Author Archives: RFBF

Equinix to join as sponsor of Dare to Overcome

14 Jan, 2022

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation is pleased to announce today that Equinix joins as a corporate sponsor of Dare to Overcome, our annual Faith@Work ERG conference. In 2022, Dare to Overcome will be an in-person gathering where Fortune 500 faith-and-belief employee resource groups (ERGs) come together to share best practices and build supportive, intersecting networks nationally and globally.

Equinix is the world’s digital infrastructure company. They interconnect industry-leading organizations in finance, manufacturing, mobility, transportation, government, healthcare and education across a cloud-first world. Equinix’s has 220+data centers in 60+ markets from Mumbai to Dublin, Singapore to Chicago, and Helsinki to San José.

“I’m thrilled to have Equinix come on board as a Diamond Sponsor of Dare to Overcome,” said RFBF President Brian Grim. “Their FaithConnect employee resource group has taken off in the past year, and despite the remote work during the pandemic, FaithConnect has been instrumental in bringing not only their own people together but other companies to connect on issues related to faith and belief. I’m looking forward to the panels they are putting together for Dare to Overcome showcasing how companies collaborate on religious inclusion!”

The 2022 theme is “Better Together,” reflecting an emphasis on being strong allies of others — with a special focus on those with differing abilities. Dare to Overcome will be held in Washington DC in partnership with the Busch School of Business, May 23-25, 2022, and then move onwards to India in 2023.

“The three pillars of FaithConnect are Invite, Learn and Respect. Our mission is to inspire a culture of learning and respect for all faiths, non-faiths and worldviews in the workplace and we believe that by celebrating spiritual diversity, employees can bring their whole authentic selves to work,” said Marsie Sweetland, Client Executive and Founder of Equinix FaithConnect.

“FaithConnect is thrilled to sponsor and participate in the 2022 Dare to Overcome conference. We have partnered with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundations for in-office training and events and we look forward to joining for another year of this outstanding conference,” said Sweetland.

American Airlines is the global partner and official airline of Dare to Overcome.

Countries with greater religious freedoms are more peaceful

11 Jan, 2022

Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, Executive Vice President at Freedom House, cites the work of the Institute for Economics & Peace and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation which found that countries with “greater religious freedoms are generally more peaceful, whereas countries with less religious freedom are generally less peaceful,” in her article ‘Religious Freedom Can Teach Us About Strengthening American Democracy.’ In the article for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, she details how protections for religious belief offer a crucial lesson for strengthening American democracy and addressing growing societal rifts.

Two EEOC Commissioners to Share Expertise on Combating Anti-Semitism in the Workplace

7 Jan, 2022

One of the pressing religious liberty issues of the day is a deeply troubling increase in antisemitism in the United States. This coming Monday, Jan. 10, at 12 pm ET, EEOC Commissioners Andrea Lucas and Keith Sonderling will participate in an important conversation hosted by the Louis D. Brandeis Center about combatting antisemitism in the workplace.

You can register for the free public webinar here:

Related Content: Religious Nondiscrimination is Good for Business

(Washington DC, Feb. 10, 2021) –  Sharon Fast Gustafson, EEOC’s General Counsel at the time, delivered a keynote presentation at the 2021 national Faith@Work ERG Conference on why religious nondiscrimination is good for business and explained the legal obligations relating to religious nondiscrimination and accommodation in the workplace. Watch below or read her prepared comments. Read prepared comments.

RFBF to host Silicon Valley business breakfast on faith and allyship

5 Jan, 2022

RFBF will host a January 14 breakfast discussion at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in Palo Alto to hear how American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier, partners with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation on our annual faith-oriented employee resource group (ERG) conference, Dare to Overcome.

We will also discuss how Dare to Overcome can help faith@work initiatives have greater impact through allyship with other ERGs, including Dis/Abilities ERGs.

Breakfast opens at 7:30AM; program begins at 8:00AM. All faiths and beliefs welcome. To find out more, email Brian Grim, RFBF President.

Speakers:

  • – Fr. Greg McBrayer, American Airlines, Chief Flight Controller, Chaplain, Christian EBRG Global Lead
  • – Roy Tinklenberg, Faith and Work Movement Global, Co-Founder and Chief Vision Officer
  • – Becky Pomerleau, PayPal, Director SOX Program and Believe Interfaith ERG Co-founder
  • – Sue Warnke, Salesforce, Senior Director of Content Experience, and part of the team that started Faithforce
  • – Dr. Brian Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation President and Dare to Overcome Global Chair

Host & Sponsor:

Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Podcast: Building Religious Freedom in Business Organizations with Brian Grim

23 Dec, 2021

As the world endured the pandemic, we’ve seen the world moving into a new direction. Business organizations realized a global tipping point that has made them work with people in different religious affiliations.

In this episode, Brian Grim, the founding president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, shares the benefits of expressing religious freedom in the community and in the workplace.

It has always been Brian’s advocacy to create working environments where people are at liberty to practice and exhibit their faith. By doing these, organizations establish success via great teamwork and retention. They know how to nurture an employee based on faith and beliefs.

Brian also shares the 9 principles that guides his way of thinking. These principles motivate people to live the kind of life that God wants us to live. It involves being mindful, excellent, caring, finding God in all things and so much more.

If you want to learn more how companies maximize the skills and talents of their employees via faith motivation, this inspiring episode is for you.

WHAT YOU’LL DISCOVER IN THIS EPISODE:
  • — The response of various religious affiliations to COVID-19 (01:50)
  • — The miraculous timing of the business organization’s conference (03:30)
  • — Bringing religious freedom in the Soviet Union (09:10)
  • — The mysteries of faith (13:15)
  • — How the Jesuits brought change to the world (16:55)
  • — 9 principles that guide Brian’s way of thinking (18:35)
  • — Narrowing the gap of having religious freedom in the community (31:13)
  • — How to encourage opportunities for authenticity in the workplace (34:12)
  • — Q&A with Brian Grim (36:17)

Meeting Actor and Producer Neal McDonough

18 Dec, 2021

by Brian Grim

Yesterday, I met actor and producer Neal McDonough, known for appearing in movies like Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” and TV shows like HBO’s “Band of Brothers”, “Suits” and CW’s “Arrow.” He is a husband and father of five, a devout Catholic.

As the Salt Lake Tribute reports, “And right now, he is the narrator of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s annual Christmas concert, which is being taped before limited audiences for airing on PBS at holiday time in 2022. And McDonough has no issue teaming up with the premier performing troupe of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We spend so much time as humans worrying about what the right church is,” he said Friday. “By bridging [Latter-day Saints and Catholics] together, it shows that whatever it takes to glorify God and to be better human beings in his eyes is the goal of any religion and any belief.”

“Whether you’re Catholic or Mormon, Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist or agnostic or atheist, [this show] is a chance for us all to figure out ‘how can we be better on this planet?’” he said. “We’re all brothers and sisters in the eyes of God.”

Read full story.

Also at the meeting with McDonough organized by Ron Gunnell (Executive Producer Talent, for the Choir), were Bill and Karla Ahmanson, and my wife, Julia Beth.

Paul Lambert Discusses Religious Inclusion With U.S. Navy DEI Team

14 Dec, 2021

On December 9, Paul Lambert, Senior Business Fellow of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, met virtually with active duty sailors and civilian employees of the United States Navy from around the world to discuss religious accommodation in the workplace.

The session was part of the Navy’s larger Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Webinar Series that started earlier in 2021. The DEI webinar series is a monthly virtual learning experience tailored to DEI practitioner needs. The series addresses the need for a continuous, accessible, and relevant DEI training and education program. This was the first time that the webinar series has addressed the topic of faith and belief as an aspect in DEI at the Navy.

In addition to highlighting lessons learned from other organizations that have developed policies and practices to support a faith-friendly environment, such as Tyson Foods, Google, and Intel, Lambert led a discussion on religious literacy in the workplace and principles of religious accommodation and how such principles can be deployed in a Navy context.

Dr. Jessica Milam, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisor in the Office of Naval Operations noted, “Navy DEI practitioners across the fleet brought back valuable knowledge to their commands on how we all experience religion differently and how to be inclusive through active listening and applying accommodation principles. It is the first of many conversations in this space and we are thrilled that Paul shared his expertise and knowledge with the US Navy.”

Of the session, Lambert noted, “it is encouraging to know that an organization like the Navy, that is at the heart of our government and that employs tens of thousands of people, is focused on ensuring that all of its people can bring all of who they are, including their faith or no faith, to work with them.”

The Navy joins a quickly growing number of organizations that recognize the necessity of including faith and belief in their larger DEI efforts and have dedicated training time for their workforce to learn how to implement religion and belief accommodation practices.

Read more on U.S. Navy Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the U.S. Navy.

Physical Isolation and “The Great Resignation”

13 Dec, 2021

by Kent Johnson, J.D., Senior Corporate Advisor, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Part of the blog series, Authenticity & Connection


The so-called “Great Resignation” has prompted corporate soul-searching. Gallup says 48% of workers are actively searching for a change. Many workers are suffering from disconnection. The physical isolation entailed in the pandemic response heightens that sense of disconnection. What can stem the exodus?

Relationships matter. Employees are much less likely to leave if they have meaningful personal connections with coworkers, and if they feel appreciated and valued. So, especially in this spatially challenged environment, a strategic focus on authentic and deep relationships among employees is warranted.

Here are three of the hurdles to relationships that flow from “work from home”:

(1) Self-Segregation. In the past, many of us were physically grouped with a diverse team of colleagues at the office. Personality conflicts and differences of outlook had to be worked through. Now, it’s easier to avoid meaningful connection with those with whom we disagree. We’re more prone to open up personally only to those who – we think – are like us. [To be sure, even working side by side, people can still “hide”; but it’s harder to do so. And working physically near one another can add opportunity for friction; but, navigated with mutual respect, it also opens avenues for more meaningful connection.]

(2) Fear and Distrust. Our natural tendency is to connect soulfully only with “like minded” people, and worry more about “those people” who are different. Are THEY trying to restrict our freedoms? To force us to act like we adopt worldviews that are contrary to our core beliefs? Physical isolation may drive “like minded” people together virtually, but it makes trust across diverse employees more challenging.

(3) Superficial Conformity. Physically set apart and relegated to their respective personal spaces, it’s tougher for diverse employees to authentically connect with others on the heartfelt personal WHYs of their work. We expect people to work collaboratively in a manner that conforms to the company’s high-sounding stated values; yet we often stifle their expression of how those company values dovetail with their own. Lacking a sense of personal connection, it often seems that the official stated company values lack depth, sincerity, connection and consequence. It’s no wonder, then, why employees’ loyalty to the company is thin; and that they’re looking elsewhere.

So, what can be done? I’ll start by mentioning two courses of action that DON’T work: First, “faith avoiding” – doing nothing to encourage authentic person-to-person communication – will enable the natural forces of isolation to prevail. Many workers equate management silence on matters of faith and belief to a gag order… they must not speak of the things that define them as persons. Second, on the other extreme, a heavy-handed approach to religious diversity will backfire if the company is seen as requiring people of faith (or atheists or agnostics) to compromise their core beliefs.

Much of the isolating effect of electronic media and “work from home” can be overcome if the company skillfully promotes authentic and respectful communications about faith and belief. As David Miller of Princeton and Jeff Haanen of the Denver Institute for Faith and Work have noted, merely “tolerating” faith falls short. Many employees long for richer connection with their coworkers; but they’re constrained by the impression that the company views such topics as distractions.

The focus on encouraging employees to speak of their core identity and belief isn’t a fringe movement. As the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation has noted, premier companies are embracing religious diversity in positive ways (see the REDI Index). But many employers still actively avoid such topics, or, at best, tolerate minimal references to faith like one might have to tolerate mosquitoes.

In sum, a corporate culture of meaningful, authentic connection requires an intentional strategy that leans against the isolating forces of physical separation, so that when we do gather, and even if we don’t, it’s clear that we value each other as human beings and care about one another regardless of our differences.

Encourage your employees to talk with one another about their core identity and core beliefs that relate to work. Benchmark with the growing number of companies that have navigated this well. Engage consultants like the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation that have helped, and stem the tide of The Great Resignation.

Vietnam: Religious Literacy Training

11 Dec, 2021

On. Dec. 9, Dr. Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, introduced more than 160 religious education and legal trainers in 63 different municipalities and provinces of Vietnam to how the world’s biggest and best multinational corporations, such as Google and the Intel Corporation, are building cultural and religious pluralism that results in productivity, profit and social progress.

The virtual conference, was organized by the Institute of Religion and Belief at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (NAP) in partnership with the Institute for Global Engagement and BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

Objectives

Research and teaching on religion contributes to raising awareness of the public about religious literacy and providing good policy advice on religion to lawmakers. In this Training of Trainers program (TOT), NAP lecturers will have opportunity to improve their knowledge on religion and apply it to their teaching at the provincial level.

The organizers of the TOT have successfully conducted two training courses on religion and the rule of law for government officials and faith leaders in 2018 and 2019 in Can Tho and Quy Nhon provinces. The annual training was postponed in 2021 due to the pandemic.

In this context, a short-term training course on religion for NAP lecturers was held online. This virtual event brought together government officials and scholars who work and teach about religion from many different disciplines. They explored research and approaches to new methods and perspectives in the field of religious research and pedagogy at the national and international level.