Virtual ERG Leader Development Program 2023
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
FLOURISH is an eight-week virtual program that will develop the skills required for 2SLGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG)* leaders to be effective and successful in their roles. Those who lead 2SLGBTQIA+ ERGs have an enormous opportunity to create change for Two-Spirit, queer and trans employees. They also face very specific challenges in Canadian workplaces. While session content will touch on the mechanics of ERGs, the primary focus of FLOURISH will be developing individual competency in four areas:
- Domestic and international 2SLGBTQIA+ economic issues
- Building business cases and generating buy-in for 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion
- Principles of governance and volunteer management
- Providing peer support to 2SLGBTQIA+ people and their allies
Through live Zoom sessions, virtual learning modules and self-directed work, our third FLOURISH cohort will collectively unlock their potential as ERG leaders.
“This is not ERG 101, folks. There are lots of great general resources about what an effective ERG looks like. With this program, we’re taking aim at the courageous and committed people who want to lead their company’s 2SLGBTQIA+ ERG with authenticity and intention. When our leaders succeed, our ERGs succeed.”
Colin Druhan, Executive Director, Pride at Work Canada
* Please note we use Employee Resource Group as a catch all term which is inclusive of Business Resource Groups, Affinity Networks, and other similar employee led groups focused on equity-deserving groups.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
To support a positive learning environment and peer-to-peer learning the third cohort of FLOURISH will be limited. The process by which those interested in participating may apply from Monday, August 14, 2023. The deadline for applications will be Friday, September 29, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET. Those selected for the 2023 cohort will pay a participation fee, due upon acceptance.
- Fee for employees of Pride at Work Canada’s Proud Partners & Community Partners: $1,500 (+ tax)
- Fee for employees of other organizations: $2,000 (+ tax)
WHO SHOULD APPLY
The primary goal of FLOURISH is to develop the specific skills required of 2SLGBTQIA+ ERG leaders to succeed. Those who will receive the most benefit from attending will fit the following profile:
- Employed by a medium-to-large organization in Canada;
- Currently leading a 2SLGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group;
- 2SLGBTQIA+ person leading an Employee Resource Group for any equity-deserving group; or
- A member of a 2SLGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group, with leadership aspirations
Please note that FLOURISH is NOT a program about how to start or build an ERG.
All sessions will be Tuesday evenings, beginning at 6 pm ET and running 2-3 hours, depending on the speaker.
Session 1: Community Understanding with Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah and Saylesh Wesley
Tuesday, October 17, at 6 PM ET
- Build a solid foundation of knowledge of 2SLGBTQIA+ issues
- Lived experience vs. bodies of evidence
- Best practices in communication on 2SLGBTQIA+ issues
Tuesday, October 24, from 6 PM to 7 PM ET
Study Group Week: Engaging your membership – tapping into the passion
Tuesday, October 24, from 7 PM to 8 PM ET
Session 2: Generating buy-in from executive leadership with Gwenna Kadima
Tuesday, October 31, at 6 PM ET
- Generate buy-in for workplace inclusion
- Identify and engage influential ERG champions and sponsors
- Articulate the value and impact of their ERGs relative to business goals
Study Group Week: Executive Sponsors and tying into your company’s business plan
Tuesday, November 7, from 6 PM to 7 PM ET
Session 3: Governance and Volunteer Management with Jacq Brasseur
Tuesday, November 14, at 6 PM ET
- Compelling volunteer participation
- Defining roles and responsibilities of Employee Resource Group members
- Recognition and succession planning
Study Group Week: Leading Effective Meetings and Events Hosting
Tuesday, November 21, from 6 PM to 7 PM ET
Session 4: Principles of Peer Support with Kai Cheng Thom and Saylesh Wesley
Tuesday, November 28, at 6 PM ET
- Setting boundaries and ground rules
- Managing conflict
- Peer support specific to 2SLGBTQIA+ communities
Study Group Week: Making your ERG effective in 2024
Tuesday, December 5, from 6 PM to 7 PM ET
SAYLESH WESLEY (she/her)
Indigenous Enhancement Teacher
Chilliwack School District
Saylesh Wesley is a Two-Spirit educator and knowledge keeper who is of Coast Salish and Tsimshian decent. She currently works as an Indigenous Enhancement Teacher for the Chilliwack School District and also continues to present at a wide variety of events as it relates to her Two-Spirit and Indigenous teachings.
DEBBIE OWUSU-AKYEEAH (she/her)
The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD)
Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah is an award-winning Black feminist activist with over eight years of local and international advocacy experience through various initiatives in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and through working at Oxfam Canada and Global Affairs Canada. She became the Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) in July 2020. The Centre is a youth-focused organization that promotes diversity in gender identity, gender expression, and romantic/sexual orientation in all its forms on a national level through services in the areas of education and advocacy.
GWENNA KADIMA (she/her)
BIPOC Career Activator and DEI Consultant
Gwenna Kadima is an award-winning, Toronto-based BIPOC Career Activator and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant empowering marginalized individuals to achieve their highest professional potential through targeted macro and micro-interventions.
Gwenna catalyzes equality at the individual level as a BIPOC Career Activator offering seminars, workshops, and other culturally relevant career development services to BIPOC students and professionals.
Simultaneously, Gwenna addresses systemic workplace barriers as a DEI Consultant developing and executing intentional DEI strategies and programming to drive meaningful, long-term change. Her practice is specialized in sustainable Employee Resource Group (ERG) enablement and inclusive employee experience design.
JACQ BRASSEUR (they/them)
CEO & Principal Consultant
Ivy + Dean Consulting
Originally from Yellowknife, NT, Jacq Brasseur has over a decade of experience leading queer and trans non-profit organizations. They cofounded the Northern Mosaic Network, the only 2SLGBTQ+ human service agency in the Northwest Territories, and proudly served as the agency’s first Executive Director. Jacq moved to Regina, SK in 2017 where they became the Executive Director of the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality & Gender Diversity.
In 2021, Jacq founded Ivy + Dean Consulting, where they currently serve as CEO & Principal Consultant, whose goal is to bring equity focused, queer-informed and accessible approaches to governance, leadership and programming to small & medium-sized non-profits.
In addition to their work in queer and trans communities, Jacq is proud to have been involved in a wide range of grassroots, community and corporate organizing over the past decade with organizations such as United Way Northwest Territories, Briarpatch Magazine, la Comité francoqueer de l’ouest, and Fora: Network for Change.
KAI CHENG THOM (she/her)
Writer, Performer & Community Worker
Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, somatic coach, conflict mediator, wicked witch and lasagna lover based in tkaronto/Toronto. A noted practitioner of embodiment and conflict mediation, Kai Cheng works with individuals and groups to pursue collective healing and social transformation. She is also the author of six award-winning books in multiple genres, having been featured in such publications as Teen Vogue and The New York Times.
“I’m so appreciative for Pride at Work Canada’s FLOURISH program. It was so valuable to hear from the session speakers and connect with queer and trans professionals from across Canada. I can’t express how grateful I am for the small group discussions: I formed genuine connections with my group members and our discussions were open, honest, and energizing. I came out of the FLOURISH program excited to bring my learnings back to my ERG and organization, so that we can further our work towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.”
Calyssa Erb (she/her)
National Account Manager and LGBTQIA2S+ Employee Resource Group Co-Chair
“When I started co-leading my company’s Pride Network ERG, passion got me through the first year. But soon I realized that leading an ERG effectively takes a lot more than just enthusiasm, which is why I chose to participate in the FLOURISH program in 2022. FLOURISH was a great opportunity to learn the fundamentals of being an ERG leader from experts and to network with like minded people in different industries through study groups. I would recommend the program for any ERG leader, whether you’re experienced and could benefit from new perspectives or starting your ERG from scratch.”
Daniel Oliveira (he/him)
Director, Global Innovation
Jamieson Laboratories Ltd.
“It was an honour to participate in the FLOURISH ERG Leader Development Program and to connect with other queer and trans leaders transforming their workplaces one step at a time. The Pride at Work Canada FLOURISH team brings together an exceptional group of 2SLGBTQIA+ leaders and speakers from across the country to develop the skills required to action change at work. I especially enjoyed the speakers and bi-weekly small group sessions where participants collaborated with one another, sharing ERG ideas, experiences, and success stories. There is no doubt that the techniques and skills I learned at FLOURISH significantly elevated my thinking around ERG strategy and implementation.
FLOURISH is a compassionate, collaborative, and fun space where leadership is re-defined to include 2SLGBTQIA+ expertise. I encourage organizations to support their colleagues by providing access to the FLOURISH Program if they are serious about advancing equity, inclusion, anti-colonialism, diversity and anti-racism at their workplace. Thank you, FLOURISH. I continue to put into practice the lessons I have learned to co-create and evolve our ERG framework.”
Roz Macey (she/her, they/them)
Property Inspector, Valuation & Customer Relations
Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
Here are some of the questions that we often get asked about the FLOURISH program.
When you purchase a ticket to attend FLOURISH 2023 you will get access to:
- Four fireside chats featuring top queer and trans leaders on topics like understanding the community, building business cases, governance and volunteer management, and principles of peer support
- Access to the FLOURISH LinkedIn group which you can use to meet and connect with other attendees before, during and after the event
- Access to all Pride at Work Canada member-only programming during Fall 2023
- Access to a shared ERG resource folder with information tailored to support you on your journey as an ERG leader/aspiring leader
In-program Networking Buddies to develop relationships with other ERG leaders/aspiring leaders
Everyone is welcome at FLOURISH! The goal of the event is to energize and enable Two-Spirit, queer, and trans ERG leaders and aspiring leaders. So all of the speakers will be 2SLGBTQIA+ and the content will focus on the experience of being 2SLGBTQIA+. All of the event learning outcomes are about how to succeed in the workplace as an out ERG leader. If you don’t identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ but you are active in the leadership of a Pride ERG and think you could get something out of that experience we want you with us.
Yes! The focus will be towards 2SLGBTQIA+ employee resource groups, but the focus will be on ERG and community best practices. We know we all come from different intersecting identities so if you are a member of the community but in a different ERG we’d love to have you apply as well!
Currently the event is in English only. Do you think we should host a FLOURISH in French? Do you want to talk about resources for bilingual ERGs? Drop us a line!
Between the formal sessions with guest speakers there will be smaller study group sessions. These sessions are designed to provide additional content, resources and questions to guide a smaller group discussion with the other participants. As the main sessions have 40-50 participants the study groups allow more discussion and a review of the concrete experiences at one’s company. Each study group will have a notetaker that will then share the notes on the FLOURISH LinkedIn group. A weekly time is suggested for the groups, though if everyone within the group consents it can be moved to another time during that week.
All of the programming at FLOURISH will focus on making change within your current employment environment as a leader or aspiring leader with an employee resource group (ERG). Attendees who are ERG leaders or aspiring leaders will likely get the most out of the sessions. If you are an ERG member or your company/organization doesn’t have an ERG and you would like to start one you are more than welcome. You just might not get as much immediate benefit from the speakers and content as other attendees.
If you’re a jobseeker you may want to plan to attend one of our upcoming networking events or ProPride events taking place from May to August across Canada. These events are free, open to the public and focused on networking. Maybe we’ll see you at FLOURISH or THRIVE 2024 after you’ve landed that dream job!
If you’re a student or recent graduate, you should check out the great programming put on by Start Proud, especially their annual conference that takes place each fall. All of their work is catered to the needs of people who are in transition from school to career.
At Pride at Work Canada we hear the same thing over and over from 2SLGBTQIA+ professionals: “Everyone at work expects me to be an expert on the community just because I’m insert identity here!” So don’t worry, we don’t expect you to come to FLOURISH with encyclopedic knowledge of queer and trans communties. Hopefully you’ll learn more about the community from the conference content and your fellow attendees. We’ll share some Rules of Respect before the event to make sure you have positive interactions with other attendees, regardless of your experience.
If you want to brush up on your vocabulary, learn about the history of 2SLGBTQIA+ rights in Canada or just feel more prepared for the event, try completing some of Pride at Work Canada’s elearning courses in preparation for FLOURISH.
To support a positive learning experience the number of participants in FLOURISH 2023 will be limited. Please provide us with some information about who you are and why you’d like to participate. We’ll use this information to determine a FLOURISH 2023 cohort that represents the broad diversity of both the workplaces and communities we serve.
The process by which those interested in participating will open on Monday, August 14, 2023. The deadline for applications will be Friday, September 29, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET. Those selected for the FLOURISH cohort will pay a participation fee of $1500 (+ tax) for employees of Pride at Work Canada’s Proud Partners and $2000 (+ tax) for employees of other organizations, due upon acceptance.
All submissions are private and confidential, reviewed only by Pride at Work Canada staff.
Disclosure: the application form is available only in English because FLOURISH will be offered exclusively in English. If you cannot see below, please click here.
Applications are closed now.