When more than 60 Viacom employees from London, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville and New York convened for two days recently at the company’s global headquarters in Times Square, they had more than just their employer in common. In addition to their day jobs, they are all dedicated leaders in the company’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which work through our Office of Global Inclusion (OGI), to continually build an environment of inclusiveness. They had assembled in Viacom’s cavernous White Box event space for OGI’s first-ever ERG Leadership Summit.
OGI is committed to uniting employees, celebrating differences, and recognizing that through these connections our business is strengthened. Last year alone, OGI’s network of eight ERGs – AMP, The BEAT, Emerge, Fusion, HERE, The ParentHood, SOMOS and Thursday Think – collectively hosted more than 200 events focused on professional development, cultural awareness, networking, community service and supporting our business.
Marva Smalls, executive vice president of Global Inclusion Strategy, kicked off the summit, expressing pride in the investment Viacom is making in its ERGs and their leadership.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman spent time with participants on both days of the summit. He fondly referred to the ERGs as the company’s “central nervous system,” adding that their selfless commitment to impacting employees’ day-to-day experience is a testament to Viacom’s bright future.
Scott Mills, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, applauded the ERGs’ accomplishments and encouraged them to build deeper relationships with human resources and other key divisions to further drive business results, underscoring the importance of diversity and inclusion to our company’s financial success.
ERG leaders also strengthened their skills, participating in a master class in persuasive presentations as well as a series of breakout sessions. An infectious energy was present, since participants from various regions were meeting face to face for the first time, after having only worked with one another electronically.
One participant commented, “regardless of geography or demographic, all of the ERGs want the same thing – to inspire, to include, and to ensure diversity at every level and area of the company.” Attendees shared a renewed passion for innovation and inclusion and left inspired to continually collaborate to make a positive difference within Viacom.