HAVE IN COMMON WITH
GLSEN’s Dr. Eliza Byard, executive director, shows how
resource groups, like gay-straight alliances, can transform workplace
experiences for people from traditionally underrepresented groups.
When I began my work at GLSEN 10 years ago, I had no idea that I would have a courtside seat for the emergence of one of the most important new forces in
workplace diversity and corporate philanthropy: the
employee-resource group (ERG). In corporate workplaces, it is now expected that ERGs will be included in
any diversity and inclusion strategy.
During that same period, I have also witnessed the
explosion of activism among lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) students, and the proliferation of
student clubs known as gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in
high schools and even some middle schools nationwide.
GLSEN partners with amazing student leaders from all
across the country, supports the formation of GSAs and
maintains contact with a national network of thousands
of these student clubs.
Over time, ERGs have demonstrated their value
for increasing employee satisfaction and connection
to their workplaces, particularly when there is strong
and visible C-suite support. Affinity groups for LGBT
employees and their allies are especially critical sources
of support for those who face an entrenched—and
sometimes violent—form of social prejudice.
By supporting LGBT-specific ERGs, corporations and
their most senior leaders convey a particularly powerful
BY DR. ELIZA BYARD