In our mission to empower everybody to achieve more, we at Microsoft strive to create an environment that brings the power of diversity to life. It is important that all our teammates — people with different backgrounds and experiences — support and celebrate each other, and create an environment where we all can thrive and use our passions.
Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are one way we build this community. These groups connect our teams across identities to provide career development, networking, and mentorship, while also hosting activities that promote community engagement and cultural awareness.
We’re lucky to have five ERGs here at NERD, and are always excited to bring more to the table. Get to know these core groups and how their unique personalities, activities, and vision help Microsoft empower everyone.
The Hispanic/Latinx Organization of Leaders in Action, or HOLA, works to recruit, retain, and advance current and future Hispanic and Latinx employees at Microsoft. Ernesto Lara, senior engineering manager and chapter lead of HOLA at NERD, helps HOLA function as a resource for the Hispanic/Latinx community at NERD, from site-wide events during Hispanic Heritage Month to diversity and inclusion seminars to recruitment efforts that build a pipeline of inclusion into technology.
“Feeling part of something bigger than you is truly empowering,” Lara says.
BAM, the employee resource group for Black and African employees at Microsoft, hosts speaker series and various mentoring programs that connect the Microsoft community to students, future employees, and beyond. From a scholarship program for high school seniors pursuing a career in technology to Minority Student Day, a chance for students to see Microsoft’s campus (and its career opportunities) up close. Nana Yaa Fordjour, one of the founding members of BAM at NERD, works as a recruiter and leader to emphasize BAM’s commitment to building a tech pipeline that serves youth in underrepresented communities.
Our LGBTQI+ employee resource group, the Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft (GLEAM), prioritizes raising awareness about the LGBTQI+ community and increasing ally engagement. Through driving LGBTQI+-inclusive changes to Microsoft’s company policy, providing networking opportunities to the community, working with community non-profits, and hosting educational activities, GLEAM is driven to raise awareness about the LGBTQI+ community and increase ally engagement.
Mary Gray, senior researcher at Microsoft Research, works with our local chapter of GLEAM, utilizing her background in queer activism to elevate and further drive GLEAM’s mission.
Microsoft’s Asian ERG group represents 17 ethnicity groups — and here at NERD, it’s called AZN. Jina Yoon, program manager on our Intune team, works on AZN’s leadership team to bring events, cultural exchanges, and learning opportunities to the NERD community. The group works in line with the Microsoft-wide ERG to provide knowledge and insights on technology and business trends for Asian markets, empowering everyone, regardless of life experiences, to achieve more.
Yoon says, “I want to give back and contribute.”
Kristin Lieber, Data Scientist with Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence Development Acceleration Program (MAIDAP), works with Women@NERD, our local chapter of Women at Microsoft. Women@Microsoft’s mission is to attract, retain, and develop women around the world. From sparking girls’ interest in technology, working with women-forward organizations, and providing networking, mentoring, and other professional development resources, Women@Microsoft works to break the gender gap in technology and empower women to bring their whole selves to work.
“We all do better when we’re both diverse and inclusive,” says Eric Jewart, group engineering manager on our Intune team. Jewart understands the importance of ERGs, even as someone who does not necessarily identify as these unique identities. By providing allyship — and encouraging it among his team — Jewart helps everyone come together to build an inclusive and diverse environment at NERD.
Learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to diversity and inclusion here.