Have you faced challenges getting resources, support, or attention for your Employee Resource Group (ERG)?

Jeamarie De Paz
Aug 23 · 3 min read

If your workplace is anything like mine, you’ve had many conversations that include the words “data-driven”, “scalable”, and “results-oriented”. I’ve always felt that in pushing for ERG resources, that I had to take the same approach–propose ideas and programs that were data-driven, scalable for the workplace, and included a clear logic of what results we’d achieve after investing in these programs. With the added layer of trying to actualize your goals within a workplace setting among the many facets of office politics, –ERG advocacy becomes an evolved presentation of that challenge.

If you’ve thought about community organizing — how to actively participate in it or have had a conversation with those who have — you might have realized that there are a few challenges that almost everyone faces: understanding how to best push for progress and who to engage for help. In essence, it’s one giant “positioning” shaped hurdle that everyone has to find their way through. With the added layer of trying to actualize your goals within a workplace among the many facets of office politics, ERG advocacy becomes an evolved presentation of that challenge.

Last week, Ascend Executive Advisors Buck Gee and Denise Peck, along with ALA Leadership Team member Julie Ea spent time presenting trends and tactics to better equip ERG leaders and their allies to push for progress within the office.

Below are a few of our key learnings:

  • According to 2018 national analysis of EEOC data, all racial minorities rank below parity on the Executive Parity Index (EPI) in the workforces of every industry, meaning that in surveying the entirety of the professional workforce comparing it to companies’ executive cohorts, racial minorities are continually underrepresented at the Senior/Executive level.
  • Women of all racial minorities rank below men in EPI, with Asian women ranking the lowest meaning that they are the most underrepresented as executives in the workplace compared to their professional ranks. This demonstrates the racial and gender gaps and biases that exist within the workplace.
  • In a cross-sector analysis of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Professional Services (Deloitte, EY, etc), Manufacturing (HP, Intel, IBM, etc.), Financial Services (Wells Fargo, Chase, etc), and Information (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) firms show that Asian women are the least likely to be promoted of all racial minorities to the executive level.

How to use data as a tool for ERG advocacy and who to engage:

  • Discuss your ideas with your executive sponsor, or an internal champion on the leadership team who agrees to partner with you.
  • Request your own company data and use Ascend’s EPI calculator to understand “what’s going on” within your organization and its workforce.
  • Research and compare the data between your company and others within the industry
  • Use these learnings to engage your colleagues in conversation around this data in order to identify next steps forward.
  • Use the data as backing for your requests of leadership.

It’s clear that there is a representation issue within the workplace. I’ve always known that these disparities existed — that underrepresentation, especially at the intersection of race and gender, is present. All I need to do is look up from my desk, take a look at any company’s team page on their website, and ask my community what their workforces look like. But having access to concrete evidence that it exists allows me to feel confident that I have the right information to ask for more and that my team’s requests are data-driven and measurable.

Hopefully, you too feel better equipped to hold these conversations at your workplaces, be it to launch an ERG, to acquire fair budgets to implement programming, or to simply spur conversation around DEI and parity within your workplace. Let’s push for progress.

Watch the video to dive deeper to hear about the data and discussion!

Want to rewatch the panel or weren’t able to attend? Check out www.rebrand.ly/datatalks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QNnUIZVKBA)

Want to review the slides? Go to www.rebrand.ly/datatalks-slides
View the playbook at www.rebrand.ly/datatalks-playbook

Stay Connected:
- Learn more about ALA at
- Join the conversation through the ALA Slack Community at
- Learn more about Ascend Norcal at
- Learn more about Ascend National Leadership at

Asian Leaders Alliance

An Alliance of Asian ERGs