In the workplace, employee resource groups (ERGs) are critical for supporting underrepresented and marginalized talent. They act as strongholds for empowerment and unity and, through events and programming, can have a broader impact on a company's culture, eventually making the organization a better and more inclusive place to work.
When ERGs are done right, it’s not uncommon for recruitment and HR teams to collaborate with ERG leaders on eliminating biases from hiring and promotion processes, for companies to tie business goals to ERGs’ success, and for allies and leaders to gain new insight into other experiences through ERG initiatives.
What does that look like in practice? We asked four ERG leaders at Veeam, the global leader in modern data management, to share how they foster inclusion through their work. Below, meet four passionate women leaders making real change by building resources for underrepresented groups and creating spaces where members feel seen and celebrated.
How does your employee resource group build a culture of inclusion?
African Heritage in IT (AHIT)
The ERG’s mission: AHIT is a North American ERG that focuses on people of African heritage and people of color. They bring together a diverse group of allies of all ethnic backgrounds.
From their ERG leader:
“As a woman of color, my motivation to become a leader in the ERG at Veeam is deeply rooted in my desire to serve as a beacon of light for those who feel overlooked or unseen within the African heritage community in IT. This motivation has influenced my approach to fostering inclusivity by instilling in me a commitment to empathy, understanding, and empowerment.
One of our ERG’s significant accomplishments is the celebration of diversity and the provision of opportunities for underrepresented individuals, including support for women in tech. During Juneteenth, we honored five students from Meadowcreek High School with college scholarships. These students came from various backgrounds and ethnicities but shared a common goal of obtaining freedom through education. By providing these scholarships, we not only supported the educational aspirations of these students but also demonstrated Veeam’s commitment to fostering inclusivity across diverse communities.
Furthermore, within our ERG, we have organized events, workshops, and mentorship programs specifically tailored to provide support and guidance to Black professionals in IT. These efforts have contributed to a more inclusive and diverse IT community within Veeam, aligning with our broader goal of promoting and cultivating Black excellence in the industry.” —Ebony King, Manager, Inside Sales
The ERG’s mission: The Inclusion ERG exists to encourage Veeamers to ‘be yourself and be proud of who you are’. They promote a supportive, respectful, and inclusive culture that allows every Veeamer to thrive, succeed, and fuel business results.
From their ERG leader:
“The Inclusion ERG gives Veeam employees the opportunity to cultivate conversations that promote a supportive, respectful, and empathic workplace where Veeamers can thrive while also growing professionally. We have quarterly events that are informed by feedback and suggestions from our membership base, and our ERG leaders use that input to create events that center around current events, mental health, and what it means to be ‘inclusive’ in the workplace.
The Inclusion ERG’s standout event in 2023, with over 600 employees attending, featured actor and mental health advocate Sean Astin. Sean discussed the importance of ‘Breaking the Silence’ about mental health, especially in the workplace. Growing up with a mother who had bipolar disorder, Sean helped us gain a deeper understanding of mental health awareness, inspired employees to start open conversations about wellbeing, and encouraged Veeamers to foster an inclusive and supportive work atmosphere.
Another highly impactful Inclusion event featured Dr. Jennifer Patrick leading a virtual session on overcoming imposter syndrome in tech careers, particularly for women. This session explored how personal backgrounds influence our daily perceptions and decisions. Attendees resonated with the topic and shared how fears affected their career choices. The key lesson: release the comparison trap and remember that many others face similar pressures. Our ERG leadership team looks forward to tackling more topics provided by our membership as areas of focus in 2024.” —Becky Greiner, Team Lead, Web Content Strategy
The ERG’s mission: The Pride ERG aims to build a safe and supportive community for LGBTQ+ employees. By empowering the communities in which they live and work, they work to create a sustainable, inclusive culture where LGBTQ+ employees can bring their authentic selves to work and feel like they belong.
From their ERG leader:
“Firstly, I have concentrated on our current LGBTQ+ employees. We have a network of those who identify as LGBTQ+ within the organization; it’s a safe space for them to share experiences and an inclusive community to help them feel like they are not alone and that they belong.
We are also concentrating on raising awareness and education by hosting webinars and events for all Veeam people and bringing in external expertise in the form of an LGBTQ+ not-for-profit organization that focuses on LGBTQ+ workplace equity and inclusion, which can support us in creating a culture of belonging for LGBTQ+ employees.
Finally, we want to be the best and measure how we are evolving. We know we are on a journey, so we are using the UN LGBTQ+ Standards Gap Analysis Tool to help assess where we are and understand what we need to do to be better about tackling discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. This will set our roadmap for the future.
Ultimately, I am a gay woman from an underprivileged background in the world of tech. My drive is to make change for good and be a role model for anyone who is from a minority.” —Shona Wilson, Global Employer Brand Leader & Global Pride ERG Leader
Women in Green
The ERG’s mission: The Women in Green Employee Resource Group is committed to closing the gender gap of women in tech by connecting women, celebrating their achievements, and providing career growth opportunities.
From their ERG leader:
“I became an ERG leader because of my passion to help change the face of our industry and to help pave the way to help other women in technology. In my role leading our Americas Women in Green chapter, I have seen firsthand the impact this type of ERG has on our associates and our overall business. Women in Green connects women of all stages in their careers and assists in their development by facilitating career growth. We also focus on sharing best practices, elevating and enabling women, and driving awareness on the gender gap we have in our industry.
Through webinars, local events, and partnerships with other organizations, we are able to influence a culture of inclusion at Veeam. This year, our Women in Green ERG launched our Elevate Program, which is a 12-month development program that empowers women talent through executive and personalized coaching for exceptional results and accelerated leadership journey.” —Dangvy Keller, Vice President, Americas Alliance & Distribution Sales
One of InHerSight’s 20 Best Information Technology and Services Companies to Work For, Veeam’s top metrics are Ability to Telecommute, Flexible Work Hours, and The People You Work With. Eighty-five percent of respondents also say their growth and success are prioritized here and that they’ve received the necessary feedback at their jobs to achieve their goals! Click below to explore Veeam’s company profile and open positions now!