2019 ERG & Council Conference
"Time for Change"

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Keynotes, Workshops & Concurrent Sessions

Keynote Addresses

Interesting, relevent & timely messages that are intended to educate, entertain and challenge the attendees to reach new levels of achievement.

Keynote Day 2 - The Gender Equality Advantage

Room: Grand Harbor Ballroom South


Many corporations are committed to increasing gender equality in the workplace, but most of the time we think that means simply developing better policies for women. Men rarely see themselves as stakeholders in the gender equality discussion. For more than 30 years, Michael Kimmel has been working with corporations, governments, public sector organizations and NGOs, to engage men to support gender equality. Not only because it's the right thing to do (which it is) or even because it's good for business (which it is), but because it's also good for men themselves. Kimmel also offers a broader discussion of Diversity and Inclusion that shows how greater diversity by race, ethnicity, and sexuality, also benefits profitability and return on investment, corporate culture, and everyone's working experience. Kimmel's keynote presentations, based on his acclaimed TED talk, are by turn humorous, engaging, and entirely evidence-based. Kimmel shows that gender equality is not only right and fair, but it's also smart. It's not a zero-sum, but a win-win all around.


Our four 90-minute workshops provide Employee Resource Group, Business Resource Group and Diversity Council members with an opportunity to take a deeper dive into four of the most challenging topics facing them today.


Workshop 1 - Building Allies for ERGs, BRGs and Beyond

Room: Asbury A

Presented by:PRISM International


It has become increasingly clear that no diversity effort can make it on its own. Even people of good intent find themselves too busy with their own worlds to make time for others. With looming deadlines, complex projects, and teams to manage, being an ally may not seem worth the effort. Consequently, Diversity and Inclusion leaders can sometimes find it difficult to enlist allies, even when they are sympathetic to the cause. Further, there are also other leaders who have never thought of themselves as potential allies, but who have needed skills, perspectives, and influence to bring to the table. The question is, why should any potential ally take on additional responsibilities when they are already feeling as if they are maxed out? Frankly, what's in it for them? In this 90-minute interactive session, participant will examine best practices in finding and building allies for ERG and BRGs. In doing so, they will also examine benefits and risks on reputational capital. Further, session participants will clarify ways in which an ally can gain tangible benefits to their own career while helping others grow.


Workshop 2 - Achieving Strategic Retention through Diversity and Inclusion

Room: Asbury B

Presented by:Association of Diversity Councils


We all know that a strong engagement culture typically results in employee retention, powering an organization to higher levels of success. But what about diversity and inclusion? Do these elements have an even deeper role in achieving what is known as 'strategic retention'; the ability to retain key players that ultimately drive organizational value and growth? During this session, the presenters will explore how organizations are achieving new levels of performance through its people...ALL of its people. Join Cile Johnson, Chief Business Officer for Talent Dimensions, and Lynn Cowart, Chief Operations Officer for Talent Dimensions, as they reveal how a climate of diversity and inclusion is a key driver for an organization's strategic retention efforts, ultimately accounting for its overall success.


Workshop 3 - Becoming an Effective, Impactful Articulate Advocate

Room: Asbury C

Presented by:PRISM International


  • Alan Partin
    Vice President Client Relationships PRISM International, Inc.
  • Bobby Gordon
    Vice President Client Relationships PRISM International, Inc.

In this workshop, you will identify, discuss and practice 10 key diversity and inclusion communication tactics that will increase your confidence, competence and credibility in articulating your organization’s diversity and inclusion process. Sharpen your ability and raise your comfort level with the 4 “I”s – Initiating, Informing, Involving and Inspiring new advocates to join your ERG or Council.

More specifically, in this workshop we will...

  • Increase your awareness of individual reactions when talking about diversity, inclusion and your ERG or Council
  • Identify and discuss 10 key diversity and inclusion communication tactics that every ERG or Council leader should know
  • Increase your confidence and competence for responding to questions, issues and concerns
  • Sharpen your ability and raise your comfort level with the 4 "I"s – Initiating, Informing, Involving and Inspiring advocates


Workshop 4 - Choosing Respect in the Workplace

Room: Asbury D

Presented by:PRISM International


The lack of civility and respect are common occurrences in the workplace. Employees who experience disrespectful behavior, say they have decreased their work effort, intentionally decreased the time spent at work, decreased the quality of their work, and reported that their commitment, performance, creativity and engagement declined. The bottom line: disrespectful behavior in the workplace is expensive and prevents inclusion.

In this session, participants will...

  • Understand how professional, respectful behavior relates
    to the mission of your organization and impacts business
  • Define "respect" and identify associated behaviors
  • Understand your role in promoting a respectful workplace
  • Use the strategies and tools provided to ensure that everyday behaviors align with your organizational values to support
    positive business outcomes

Concurrent Sessions

Our eight, 75-minute concurrent sessions reflect the areas in which ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils desire clearer understanding, greater insights, knowledge, skills and proven examples of best practices. They are led by some of the most respected and accomplished D&I organizational leaders and recipients of past years' Honors Awards.

Session 1 - Learn from the Best: Recipients of the Association of ERGs and Councils' Honors Award reveal their secrets for impactful change.

Room: Asbury A



  • Fran Dillard
    Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Texas Instruments
  • Sheri Mc Grath
    Vice President, Employee Inclusion Director Human Resources, U.S. Bank
  • Anila Jivanji
    Sr Specialist Inclusion & Diversity, American Airlines

Every year, hundreds of ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils vie to land a spot on the Association of ERGs and Councils' Honors Award Top 25 list. The Honors Award recognizes the best practices of ERGs and Councils that have shown measurable impact within organizations.

Adding value and positive impact to an organization is something to which we can all aspire. How did they do it? This is your chance to find out.

We have gathered three of the best to share their unique journeys to achieving success and business impact. In this interactive session, attendees will be able to network and ask questions of the best practice winners and will take away, not just one but three strategies of how to move their ERG or Council forward.

Texas Instruments - 2017 Top 10 (#5)
U.S. Bank - 2017 Top 25

American Airlines- 2017 Top 10

Session 2 - Faith-Based ERGs- Bold, Courageous, and What's Next

Room: Asbury B


Increasingly companies receive requests for faith-based ERGs, but many may not know if they are ready to address religion in the workplace, what a faith-based ERG should look like, or what role it could play in the  company. Fear remains around religion as a workplace topic, yet religion is regularly in the news and a recurring theme on people's minds. In this session, Tanenbaum will draw upon over 20 years of working with and assisting in the launch of faith-based ERGs to present different faith-based ERG models; the business case for faith-based ERGs and how they contribute to the workplace, workforce, and marketplace; and guidelines for forming faith-based ERGs as well as better practices for ERG-related communications.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Explore different options for how to set up a faith-based ERG and what each model can accomplish.
  2. Gain a basic understanding of the business case for faith-based ERGs and contributions to a company.
  3. Acquire best practices to launch and maintain faith-based ERGs.

Session 3 - GM WOMEN: The ERG Journey

Room: Asbury C


Importance of "Looking Ahead" and aligning efforts across the company to achieve greater results.

2017 Top 25 (#1)

Session 4 - Corporate Best Practices for Business Resource Groups: How BRGs are Adding to Companies' Bottomline

Room: Asbury D


In session, we'll explore how companies are:

  • Aligning BRGs to business goals
  • Case Study & Examples
  • Maximizing the opportunity to integrate with Multicultural Markets (specifically Hispanic- & African American segment)

Session 5 - The Executive Sponsor: Catalyst for Change

Room: Asbury A


  • Wil Lewis
    Director of Diversity, Bank of America


  • Ian Watkins
    Chief Human Resources Officer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
  • Tom Guay
    VP of Risk Selection Strategy, Northwestern Mutual

The Executive Sponsor plays a critical role in the success of each ERG and Council. Truly great Executive Sponsors are not honorary or figurehead positions; Executive Sponsors should play an active role with their ERGs and Councils. They serve as strategists, mentors, advocates, problem solvers and door openers.

In this session, three exemplary Executive Sponsors from award winning organizations, will discuss and share how Executive Sponsors can:

  • Leverage their position within the company to influence senior leadership and build engagement at the C suite for the diversity work of Employee Resource Groups,
  • Shows a commitment to diversity and inclusion beyond involvement in an ERG or Council,
  • Provide opportunities for greater visibility, credibility and impact for their ERGs and Councils, and
  • Expand their own diversity and inclusion knowledge base to better support the ERG and the business.

Bank of America - 2017 Top 25
Mallinckrodt - 2017 Top 25 (#2)
Northwestern Mutual - 2017 Top 25

Session 6 - ERGs through a European Lens: Strategic Imperative or Tick Box Exercise?

Room: Asbury B


When there are pieces missing from a jigsaw, the picture is incomplete. ERGs are a crucial element of the organisational puzzle but are sometimes misplaced and misunderstood. There are global examples of how ERGs can be a strategic resource amplifying the employee voice, championing change and demonstrating their P.O.W.E.R™

Sharing lessons from across the globe, this session will explore how ERGS can:

  • Adopt the necessary mindset required for a sustainable 21st Century
  • Be a leading light for change and inclusion in the organisation
  • Avoid certain maladies and remain healthy
  • Encourage leaders

Session 7 - The ABC's of ERGs and Councils: A Step by Step Guide for Success

Room: Asbury C

Presented by:Cleveland Clinic


  • Le Joyce Naylor
    CDO, Cleveland Clinic


  • Diana Gueits
    Director, D & I Cleveland Clinic - ERG/ DC Advisor
  • Donna Skurzak
    Director, D & I Cleveland Clinic – ERG/DC Advisor

This session will provide the tools needed to achieve optimal success for an ERG or Council. Using the Cleveland Clinic created ERG/DC Operations Guide we will examine the benefit, process and components to launching a successful ERG or Council. In this session the attendee will review the creation of the guide, key components and develop a business plan for use with their organization's ERGs and Councils.


  1. Introduce the ERG/DC Operations Guide - inception, development and application.
  2. Demonstrate benefits of operationalizing ERGs/DCs including role; structure and governance required for strategic organizational alignment
  3. Discuss key components required for successful ERG/DC execution – Events or Projects; Budgets; Metrics; Outcomes and Results
  4. Create a Business Plan for an ERG/ DC – develop a project/event; align with identified organizational strategy; apply metrics; document successful outcomes.
  5. Q & A

Those attending this session will leave with a business plan and ERG/DC operations guide.

2017 Top 25 Recipient (#4)



Conference attendees share their thoughts about Conference take-aways.

View 2017 Conference & Honors Award Photos

Presented by:

PRISM International

Association of Diversity Councils