“When people see people like them at different levels of the business, it gives them the confidence that says, ‘I can get there. I can do it,'” said Jerry Holt, member of the Black Employees Supporting Talent (BEST) Employee Resource Group (ERG).
We all have differences that shape who we are. Different life experiences, backgrounds, beliefs, – the list goes on and on. We know that different perspectives drive new and innovative ideas.
That’s why we started commUnity, our diversity and inclusion platform.
A big part of our commUnity is Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are communities within Asurion where team members get together who share a common interest or background to gain leadership experience, get involved in the community and develop new ideas to help drive us forward. New ideas can come from anywhere, and our 10 ERGs are a great way for our employees to let their voices be heard. Learn about all of our ERGs and what they offer here.
About Asurion’s Black Employees Supporting Talent (BEST) Employee Resource Group (ERG)
Black Employees Supporting Talent (BEST) is one of those ERGs and it’s dedicated to growing and developing employees that self-identify as Black, African American, West Indian or as being of African descent. BEST plays a key role in helping its members reach their full potential by providing them with opportunities to develop and sharpen their leadership skills so they can have successful careers.
Launched in 2016, BEST plans networking, development and community outreach events throughout the year. Anyone interested can join and get involved. BEST members pride themselves on their inclusive environment that invites you to be yourself, make a difference and grow.
“BEST has helped me align with mentors throughout the organization to help me improve my skills to grow in my career,” said BEST member April Washington. “I’ve built long-lasting friendships with the team. They help me to be better.”
Improving representation for people of color
“We have to get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations.” That’s what Vice President of Special Counsel and Diversity Inclusion, Nikki Smith-Bartley, said to our CEO, Tony Detter, a few years ago.
Since then, we’ve made strides in improving representation for people of color in leadership and tech roles, establishing a talent pipeline with historically black colleges and universities, offering mentoring and coaching programs for our employees and so much more.
“Representation matters and BEST is a space to show that,” said Darla Henry, BEST member. “It’s not just about the more obvious physical things, it’s what different cultures bring to the workplace and how you can use that. There are so many opportunities for people of color within the organization.
While this is just one step, our leaders are committed to making Asurion a place where everyone can be comfortable being themselves and bringing their best self to work.
“As leaders, we have a responsibility to make sure we’re available, so people see representation of African American leadership,” said Vice President of Human Resources and BEST member Felice Rudolph. “And to make sure they have access to tap in where needed.”
Driving the conversation
Through education and awareness, BEST is driving the conversation around race in the workplace. A few years ago, commUnity started the #BeBold Breakfast series. #BeBold events tackle “hot topics” relating to inclusion that you normally wouldn’t talk about at work – and start a conversation. It’s during work hours, and anyone who’s interested is invited to join.
“It offers structure to tackle issues that are hard to talk about at work,” said Grace Rollins, a BEST member. “It offers a way for us to start the conversation in a productive and positive way. For me, it was a really eye-opening experience.”
BEST led a discussion around racial equality during one #BeBold Breakfast. On another, the group partnered with the Veterans Service Group ERG and together they started a conversation around taking a knee during the national anthem.
“It was enlightening,” said Zarita Fears, a BEST member. “It was also an intense discussion where people on both sides of the spectrum shared their stance. It’s about respect for the human being and everyone being okay with being different.”
Bring your networking skills
Throughout the year, BEST organizes career development training and networking events for its members. In 2019, BEST started a seasonal series called “Summer Socials,” where BESTies (what BEST calls its members) can “Wind down with BEST outside of work.”
Getting involved in BEST networking events is a great way to meet people from different areas of Asurion and learn more about career opportunities within the company. And if one jumps out at you, sessions like Career Tips and Testimonials become really valuable. There, different members give advice on how to take that next step in your career.
“At first, I think a lot of people were afraid to get out and think outside the box,” said BEST member Shermicka Young. “Now, people are joining BEST and developing their leadership skills and relationships that didn’t exist before. These events really allow people to feel more comfortable and included.”
Take John Sherman, for example. He’s one of our tech experts. John loves taking photos and videos and wants to turn that into a career for himself at Asurion. To gain experience, he reached out to BEST leadership, and now he’s videoing and producing videos for the ERG.
“It’s great,” said John. “BEST’s leaders see potential in me, and they’re supporting my talent by giving me the chance to produce video content for them. They’re helping me build up my skill set so I’m more qualified for the career I want. I’ve been living my BEST life.”
When it comes to giving back to the community, BEST encourages all employees to put their best foot forward. During our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, BEST invites everyone to get involved. And every year, our employees step up in a big way. In 2019, we volunteered by restoring homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, painting murals, stuffing fundraiser invitations, organizing and cleaning a women’s Dress for Success store, and so much more.
“When we come together to serve, we all win,” said Grace. “It’s great our leaders encourage employees to carve out time in their workday to support the community.”
MLK Day of Service is our biggest annual volunteering event, but it’s not the only one. BEST chapters across the country create their own initiatives and identify causes they want to devote time to helping. For example, our Phoenix and Nashville chapters participated in the Walk to End Lupus this year. BESTies in our Las Vegas Chapter represented Asurion at the Las Vegas More Than Pink walk supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“It’s at all levels of our organization,” said Felice. “It doesn’t matter what your role is or where you sit. You have an opportunity to participate. It makes me very proud that it reflects us as a company.”
We are one commUnity
When you join an ERG at Asurion, you become part of an even bigger support group. We are many cultures, but we are one community. And our differences make us stronger, and they make us who we are.
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