Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Establishing a Successful Faith-Based ERG

12 Aug, 2022

By Marsie Sweetland (second from right), Client Executive and Founder of FaithConnect at Equinix

See a summary of the panel discussion by Alessio Atria & Melissa Grim here.

At this year’s Religious Freedom & Business Foundation conference, panelists from Google, Intel, Salesforce, and Meta (Facebook) joined me for a 45-minute conversation about how they successfully established their faith-based ERGs. The complete video is below, along with a summary here. I hope this is helpful to anyone looking to establish a faith-based ERG.

When I decided to found Equinix’s faith-based ERG in 2019 (FaithConnect), I had high hopes, but I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know a single person in the faith-based ERG community.

One day, one of my co-workers told me about Salesforce’s Faithforce. I decided to reach out. Michael Roberts and Farah Siddiqui were kind enough to share their hard-won knowledge, their mission, charter, and how they established their ERG. They also told me about RFBF which is how I first learned about this incredible community.

In January 2021, my co-founder, Dale Konrad, and I attended the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s 2nd annual conference, held virtually. We were thrilled to meet other ERG members and connect with those in the broader community who support religious diversity in the workplace. The conference was very educational and a great opportunity to learn best practices.

After the conference, we decided to engage RFBF consultation services with Paul Lambert. Thanks to Paul’s expert guidance and the generous help from the broader RFBF community, we successfully launched FaithConnect in March 2021.

I was given so much help while setting up FaithConnect that I was inspired to give back. I’ve had numerous one-on-one conversations, helping others to set up their new ERGs. In order to capture the value in these discussions, I also created a Faith-Based ERG Leadership Online Community Forum where ERG members could collaborate.

Most recently, during the annual RFBF conference in May, I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to bring together leaders from some of the top faith-based ERGs in the world – Google, Intel, Salesforce, and Meta (Facebook) – to answer some of the most commonly asked questions such as, “How do I establish my faith-based ERG?”, “Should I have sub-chapters?”, or “How do I organize my ERG?”

Naomi Kraus (Google), Michael Roberts (Salesforce), Craig Carter (Intel), and Tariq Nagpurwala  (Meta) did a fantastic job of describing their process, challenges and history. I genuinely enjoyed the conversation and hope others do as well.

ERGs can bring so much to a company’s culture – respect, diversity, and understanding – and I look forward to continuing to help others on this journey.  Individually, ERGs can change a company’s culture but working together in collaboration, ERGs truly are a force for good in the world.

Washington DC May. 24, 2022: Establishing a Successful Faith-Based ERG from Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. This panel was organized by Equinix’s FaithConnect at Dare to Overcome, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s annual faith@work national ERG conference held in partnership with the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America.
Listen to some of the faith-based ERG leaders as they share how they established their ERG, what challenges they have faced and what wins they have brought to their companies. Panelists include:
  • — Google: Naomi Kraus, Founding Member and Global Chair of IBN and Global Lead of Jewglers subchapter
  • — Salesforce: Michael Roberts, Global President of Faithforce
  • — Meta: Tariq Nagpurwala, Current Co-Lead for the Interfaith@Meta ERG and Founder/Former Lead of Muslim@Meta subgroup.
  • — Intel: Craig Carter, leader in the Christian ERG, and with the Cross-Faith and Belief Alliance ERG (Atheist/Agnostic, Baha’i, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh).
  • — Equinix: Marsie Sweetland, Founder of Equinix FaithConnect

See a summary of the panel discussion by Alessio Atria & Melissa Grim here.

Meet the people of FaithConnect!