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Program: Diversity Consortium Resource Groups
Contact(s): Jacquelyn B. Gates, Vice President, Ethics, Compliance, Diversity and Organization Development, Bell Atlantic: 212-395-5029
Purpose: Diversity programming which creates economic community opportunities, and improves customer service and the workforce dynamics

Background Program Operations Outcomes

Background

Bell Atlantic taps the knowledge and skills of diverse employees through employee resource groups (ERGs). ERGs are voluntary organizations which represent diverse employee groups organized to improve professional development, growth and/or networking opportunities, recruitment and retention. Members of these groups support one another in sharing common experiences. ERGs also assist Bell Atlantic by identifying key areas within the workforce or customer base that may be better served with effective strategic program development.

Program Operations

Bell Atlantic currently has ten employee resource groups: American Indian/Alaskan Native Support Society (AIANSS), Asian Focus Group (AFG), Association of Bell Atlantic Women (ABAW), Bell Atlantic Veterans Advisory Board (BAVAB), Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives (CITE), Disabilities Issues Awareness Leaders (DIAL), Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees (GLOBE), Hispanic Support Organization (HSO), Multicultural Minority Association (MMA) and INROADS Networking Association (INA). Representatives from each group collectively form the Diversity Consortium. Each group has an "executive champion," who in this role serves as an advisor, coach and council to the ERG while also acting as an ambassador who communicates messages to top management and promotes diversity strategies.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Bell Atlantic employee resource groups have made significant contributions both in the workforce and in the marketplace. CITE, in partnership with the Human Resource Department and senior black managers, recently introduced a new Bell Atlantic mentoring initiative addressing diversity issues across the corporation. HSO and AFG were catalysts in the introduction of La Telefonica and Chinatone, bilingual customer-service call centers which communicate with residential customers in Spanish and Chinese. CITE and HSO spearheaded the development of the Black Managers Workshop and the Latino Managers workshop. The Diversity Consortium, along with Long Island University, is responsible for Bell Atlanticís MBA Program and for the sponsorship of annual conferences which support the development goals of Bell Atlantic employees. The use of executive champions in ERG has been a successful leadership component which strengthens and promotes the alliance between management and these employee resource groups.

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