This is a guest blog post by Emily Van Liedekerke, Senior Recruiter and founder of EmpowHER at CaptivateIQ. Before joining CaptivateIQ, Emily worked as a Recruiter at Betts Recruiting, where she built teams for early-stage startups. As someone who majored in Women and Gender studies, Emily is excited to continue using her experience and passion for relationship building to empower others as she grows in her career.
I joined CaptivateIQ in the fall of 2020 when we had about 50 employees. At the time, increasing our female workforce was at the forefront of our hiring initiatives, and I was eager to use my position as a recruiter to focus on the “D” in DEIB: improving the Diversity of our company demographics.
As CaptivateIQ started experiencing hypergrowth, it became increasingly important to find ways to support our remote underrepresented employees in a better way. Building a diverse and inclusive organization begins with fostering a culture at CaptivateIQ that embraces people’s life experiences, shared identities, and differences. To bring this philosophy to life, I aligned with the team on founding an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program along with our first-ever ERG for women, EmpowHER.
EmpowHER’s mission is to support and encourage women to advance their skills and leadership potential. This initiative was significant at the time because CaptivateIQ increased the female workforce as a share of the total company by 350% in 2020.
Having never launched an ERG, I leveraged resources, team members, and leaders for guidance. A couple of resources I found especially useful were Culture Amps’ “How to start an employee resource group at your company” and Namely’s “How to Start an Employee Resource Group (ERG).”
We kicked EmpowHER off through two workshops with 20 of our founding members, where we aligned on: the name, mission, vision, norms and community guidelines, three pillars, sign-up process, and involvement responsibilities. To further spread ownership and focus our mission, we created pillar cohorts to focus on specific initiatives (we call these PillHER groups!).
Since we founded EmpowHER in 2020, we’ve grown from 20 to 115 members and have made the following improvements to our ERG operations:
- Create co-leading opportunities for the PillHER and EmpowHER Leads to make these positions more accessible, provide more support for leaders, and create more leadership opportunities for our members
- Limit PillHER groups to four members to encourage more shared responsibility and participation
We’ve also put a lot of effort into building a solid foundation for the program by setting goals, tracking progress, and identifying areas where we can support the broader business. None of this would’ve been possible without our incredible EmpowHER members and we’ve made some exciting progress:
- Women’s History Month Celebration Week 2022 for all employees
- Three fireside chats focused on female career development
- EmpowHER Your Community Challenge resulting in over $3,000 in donations to various women-focused charitable organizations and 53 volunteered events logged to represent CaptivateIQ
- Social engagements, including pumpkin painting, an identity workshop with our RainbowIQ ERG, a CaptivateIQ female employee experience focus group, and an EmpowHER sticker contest (to be our first SWAG item!)
- Resource Library curated by our community with books, TED talks, podcasts, influencers, and L&D opportunities about female career development
I’m looking forward to seeing us integrate everything we do in EmpowHER with CaptivateIQ’s broader objectives in our next stage of growth. We strive to help others and be a valuable resource for our community.