Every Large Company Should Have Employee Resource Groups

When I moved from Orlando to Los Angeles, I knew a handful of people, but I also knew that if I was going to survive a new city, I’d have to expand my social and professional circles. Three years later, I can say I am not just surviving, but thriving thanks to the circles of people that grew around me.

One of the biggest ways I expanded my professional network was by joining Women@Disney, a grassroots and employee-led resource group, focused on career development and empowerment for women across our company.

In a post back in 2018, I shared that I started out by attending events, then volunteering, and eventually I joined the leadership team. This community is one of the things I miss the most during my furlough from Disney.

I miss the sisterhood of the leadership team.

The leadership team of Women@Disney is made up of a dozen women from different roles and segments across the company. In my two years on the team, these women became my go-to people at Disney. We support each other in good times and bad, and we make each other better.

We work every day to bring development opportunities to our community of thousands of women across the company, and I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

In these last 100+ days of furlough, I have sorely missed this group of women and our shared mission. Being on that team truly changed the way I think about work and my overall purpose in life. They’ve shown me the power of lifting the voices of others, and I am so grateful for it.

I miss meeting women in areas of the company I didn’t even know about.

Whether at networking events, panels, small sessions, or in our Slack channel, Women@Disney is also an opportunity to meet members at all levels of the company and learn from each other. Beyond the leadership team, I have been able to chat with and learn from so many women.

We come together to discuss the experiences that are unique to women in the workplace. Whether it’s advocating for yourself, accepting feedback, or navigating times of change, there are hundreds of other women going through similar experiences and we get to help each other grow.

It’s comforting to know that many of the women in our group are in a similar situation to mine, right now. But that also just makes me miss them even more.

I miss collaborating with other resource groups.

In addition to the thousands of women in my own employee resource group, we also get to collaborate with the other resource groups from time to time. We have groups for all dimensions of diversity, and some of the best experiences we create are when we join forces.

We network together, lift each other’s voices, and support one another. In a company with hundreds of thousands of employees, it’s amazing to have allies who are all trying to make a difference for our peers.

I don’t know how long it will be before I get to enjoy the magic of this community again, but until then, I want to say thank you to all of the people I have in my life thanks to these groups. Knowing we have each other’s backs is what gets me through!

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