How the BCGDV Pride ERG Drives Connection
A closer look at how the BCGDV Pride ERG promotes diversity, inclusion, and belonging at work during Pride Month and beyond
By BCG Digital Ventures
This is the first piece in our new ERG series, focused on highlighting the voices from various Employee Resource Groups at BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV). At BCGDV, one of our core principles is “Distinctive Together,” and ERGs play a pivotal role in ensuring all employees feel safe, supported, and comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
Employee Resource Groups prove to be essential to a company’s overall success, and more importantly, their employee’s well-being and happiness. While ERGs have existed for years, they have begun to gain more popularity in recent years as a means to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace; in fact, ERGs are found in 90% of Fortune 500 companies. As we kick off our new series spotlighting the various ERGs at BCGDV, we are excited to introduce BCGDV Pride, a global network of LGBTQ+ employees and allies that support, empower and advocate for one another through education and engagement in the workplace and beyond.
We sat down with three members of the BCGDV Pride Leadership Committee, Lydia Timlin-Broussard, Lead Strategic Designer, Dave Roselle, BCGDV Alumnus (former Senior Strategic Designer), and Joe Daoud, Partner and Director, Experience Design, to discuss a range of topics, including how the group has evolved over the years, the importance of ERGs in the workplace — especially during the pandemic -, and their impact on recruitment.
BCGDV: Why are ERGs important to company culture, in general and at BCGDV?
Lydia Timlin-Broussard: I think ERGs are the first line for a lot of resources. They provide opportunities for bringing people together and providing support for employees, but they can also hold a huge capability to help leadership understand everyday occurrences and major differences in the employee populations as well. They work as advocates and translators as well as community partners.
BCGDV: Looking back over the past couple of years, how has the BCGDV Pride ERG evolved?
Dave Roselle: We’ve applied the design thinking approach — leveraging empathy to identify core issues and constantly iterating to improve. We understand the desires of the community (people we represent), allies who support us, and where we fit in the larger picture at the organization. The Pride community is important at BCGDV and we don’t want to be an ERG that just focuses on “hanging out,” we want to think more broadly to ensure we’re providing educational moments. We also try to identify what the core issues are that are affecting our community and where is there crossover with other communities who may be impacted by similar issues (i.e. BEN, Latinx, BCGDV Parents). This has helped to sharpen our focus to expand beyond the social aspect of an ERG and dive deeper into the experience of being a queer person working at BCGDV.
Joe Daoud: To echo Dave, We are looking to find the overlap and convergence with other ERGs, getting that community perspective is very important. We seek to understand what the intersections are between those ERGs — what are we uniquely and collectively facing together? Can we find purpose in the overlap?
Lydia Timlin-Broussard: At the beginning, our work was more related to community building and creating a place for people who were queer at work, in their own ways. There were a few events that were company-wide, but our organization was just beginning to canvas what we could do and how much we could influence. Over the last few years, we’ve identified places where we could have some more intersectionality and cross cultural work. Being queer at work isn’t a singular experience — we’ve moved to widen the base of topics we can work within.
BCGDV: How has the pandemic affected BCGDV Pride ERG & ERG participation in general?
Lydia Timlin-Broussard: The pandemic has affected all ERGs in a lot of ways. Moving to a virtual only model for almost a year really did challenge us to think of how we could continue to inspire and bring our community together. It also challenged us to be more responsive to bigger moves and shifts. We worked together to establish strong connections within leadership as well as other ERGs, creating events where we were broadening the number of people who could attend.
BCGDV: How do ERGs help organizational efforts to address DEIB and ensure BCGDV is a safe place to work for all employees?
Lydia Timlin-Broussard: Last year, we worked tightly alongside our Black Employee network to support their needs, as well as became a founding partner of an ERG roundtable at BCGDV. This roundtable allows for direct interaction with our newer DEI office, as well as with BCGDV leadership in general. Building this table has allowed for the voices and concerns of our delegation to become a lot more apparent within the eyes of leadership, and allowed for us to inform the overall company strategy. It’s a team effort, but has led to direct advocacy for a safer place to work.
BCGDV: How does DV celebrate Pride during Pride month and throughout the year?
Dave Roselle: This year, BCGDV celebrated Pride in various ways, from monthly virtual social ‘happy hours’ to attending a joint BCG & BCGDV Pride meeting in West Hollywood — the first in-person outdoor get-together in a long time due to the pandemic. BCGDV Pride also held three virtual sessions with their partners, including hosting the President of APLA, BCGDV Pride x BCGDV Parents with special guest, Mrs. Kasha Davis, former Drag Race contestant, for a kid-friendly drag storytime with a Q&A on queer parenting, and lastly, BCGDV Pride supported a BCG Pride x Juneteenth luncheon — a cross-network event focused on how to demonstrate and interpret Freedom and Liberation.
Lydia Timlin-Broussard: As part of one Boston Consulting Group (BCG) family, BCGDV Pride also participated in several BCG events, like a one-day ‘Future of Pride Connections’ conference that featured senior leadership and major advocacy leaders from leading LGBTQIA+ centers across the nation and a virtual ‘Secrets and Sangria’ drag queen cocktail happy hour, with the famous Portuguese drag group, Drag Taste.
BCGDV: What is like to be queer at DV? What is the experience for queer employees?
Dave Roselle: BCGDV is a high touch environment, meaning we are constantly interacting and working very closely with new people. At times, this can be stressful for a queer person. Do I out myself on every project to avoid the awkward moments during the team dinner? Must I worry about the reactions from clients? What about when we travel to countries that aren’t LGBTQ+ friendly? BCG makes it explicitly clear they have our back. They want us to feel safe psychologically inside and outside of the team room so that we know there isn’t tolerance for any kind of discrimination.
BCGDV: How do ERGs help with recruiting?
Dave Roselle: One of our biggest challenges is recruiting. We are still working on our strategy to recruit more queer BCGDVers to join our team. Our organization actually cares about issues that impact the team and look to the ERGs for support and guidance on how to improve. Recruiting is a rapid sprint. The sponsoring MDPs are supportive of our recruiting efforts. They are willing to be active and proactive. It’s not just lip service, they are willing to take action. Because of this support, participating in the Pride group is inspirational. We are looking to recruit more folks to the team as well as leadership.
Joe Daoud: I believe we have THE best north star in our BCG counterparts. We are able to learn how they leverage Pride and draw in the larger Pride community. When we couple that with BCGDV’s proactive leadership and MDPs, I think we end up with the right support and infrastructure to expand Pride outside of BCGDV, and use recruiting as one vehicle to do that.
BCGDV: What is your advice for starting an ERG at your organization?
Lydia Timlin-Broussard: Building an ERG is both a fun process and hard work. You want to keep a sense of psychological safety, while also inspiring change and collaboration. This is also often on top of a full-time, often demanding schedule. I have a few pieces that I think have helped me over the years. First, start by building a community. Perhaps there are a lot of people who don’t feel like they can be safe and out during working hours. That’s fine. Find opportunities to get people out of the office and talking to each other. You can’t advocate for people without knowing them, and being able to understand commonalities and what could change.
Think of this not as a long term commitment, but have a plan. What do you want to accomplish by the end of the year? This could be simple. Have a few coffee chats and go somewhere to watch a movie or grab lunch. How does that ladder up to something you want to do next year — or maybe in three years time? Having some vision of a future will help you with setbacks and prioritization.
Finally, make allies. Not just allies who will stand up when it’s convenient, but people who will have your back. Set long term relationships with those people, help them when you can. It’s not a one-way street, you’re all in it together. When you have other ERG heads who are open to working together, the work becomes less overwhelming and you’re able to play toward each other’s strengths. This happened within my career before the pandemic, and if it weren’t for a spirit of open collaboration I think we would not have been able to navigate as nimbly as we did.