ERLI: Employee Resource Leadership Initiative

Engaging Leaders of Employee Resource Groups

The Catalyst Employee Resource Leadership Initiative (ERLI) engages and connects Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders—for any demographic—across companies, industries, functions, and regions to discuss ideas, share practices, and learn from one another. Grounded in Catalyst knowledge of ERG best practices and inclusive leadership, the inaugural conference for ERG leaders will take place on May 4 – 5 2015, hosted at BMO's Institute for Learning in Toronto.

ERGs or affinity/network groups are voluntary, employee-led groups that serve as a resource for members and organizations by fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives.

Members often tell Catalyst that change is difficult at the middle-manager level. ERGs can provide change that complements senior leadership-driven diversity and inclusion strategies within organizations. Although some regard these groups as exclusive, ERGs serve a critical role to ignite inclusion and build alliances across difference in the workplace. Through a variety of formats including virtual and live events, Catalyst’s ERLI will train ERG leaders to drive inclusion within their companies at the individual and group levels. Organizational outcomes include the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement, and expanded marketplace reach.

If you are a leader, an executive sponsor, or actively involved in your organization’s ERG efforts, and you would like information about upcoming ERLI opportunities, please take a moment to complete the form below. By submitting this form you are giving Catalyst permission to contact you.

For more information about ERLI, please contact Candice Morgan, Senior Director, Global Member Services or Krista Brookman, Vice President, Inclusive Leadership Initiative.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is ERLI distinct from other ERG events/conferences?

ERLI is distinct in its two-pronged approach:

  • Inclusive leadership training for individuals who belong to ERGs.

  • Best practice insights, connection with others, and planning to increase ERG effectiveness and organizational impact.

ERLI is grounded in Catalyst knowledge, which is developed through a variety of platforms including the Catalyst Research Center for Advancing Leadership Effectiveness and Catalyst Award-winning practices. Our events will engage ERG members as emerging leaders who drive inclusion in their everyday roles, and promote ERGs as drivers of change.

2. How can I become involved? How can I involve others at my organization?

If you are an ERG leader, an executive sponsor, or actively involved in your organization’s ERG efforts, and you would like information about upcoming ERLI events, please take a moment to submit the form below.

As a participant, you will have the opportunity to connect with other ERG leaders across a wide variety of constituencies (e.g., women’s, LGBT, millennial, and working parents). ERLI is for men and women alike who are seeking to make their organizations an inclusive workplace. The webinars, upcoming message boards, and materials are open to anyone affiliated with an ERG at a Catalyst member organization. The conference welcomes ERG leaders at all levels, including ERG officers or team leaders, D&I coordinators who manage ERG programs, and executive sponsors.

Stay tuned for a schedule of upcoming events!

3. What sort of topics will ERLI address?

The topics will include training on driving inclusive leadership for ERG members, and promotion of these inclusive leadership behaviors across the organization as a whole. Events and materials will also provide advice on effective ERG planning and operations, from starting an ERG to increasing organizational value and impact. Please refer to Catalyst’s knowledge page on ERGs and toolkit to learn more about our expertise.

4. What will I walk away with when I participate?

When you participate in the the ERLI community and/or attend the conference, you will develop competency in two areas:

Effective ERG leadership

  • Best practice framework and practices for ERGs.

  • Awareness of common problems affecting ERGs, and strategies to solve them.

  • Strategies for enhancing the ERG’s overall value to the organization.

  • Network of external ERG contacts at other Catalyst member companies.

Inclusive leadership

  • Understanding of what inclusive leadership is, and how to practice inclusive behaviors.

  • Ability to lead discussions and train colleagues on inclusive behaviors.

  • Strategies and actions that will drive inclusion in the workplace.