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Celebrating Black Employee Resource Groups’ Success: Cushman & Wakefield Hosts Panel with DEI Leaders

Jennifer Miles • 3/25/2022

BUILD

Cushman & Wakefield’s BUILD employee resource group (ERG) recently hosted a panel discussion with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) leaders and ERG representatives from several organizations to share how ERGs have been impactful in driving change through recruitment, engagement and retention. The event, Black ERGs Making a Difference, was moderated by Fontella Long, Corporate Solutions Manager and incoming National BUILD Chair. 

Guest panelists included:

Camell Branch Shelby

Camell Branch-Selby, Vice President, Managed & IT Services Sales at Xerox Business Solutions, Southeast. Branch-Selby also serves as president of the company’s national Black Employees Association.

Lori Spicer Robertson

Lori Spicer Robertson, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Justin Grant  

Justin Grant, Head of Community Development and National Partnerships for Advancing Black Pathways at JPMorgan Chase.

Brittany Hillman  

Brittany Hillman, Assistant Vice President, Business Support Manager at Bank of America and co-lead of Charlotte’s Black Professional Group.


The panelists discussed how ERGs play an important role in shaping the culture of the company through community building, skill and career development, and leadership opportunities. ERGs not only provide employee engagement, but also serve as a resource by contributing to the success of the business. The panelists agreed that, in order for ERGs to succeed, corporate positioning must reflect both these benefits.

Branch-Selby encouraged ensuring representation at different levels of leadership and highlighted the importance of a succession plan as part of the lessons she’s learned being part of one of the oldest ERGs in corporate America.
"Our number one responsibility is to be advocates. We must not allow ourselves to be relegated to turning into a club. It is up to us to make sure there's space for the next generation and to fight the complacency that causes us to lose ground."


Robertson
 focused on the importance of ERGs building a long-term strategy that goes beyond year one to shift the mindset of leadership in viewing ERGs as more than an employee engagement vehicle and as a business resource. The mindset of leadership is shifting because the purpose of these groups is evolving.

“Sometimes ERGs come together for an immediate impact, but not always for the long run—‘together for a moment, but not a long-term movement.’ ERG leaders have to think about what you are going to do three years from now. How are you going to be impactful to your culture, support the business, and build community resilience?”

Grant shared the importance of having leadership accountability through a track record of engaging and retaining diverse talent.
“If we’re going to succeed in helping Black families build and sustain generational wealth, it is critical that we develop trusted relationships with them over time. A big part of this is attracting and retaining employees who reflect the communities we’re striving to serve.”


Hillman
 emphasized the importance of creating leadership opportunities to help employees upscale their skills and build a path to leadership to help combat the effects of the Great Resignation and ongoing retention rates.

“Members are doing the day-to-day activities of getting their job done, but they are not developing those [leadership] skills.”

At Cushman & Wakefield, our nine employee resource groups raise DEI awareness, foster employee engagement, education and inclusion and build community and a sense of belonging. The knowledge and perspective shared by these leaders underscores the importance of understanding potential challenges, sharing best practices and creating opportunities for ERGs to make an impact for employees and the business. Learn more about DEI at Cushman & Wakefield.

 

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