Good Morning Team Ability,
A few weeks ago, I sent out a very important message of support for the Black community and most importantly, our Black colleagues here at Ability Beyond. I asked for and received some incredible feedback which was eye-opening, insightful, and inspiring from many of you. Thank you for sharing your vision, your experiences, and how we can do better in our goal to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion at Ability Beyond.
Based on feedback, and support from the Leadership Team, as well as our in-house diversity and inclusion expert Julie Sowash and the Disability Solutions’ team, who works with corporations nationally and globally to build diversity & inclusion programs, we are leveraging this time and energy to create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Roadmap for now and in the future.
What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion look like at Ability Beyond? Our approach is going to be two-pronged and will run in parallel, and is going to be driven by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Roadmap being built over the next 30 days, as well as feedback from our Leadership Team, and YOU.
- Prong 1 – Launch our first EVER Ability Beyond Employee Resource Group (ERG) for our Black employees. We are so proud to have had so many employees step up and volunteer to help us build this ERG, but also support our entire DEI roadmap, as the prototype ERG for our other diverse employees. Thank you for your contributions and commitment as we start down this journey. Thank you, Shaileen Brighton-Ortiz for stepping up to lead this critically important work!
- Prong 2: Launch an Agency-wide Diversity Council –The Diversity Council will itself be diverse, will help drive and implement the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion roadmap forward and be a key component to supporting our goals.
What is an Employee Resource Group (ERG)? Employee Resource Groups (or ERGs) are voluntary employee identity or experience-based groups that build community. ERGs are sometimes known as Affinity Groups or Diversity Groups. ERGs are generally based on building community, providing support and contributing to personal and professional development in the work environment through group, community and business driven goals. ERGs are typically founded by core organizers and have membership in varying size, depending on the topic of the group. Many large companies have ERG programs including Uber, Salesforce, Amazon, Google, and more.
Finally, I recognize we have so much diversity in our workforce and we want you to know how important all of you are to our DEI goals. More ERGs and engagement opportunities are coming in the future for you, as we grow our reach. Today, we recognize the opportunity and the importance of supporting our Black employees. We are thrilled to have them spearhead the kickoff of our DEI work and provide them the supports and opportunities they need here at Ability.
Thanks and have a great weekend!
President & CEO
4 Berkshire Boulevard
Bethel, CT 06801