ERG Summit takes things to new heights

By Ellen Cooke

We have 11 thriving employee resource groups (ERGs) at National Grid – open to all employees and covering all spectrums of our diverse employee base, from different ethnicities, races, genders and sexual preferences, to people looking for better work/life balance.

They all have one thing in common – engaged members are looking to bond and learn from each other, and make a difference in our company, communities and culture.

They met at our second annual ERG leadership summit on April 28 to take things to a new level. “The idea of this summit was to really hone in on what we’re doing well and what we can do even better,” says our I&D specialist Carine Tamasang. Focusing in on four ‘c’s – Culture, Career, Community and Commerce – the workshop featured sessions on Purpose, Vision, Values and communications, business and action, budgeting and finance, and aligning leadership qualities. A panel of Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) featured our HR SVP / CDO Keith Hutchison as moderator, along with CDOs from State Street and Fidelity and an independent ERG consultant, discussing best practices.

Keith Hutchison (standing) moderates CDO panel (people seated up front, l-r): Fidelity’s John Basile, ERG consultant Robert Rodriguez and State Street’s Paul Francisco

Fidelity, for example, shared how its women’s ERG is strengthening ties with women customers. And our ERGs talked about how we can make more of a business impact in the ‘commerce’ area and get out even more in our communities. Also at the Summit were Accelerated Development Program (ADP) participants, HR Business Partners and ERG executive sponsors.

Lori Acker, VP, Customer Engagement, was also there and said: “We often forget that the ERGs are a fantastic resource for the company.  They can play both an advisory role as well as become ambassadors to help us better support the diverse needs of our customers.”

ERG leads shared their thoughts

“The wonderful speakers not only motivated me to work harder and smarter, but educated me on how our ERGs can achieve excellence by engagement, leadership development and embracing the shifting social issues popping up in the work environment, as well as connecting the ERGs to the mission of the business.”
Carlos Puentes, Hispanic Professional Association (HPA)

“I think we all walked away feeling re-energized and excited to start exploring new ideas to strengthen our ERGs and really focus on what we can do for our employees, customers, and communities we serve.”
Sue Washburn, Work & Life Matters (WLM)

 “I consider the Summit to be an important platform where experts can share ideas on how to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in the areas of commerce, culture, community and career.  I look forward to exploring further avenues of collaboration and engagement between the ERGs.”
Jenny Saenz,HPA

“I thoroughly enjoyed the breakdown of our new theme ‘Bring Energy to Life’ and how we as ERGs can have an impact on this theme. Our group has already set some new goals to make step changes in some of the ‘4C’ areas.”
Martin Sobers, WLM

“The Summit helped reinforce how our ERGs can play an important role to recruit future employees and help build better relationships with our diverse communities. It was very productive and forward-thinking.”
Miguel Santos, Native American Indian and HPA ERGs

Keith (holding poster) with ERG members and ADP participants

Find out more or join an ERG …

Alliance of Black Professionals (ABP)

Asian Leadership Association (ALA)

Enabling Disability Confidence

Hispanic Professional Association

Native American Indian (NAI)



women in networks (WiN)

Women in Non-traditional Roles (WiNTR)


Work & Life Matters

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