Blog: ERGs: Valued by GAINS, Essential for Growth

Written by Anna Roi

One of the guiding principles which GAINS holds dear is empowerment. We encourage our employees to become stronger and more confident, especially in directing the course of their personal and professional lives and helping us to create an inclusive environment in which all can thrive. We value our people and strive to be a player-led team. We encourage creativity, innovation, and living authentically. One of the ways we at GAINS have put our philosophy into action is through the support of our ERGs or employee resource groups, focused on highlighting and inspiring the diversity of our staff. GAINS currently hosts three ERGs, including the Women in Technology group, an LGBTQ+ group, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) group.

We hope to create a space in the workplace for our employees to share valuable resources, have discussions on issues that may affect their group or community, and work with others towards real equity. From an organizational standpoint, it is widely recognized that the benefits of ERGs are well worth the effort. They attract a more diverse pool of candidates (and retain them!) and increase employee morale.

Workplace Groups Drive Personal & Professional Growth

ERGs are hugely important for many reasons; they are widely credited with accomplishing goals in other organizations, such as: improving work conditions for marginalized groups and making the physical working environment better for everyone. They can help executive leaders to identify emerging talent that might otherwise go overlooked due to unconscious bias. ERGs can help to surface issues that may be too risky for an individual to share alone—helping to address problems quickly and alleviate toxic environments.

On a personal levelOn a professional level
1. Having a safe space to discuss sensitive issues
2. Helping to realize you are not alone in your experiences
3. Making a social impact
4. Helping to raise awareness for a cause
5. Gaining exposure to diverse experiences and backgrounds  
1. Gaining mentors & sponsors with real-life experience
2. Networking opportunities with peers across the organization
3. Contributing to the organization outside of your core role
4. Showing your leadership skills
4. Enhancing your empathy and understanding of diverse backgrounds    

Employee Viewpoint: GAINS Women in Tech ERG  

We asked a member of the #GAINSgang, Director of Demand Generation Anna Roi, to share her experience leading the GAINS Women in Tech ERG. She shared with us her motivations for getting involved and why she feels a women’s group is essential to any business.

When I started working at GAINS in April, I’d already had some experience heading up a Women’s ERG for a different corporation. My previous employer had a Women’s Leadership Forum, and I was responsible for running their meetings and events. As a working mother, I have always been interested in Women’s Groups. They promote the progress and advancement of women in the workplace and set an example for my teenage daughter. I desperately want my daughter to grow up knowing that her work environment, whatever that may be, views women as equal contributors and leaders. I strive to help foster a future where she will never have to experience harassment, inequality, or a pay gap because of her gender. Everything I do in my career is to help lift women, and I see the Women in Tech ERG at GAINS as a vehicle to protect and promote women as leaders in our field.  

The GAINS Women in Tech ERG provides a safe space for our female employees to discuss important issues and topics and creates an atmosphere of motivation and empowerment. I am happy to share the responsibility of leading this group and collaborating on important topics with the incredible women of GAINS. 

Respectful Discussions Build a Better Community

In late May, we took on the sensitive topic of Row v. Wade before the Supreme Court overturned its original ruling. We had an open discussion where male and female colleagues shared and discussed differing opinions in a respectful and supportive manner. It was a thought-provoking exchange of ideas and feelings on the matter and ended up being a cathartic experience for those involved.  

This summer, the ERG members took an online personality assessment which we then discussed as a group during our virtual meeting. The personality assessment gave us a holistic view of our strengths and how we could use the knowledge we gained from the results in our day-to-day work. This fun activity was intended to balance out some of the more challenging topics we covered when we met. 

I believe the women’s group has just begun our work and will continue to do what we can as a group collaborating on providing meaningful content to the women of GAINS in the future. 

Some future topics the Women in Tech ERG is slated to address in our future sessions:   

  • Conversations with female executives in the supply chain about their journey and leadership styles.
  • A panel discussion focused on the intricate work-life balance as a parent during and post-pandemic.
  • Community involvement and fundraising for academic institutions, local women’s charities, and organizations focused on women’s issues.
  • Discuss how to raise organizational awareness of issues related to bias and privilege.
  • The development of a women-led mentorship program.

I look forward to what the future brings for the GAINS Women in Tech ERG as we continue to grow as a group and as we progress as a company and industry. We‘ve had several new members join recently, and as GAINS continues to hire talented staff, I fully expect our numbers will continue to increase. The GAINS Women in Tech ERG will continue to be a valuable resource for our female employees and one I am proud to lead.  

Anna Roi is based in the greater Boston Area, the Director of Demand Generation at GAINS. She volunteers for The Greater Boston Food Bank and is the mother of an amazing teenage daughter.