• Dwight Lawson

Black at Ethena: What Is an ERG, and How to Start Your Own



Hello, my name is Dwight Lawson, Head of Sales at Ethena, and I'd love to introduce you to Ethena's first Employee Resource Group, BAE, or Black At Ethena!

 

For those curious, an Employee Resource Group (or ERG) is an employee-led group that's formed by individuals at an organization who share interests, backgrounds, or key identities, like gender, race, or ethnicity. ERGs are formed by employees to build community, elevate voices and bring awareness, and more.

 

BAE recently came together with the help of many folks at Ethena, but I am sure you're curious to know the context of why and how we made this happen.



BAE started because I (me, myself, yes) was experiencing so much FOMO after hearing some of the Black Women at Ethena had naturally started to meet together regularly. After hearing of the 2nd or 3rd meeting, the FOMO was too much. And since Ethena had recently grown to around 50 employees, I felt it was high time we started some employee resource groups, and why couldn't Black at Ethena be its first?


From there, I brought the idea to our VP of People, Melanie, who then brought it to our executive team. With the go-ahead to move forward, it was essential to ensure we had an executive sponsor. Anne Solmssen, our fearless CTO, graciously volunteered.


BAE was then formally announced to the Ethena team at the beginning of February, and we had our first meeting last week!


With a host of events already happening internally for BHM, we are excited to officially kick things off, and we're looking forward to more events throughout this year!


Thinking of Starting an ERG at your company? Take a look at the steps we took below.


Step 1: Identify Your Community

  • Noticing that the community exists (I.e. representation) and that space can be created is the the first step to building your ERG.

Step 2: People/HR Alignment

  • Depending on your company, Cultural Initiatives like ERGs may run through the People or HR teams, and there may be processes that already exist for forming a new one.

  • We connected early with Ethena’s VP of People, Melanie, and came ready with a Mission Statement, Vision, Goals, and Ideas for Potential Events for the year.

Step 3: Executive Team Buy-In

  • Melanie then brought the information to the executive community for their thoughts and feedback.

  • Big Takeaway: Creating processes that bring visibility to the ERG (e.g. during new-hire Orientation) and ensuring Executive Sponsorship is key.

Step 4: Back to the Community

  • Now that you have approval and useful feedback from leadership, it's time to formally establish the group–and pick a group name, like BAE (Black At Ethena)!

Step 5: Plan of Action and Moving Forward

  • In your first formal meeting, creating a plan of action, agreed on by the group, about all the things you'd like to do with the group and how you all plan on doing them.

  • Tip: Start by agreeing on the basics, like your mission, vision, goals, roles, and more.

It's important to note that our process might not work for every group of people, but these are the practices that worked for us.


Here are some links we found useful when starting our first ERG:


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