allowed individuals with neurodivergent conditions to feel comfortable and confident in expressing themselves from the very beginning. 

“The EDN has provided a forum for employees to discuss their unique challenges and experiences, allowing them to feel heard and understood. This has helped to break down barriers and foster a sense of community and belonging. 

“The ERGs also help to develop Softcat‘s culture by bringing people together and promoting diversity, innovation, and collaboration. 

“These networks offer a sense of community and inclusivity, which helps to create a more welcoming and accepting workplace. They provide a forum for individuals to speak up for others in the company and support employees on personal and professional matters in a judgment-free zone.”

Theresa Hoogland (she/her)

Head of Marketing APAC at Northern Trust

“I originally joined Women In Leadership Australia as I was passionate about increasing the representation of women within Northern Trust. As someone new to Northern (back then), it also provided a fantastic vehicle to meet partners across the branch as well as globally.”

“When the Chair role became available, I saw it as a great opportunity to drive the change I wanted to see and help move the dial on the key issues facing women at NT. This year WiL is looking to focus on skills, training and education programs that help women achieve their career goals.”

“I am also focused on bringing all of our partners together, including our male ally network, to understand, and positively influence, the experiences affecting women in the workplace. I encourage you all to join us on that journey.”

Sinéad Fitzgerald

Senior Partner Development Manager at Microsoft Australia

“A virtual haven, this group has inspired and supported me in my professional journey.”

“As a working single mother who had recently embarked on a new job amidst the unprecedented challenges of the COVID lockdown era, I was determined to build my network.

“I am absolutely delighted to share my experience as a member of the Microsoft Women’s ERG. A virtual haven, this group has inspired and supported me in my professional journey, showing me how Microsoft values women’s contributions.

“I’ve found a community and a support system of amazing women and allies who share my passion and goals.

“Not only do I have a platform to champion women’s voices; I can actively contribute to discussions on diversity, inclusion, and gender equality, knowing that my opinions matter and I can drive positive change.

Microsoft, like other major tech brands, has the opportunity and responsibility to influence and transform. I feel positive that we can create a brighter future where women’s talents are recognized, valued, and celebrated.”

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About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

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