Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Monthly Archives: March 2023

What could possibly go wrong?

31 Mar, 2023

Ethical implications of using AI in HR

On March 28, more than 1,000 tech executives and Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts published an open letter calling for reflection and a pause before continuing to develop powerful AI systems. They said, “Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.” 

Companies are implementing AI in their business processes at a quickening rate. One of the areas for potential concern is AI’s use to facilitate Human Resource decision-making. If such uses are not carefully overseen by real people, the consequences can be destructive

Question is: Who should have a seat at the table in designing oversight and tracking mechanisms? Who should companies consult as they consider the possible dangers that should be guarded against? We contend that faith-related perspectives can add a lot of value in this hugely important arena. 

This year’s Dare to Overcome Conference in Washington DC May 22-24 included an expert panel and a separate workshop arranged by our good friends at AI and Faith, a group that includes leading thinkers in the field. The panel and workshop spotlighted the challenges of using AI in HR and illustrate how diverse perspectives of faith and belief can contribute to the needed reflection.  

Speakers include:

You can watch the panel above as well as all of the panels on the Dare to Overcome conference page.

PayPal panel “Love Heals” to kickoff faith@work conference

29 Mar, 2023

“Love your neighbor” – a tenet that cuts across faiths and worldviews, a rule for civil society.

The PayPal Believe Interfaith ERG (employee resource group) recently refocused its mission and branding to be love and light to their customers, communities and co-workers, grounded in a common belief that love is the path to societal and personal healing.

With the theme “Love Heals,” PayPal’s Believe team will kickoff the 2023 Faith@Work National ERG Conference Dare to Overcome on Monday, May 22, at 2:00 PM in Washington DC at the Busch School of Business on the beautiful campus of The Catholic University of America.

Leaders from the Believe ERG will share personal stories of how love has helped them overcome challenges in their lives and share steps we can all take to build bridges between different faiths.

The theme Love Heals will permeate the conference and put to practice what a physician once said, “The best medicine for humans is love.” But then someone asked, “What if that doesn’t work?” The Doc smiled and replied,  “Increase the dose.”

Across the three days of the conference, opportunities to explore what this means will include:

1. Understanding the role of love in healing: Love is a powerful force that can heal emotional and physical wounds. Love can help people overcome their differences and come together, despite their religious or cultural backgrounds.

2. Exploring the connection between faith and love: How do different faiths view love and its healing power? Faith can inspire and motivate people to show love and compassion towards others, even those who may not share their beliefs.

3. Sharing personal stories: Opportunities to share their personal experiences of how love has helped them overcome challenges in their lives. These stories can help to illustrate the healing power of love and inspire others to show more love and compassion towards others.

4. Overcoming barriers to love: How can we overcome the barriers that prevent us from showing love towards others? Fear, ignorance, and prejudice prevent us from showing love and compassion towards those who are different from us.

5. The importance of empathy: Empathy is a key component of love, as it allows us to understand and connect with others on a deeper level. Empathy is important in promoting love and healing in interfaith ERGs.

6. Building bridges across faiths: What steps can we take to build bridges between different faiths and promote understanding and acceptance? Dialogue, education, and outreach are important in promoting interfaith understanding and healing.

PayPal is a Platinum Sponsor of Dare to Overcome.

Ramadan 2023: Workplace dos and don’ts during the Holy Month

23 Mar, 2023

Here’s how you can be considerate to colleagues and clients during Ramadan

Excerpts from article by BY NUSRAT ALI, Gulf Business

Ramadan is one of the holiest times of the year for Muslims and following the tips below will help you show respect and strengthen your relationship with colleagues, clients, and employees.

  1. (1) Given the truncated working times, expect longer turnaround times across and plan your schedule accordingly.
  2. (2) This year, Muslims will fast for more than 12 hours. Be considerate of those fasting and avoid scheduling meetings near prayer times or late in the afternoon. Mid-morning meetings are ideal. Ask your clients/ employees if a virtual meeting would be more convenient in Ramadan to avoid driving in the heat.
  3. (3) Eating and drinking are not permitted in public places (except in designated areas) during daylight hours. As a sign of respect to those fasting, do not offer any food or drink in meetings. If you are in a virtual meeting, do not eat or drink when the camera is on.
  4. (4) Modest attire is always recommended in the UAE and this becomes even more important during Ramadan. Avoid clothing that exposes your shoulders or legs. Don’t wear revealing or short clothing.
  5. (5) Ramadan is also a time for strengthening relationships. Enhance business ties by inviting your clients for iftar or arranging a corporate iftar for your employees. Attend when you are invited.
  6. (6) Charity is strongly recommended during the month making it the ideal time for giving back to the community.

Read the full article.

Photo: Fr. Greg McBrayer, American Airlines Chief Flight Dispatcher, was recognized for his interfaith work in advance of Ramadan 2023 with the Muslim community in Dallas.


Top 3 reasons to come to our Faith@Work ERG conference

22 Mar, 2023

In short, “This is the epicenter of what’s happening in our communities and in our corporations.”

The top reasons for coming to the 4th annual Faith@Work National ERG Conference, in the words of participants, are:

(1) It’s life-changing for me to be able to hear all of the other companies and collaborate with all of the other companies and hear about all of the things that they’re doing. It’s amazing to hear the stories. It’s confirming that what we are doing is important and that we’re not alone. We are going to go back home after this conference and we are going to have energy, we are going to have ideas.

(2) It is absolutely worth investing in this. The team that we brought to the table is learning a tremendous amount of what we can do inside our organization to be more effective in helping people express their faith at work. That’s huge.

(3) Anyone that’s a part of a faith-based employee resource groups should be here. This is the epicenter of what’s happening in our communities and in our corporations.

Even if religion is not your thing, the conference is essential because “there are so many people on the planet who express a belief system, and if you want to be able to do business on a global level today, you have to be able to talk to those people and the people here are the people who can help you talk to those people.”

Participants in the videos above & below (and in the bullets below) share more reasons why “this conference is just so full of energy. It’s a breath of fresh air” that provides “thought leadership here that I’ve not found anywhere else in the world.”

Join us May 22-24, 2023, at The Busch School of Business to participate with business leaders from Fortune 500 companies who are stressing how important and useful the Dare to Overcome conference is for anyone interested in helping their company include faith as part of their culture and religious inclusion commitments.

More testimonies:

— I’ve met people from all over the world in numerous different corporations around the world that have a common interest in this just as I do, and they have a passion toward this. This is a true passion in people’s lives and when you can bring them together and they can learn from one another in my face. We call iron sharpening the iron and that’s what happens here. We grow together and we share together, and we get better together.

— It’s comforting, it genuinely is, and it makes you feel like there’s more people fighting the fight that you’re fighting.

— You know, the best part is just seeing what other companies are doing. I’ve seen great things around chaplaincy. I’ve seen great things around companies really empowering their workforce.

— The best part of this conference for me has been really having the opportunity to connect with just really incredible people from around the world. People who are leading Faith ERGs, leading opportunities to really connect with people at a deeper human level and looking at ways of how do we bring our full selves to work? And what does that look like? And so, those best practices and insights have been really, really exciting.

— This is important for companies who really care about their employees who want to be able to build resilience to have an efficient workforce, a very effective workforce.

Encouraging trends in workplace religious freedom

19 Mar, 2023

At this year’s Faith@Work ERG Conference “Dare to Overcome” (May 22-24), we will hear about the growing movement within companies to employ chaplains as spiritual care providers.

Kent Johnson, senior corporate advisor for RFBF, will be on hand at the conference to share his expertise developed over a career as senior counsel and a faith-based ERG pioneer at Texas Instruments.

Kent was just interviewed about the conference and his experience. Listen above.

Join us in Washington DC this May 22-24 to learn more about the encouraging trends in workplace religious freedom.

46 million US adults seen by a chaplain

18 Mar, 2023

As religious affiliation drops, a chaplain may be the only religious professional available to many people.

By Brian Grim

A new survey report stresses the importance of the chaplain’s role in a society with climbing rates of religious disaffiliation. The survey finds that 18% of American adults (approximately 46.7 million people) have interacted with a chaplain, with the majority of interactions taking place in healthcare settings, including hospice and palliative care (see chart at bottom).

At the same time, the report notes that the “American public does not have a common understanding of who or what a chaplain is.” This reveals a gap not only in understanding what chaplains are, but also how to access them.

The survey report by Wendy Cadge and Amy Lawton, How Does the American Public Understand and Interact with Chaplains? Evidence from a National Survey and Interviews, is published by the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab as part of a Templeton Religion Trust-funded project that explores “Chaplains as Facilitators of Covenantal Pluralism.”

The authors note that a “chaplain may be the only religious professional available to many people” as religious affiliation declines, referring to data from the Pew Research Center. The latest estimates are that approximately 29% of US adults are now religiously unaffiliated, up from 16% in 2007 (see chart). During this time, the share of U.S. adults who identify as Christian has fallen from 78% to 63%.

The survey also found that most people were either the primary recipient of the chaplain’s care (56% of respondents) or met the chaplain as a visitor or caregiver (55% of respondents). Chaplains commonly supported careseekers through prayer (81%) and listening (80%). The most commonly discussed topics were death and dying (53%), dealing with loss (51%), and dealing with change (49%).

Related News

A Transformation Journey at Coca-Cola Consolidated

14 Mar, 2023

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Coca-Cola Consolidated joins as Platinum sponsor of  Dare to Overcome National Faith@Work ERG Conference, with Vice President of Culture & Care to share how faith is key to the company’s transformational journey.

Mark Whitacre will share about the transformation journey at Coca-Cola Consolidated into a purpose-driven, faith-friendly, and servant leadership orientated organization. The session will include how Coke Consolidated has transformed its workplace culture by providing chaplaincy at all of their production and distribution sites (102 sites), and also how prayer groups and Bible studies play a critical role in culture transformation.

Mark Whitacre’s major passion the past 2 decades is the faith at work movement. Mark is Vice President of Culture & Care and Executive Director of the t-factor initiative at Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. and Mark has worked with Coca-Cola Consolidated since 2019. Mark had served as National Director and then COO of Christian Business Men’s Connection (CBMC) from 2013 to 2019. Mark previously was the COO and Chief Science Officer from 2006 to 2013 at Cypress Systems, Inc., a faith-friendly, purpose-driven biotechnology company located in California.

After completing his B.S. and M.S. degrees at Ohio State University, Mark earned his Ph.D. degree at Cornell University in biochemistry. He worked as an executive for some Fortune 500 companies, including Ralston Purina (now Nestle), Degussa (now Evonik), and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). He was recruited at ADM when he was 32 as the President of the Biotech Division. Mark has extensive international business experience, having lived in Germany for four years working for Evonik at their world headquarters in Frankfurt.

Mark and his wife Ginger have been married over 43 years and have three adult children.

Global Business & Intercultural Peace Prize Women Honorees

8 Mar, 2023

Today, International Women’s Day, is a fitting occasion to both honor past recipients of our Global Business & Intercultural* Peace Prize, and call for nominations for the 2023 Awards to be presented in New Delhi, India, on October 5, 2023, at our global Dare to Overcome “Unity in Diversity” conference.

The Awards are open to both female and male CEOs and senior business leaders who are advancing cultures of mutual understanding in their workplaces and marketplaces.

Award winners come from more than 30 countries on six continents. Below, meet some of women business & peace builders.

Nominations are open – please reach out if you know of a CEO worthy of such recognition in 2023! Deadline, April 30, 2023.

* Previously “Interfaith”

Competing to do good: Corporate faith initiatives

1 Mar, 2023

American Airlines hosts top five companies to discuss newest innovations in making workplaces faith-friendly

Yesterday, American Airlines hosted the other five most faith-friendly Fortune 500 companies to discuss newest innovations in their work.

Intel, PayPal, DELL Technologies and Texas Instruments, as well as global Fortune 500 leader Accenture, each shared how they are using RFBF’s REDI Index to benchmark their journey towards increasing workplace religious inclusion. (See more photos.)

In addition to participation from the companies’ various faith-based employee business resource group (EBRG) leaders – including from American Airline’s five faith-and-belief EBRGs and DEI Specialist Millicent Rone – American Airlines Chief Customer Officer Alison Taylor and Chief Diversity Officer Cedric Rockamore also participated.

WASHINGTON DC FOLLOW-UP: Stained glass master artist Tom Holdman, his wife and team brought his 7-panel masterpiece, The Pillars of Humanity, to display in the atrium of American Airlines global HQ. It was originally displayed at last year’s Dare to Overcome in Washington.

Their art reinforced the message that while we are each unique, together we create a more beautiful whole. The glass was blessed at a prayer service in the atrium by Fr. Greg McBrayer, corporate chaplain and chief flight controller at American Airlines.

The REDI Index survey is open – please send me an email if your company would like to participate and join this growing, hopeful and energized movement advancing freedom of religion and belief for all at work.

Brian Grim
RFBF President