Employee resource groups (ERGs), which provide a safe space for people facing similar challenges to support one another within a company, are very valuable for any diversity and inclusion effort. Today’s article will focus on ERGs for women, with a look at a specific group.
I had a chance to speak with RedPeg Marketing’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Fredda Hurwitz, to discuss the company’s ERG for women. It calls it Women of RedPeg (WoR). Hurwitz defines this group as “an internal and external approach to providing guidance, support, and a safe space to speak, share, learn, and offload.”
Hurwitz described some of the support that WoR provides with two examples. First, the group supports its female members in any effort they make to improve themselves professionally. She gave an example of funding attendance to conferences that are primarily female-led or -focused that colleagues feel would benefit them. Additionally, the group funds scholarships for women who demonstrate a commitment to helping their own community and to finding and helping voices for women.
Another critical part of what an ERG like WoR can offer is a place where people can support each other separately from their official jobs. These involve meetings and dialogues during which members can safely discuss their challenges, their dreams, and how they have overcome hurdles, without fear of negative consequences. And the need for all kinds of ERGs is clear. A recent example of this is a throwaway comment during the group’s monthly meeting: “What I’m really scared of is not being able to figure out my purpose. How do I do that?” This led WoR to invite recent graduates of The Marketing Academy to share what they learned on their 9-month journey to help inform and demystify this for all RedPeg team members, not just WoR.
Why ERGs for Women Are Needed
While I was interviewing Hurwitz, we focused heavily on her experiences and observations during her time in the business world and how those informed her desire to help build a program like WoR. From her point of view—a culmination of her experiences and observations—Hurwitz believes there are several reasons ERGs are necessary for successful corporate cultures.
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