Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


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Faith & Media Event at Dare to Overcome

14 May, 2022

Deseret News Event at Dare to Overcome: Workshop on Attitudes, Insights and Behaviors Around the Issues of Faith in Society & Media

Please join us at Dare to Overcome for a networking luncheon followed by an executive briefing and data workshop on Attitudes, Insights and Behaviors around the issues of faith in society and media.

The workshop will feature industry experts discussing the topic of faith in society and media. The discussion will include relevant research from the Faith and Media Initiative and results from a Deseret News survey conducted by The Marist College Poll.

Monday, May 23 noon-1:45pm
Catholic University of America
Fr. O’Connell Hall
597-599 Michigan Ave NE
Washington DC 20064

Insights on faith@work and why religion is the next big thing in diversity

14 May, 2022

We have an unsurpassed lineup of speakers and corporate panels, all looking at the next big thing – religion is being equitably included in corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

Speakers from major corporations will share how they have opened their workplaces to faith, and what that looks like. It not only means that people of diverse faiths and beliefs have a seat at the table, but it also means that the compassionate care that is exemplified in the Golden Rule have an expanded space to make a contribution.

These contributions range from addressing human trafficking to seeing that people with disabilities are not disabled, but uniquely enabled. They also include increasing revenue, decreasing attrition, and sparking innovation.

Join us to learn how faith works at work!

I wish I had a chaplain

6 May, 2022

How can corporations provide the same quality of spiritual care for members as the military does?

Life doesn’t stop when work starts. Pains and joys from outside affect what’s inside – inside a person and inside the workplace.

Just as chaplains provide compassionate care for members inside the military, a growing number of companies provide chaplain care for their members inside the workplace.

This ranges from full-time chaplains on staff (such as at Tyson Foods) or provided by a third party (such at at Coca-Cola Consolidated) to spiritual care provided as an option in employee assistance programs. Even faith-oriented employee resource groups (ERGs) at times provide chaplain-like care.

In addition to Tyson Foods’ and Coca-Cola Consolidated’s presentations on their chaplaincy programs at Dare to Overcome, you won’t want to miss the keynote by retired Rear Admiral Alan ”Blues” Baker, former chief chaplain of the U.S. Marine Corps and now CEO of veteran-led ChaplainCare: How can corporations provide the same quality of spiritual care for members as the military does?

To see whether your company or organization could benefit from having chaplains, join us at Dare to Overcome in Washington DC, May 23-25!

Speaking With Light – World renowned stained glass artist is world class communicator despite severe stutter

3 May, 2022

Stuttering Does Not Stop Him – Finding a Voice Through Art

Join us at Dare to Overcome to hear Tom & Gayle Holdman share their passion for faith, love and unity.

The anxiety and struggle of having a life-long stuttering problem can seem insurmountable. Not having the ability to speak fluently affects so many aspects of your life. It’s like words randomly get caught in your throat. Your mouth seizes and doesn’t respond as you’d like. You lean your head back, close your eyes and muster all your effort to finally form a word.

For Tom Holdman, stuttering will always be part of his story. But through many obstacles and hard work, it hasn’t stopped him from finding his voice. Even though he was plagued with anxiety as a child and had to endure jabs from peers in his youth, this weakness led him to his art. Today Tom’s work in impeccable stained-glass windows has attracted international attention and admiration.

Tom has always had a slow tongue and he needed to find ways to speak with others. He discovered that through art he could express himself. This proved to be a powerful tool for a man who was desperate to express himself. Ultimately, his true release was found through his art. He emerged passionate, triumphant and fulfilled.

For years, Tom and his team of artists at Holdman Studios have created stained-glass windows for government offices, libraries, hospitals, churches, temples, and airports.

At Dare to Overcome, participants will be the first to be able to view Tom’s latest masterpiece, The Pillars of Humanity.

These seven stained glass panels illustrate seven key, noble characteristics that humans are capable of: Knowledge, Creativity, Faith, Love, Unity, Freedom, and Courage. Examples from across the world are included in each scene. This artwork will travel to locations around the globe to inspire and unify individuals everywhere.

This is a project of the Roots of Humanity Foundation, which works through art and education to foster esteem, connection, and creativity within individuals while unifying and inspiring communities. Humanity’s history is replete with examples of individuals, whether well known or lesser known, who understood their duty to pass on a legacy of excellence. The sacrifice of our progenitors was life, limb, freedom and leisure lost so that we, their decedents, could have opportunity. Our inheritance of life binds us to this same duty, and we have the responsibility to pass on to our children the stories, the strengths, and the roots of our humanity.

Meet Gayle & Tom

Gayle is author of the children’s book, The Piece That is You. Meet the artists and see the art at Dare to Overcome!

(closed captions available)

When a Company’s Public Positions are in Tension with Employees’ Beliefs

30 Apr, 2022

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

A contribution to the “How to Engage Faith & Belief at Work” section in the Blog Series Authenticity & Connection

Especially in this age of social media, diverse employees passionately hold a wide range of views on public policy and legislative issues. So, when a company takes a public position on a particular broad social cause outside the scope of normal business operations, some employees may be disappointed while others may applaud. The matter becomes especially personal when the issue touches employees’ core faith and beliefs.

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation* has some helpful guidelines for navigating these tensions. Our premise is that the workplace offers forums for civil discourse in which people can lean against larger social trends toward division, fear and rancor. While it’s impossible to please everyone in a diverse community, our workplaces can be arena where people can find ways to disagree and yet respect, value and even love one another.

We hope you’ll plan to join us in person for the third annual Religious Freedom & Business Foundation conference, May 23–25 in Washington, DC, where experts will engage the audience in a provocative and insightful discussion of this important topic.

Among other things, at the conference we’ll discuss the general legal landscape and then delve into proven strategies for navigating these tensions. We’ll talk about how to plan in advance, how to weigh the effect that the company’s public position may have on various stakeholders (including the possible effect on recruitment and retention, among other things), the helpful role that can be played by representatives from faith-oriented employee resource groups, the importance of establishing a clear policy on religious freedom, and available resources on this gripping topic.

This session is not intended to discourage companies from taking public positions on matters of importance to the larger community (though sometimes, the process may lead to a company choice not to have the company speak on a particular issue). It simply seeks to help companies engage broad social issues in a sensitive way.

We’ll include an opportunity for Q&A and comment from attendees, shepherded by Dr. Johnny Parker, a noted facilitator of “Courageous Conversations.”

It will be an especially practical and useful session. We can’t wait to see you there. You can register to attend here.

* The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) is a non-partisan, nonpolitical, multi-faith registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the United States with work worldwide. It does not take a position on current political debates. See our Guide to Religion in the Workplace here.

Immediate Release: 2022 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards

28 Apr, 2022

IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Washington DC): American Airlines CCO & G100 Founder to Receive Top Awards

Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American Airlines, and Dr. Harbeen Arora Rai, Founder of the G100 Group of 100 Global Women Leaders, will receive the 2022 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Gold Medals at a ceremony in Washington DC on May 24.

Alison Taylor’s tireless commitment to caring for others while connecting the world exemplifies the perfect synergy of compassion and passion! Her global leadership in the world’s largest airline combined with her love for people, peace, and faith has been a shining light for team members at American Airlines during one of the most challenging years our world has ever seen.

Dr. Harbeen Arora Rai is a passionate supporter of interfaith and intercultural collaboration and partnerships, inspired by the Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba. She is devoted to working with people of all faiths and beliefs for the empowerment of girls and women worldwide.

The 2022 Awards will be given on the evening May 24, 2022, at Dare to Overcome, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s annual allyship conference and business for peace symposium.*

The Global Business & Intercultural Peace Awards have been given in tandem with the Paralympic Games as part of former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s UN Global Compact Business for Peace initiative in Rio de Janeiro (2016), Seoul (2018) and Tokyo (2021). In 2022 they will be given in Washington DC and then move onward to New Delhi in 2023 in tandem with the G20 Meetings hosted by India.

In 2021, the Awards were held in Tokyo in August and were keynoted by former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. Awardees included the CEOs of Intel and Tyson Foods, both Fortune 100 companies. Previous CEO recipients come from companies as diverse as Ernst & Young, Hyundai, Kimberly Clark, and Berkshire Capital, and countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Netherlands, the Palestinian territories, South Korea, UAE, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dare to Overcome is also the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s annual in-person gathering for Fortune 500 faith-oriented employee resource groups (ERGs) and corporate chaplains to come together to share best practices and to build supportive, intersecting networks nationally and globally at the three-day event. All faiths and beliefs are welcome.


GENTRI to perform their hit “Dare” @ Dare To Overcome

27 Apr, 2022

GENTRI to perform their hit “Dare” @ Dare To Overcome – GENTRI, the Gentleman’s Trio, will provide the musical entertainment for the 2022 Signature Global Conference Dare To Overcome Gala in Washington DC at the Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business on May 24, 2022, sponsored by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. More information here.

GENTRI has performed all over the United States and across the globe. They have shared the stage with world-renowned talent, including Tony Award-winning powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth, international tenor sensation Alfie Boe, Tony Award-winning vocalist Idina Menzel, and legendary rock bands Journey, Blondie and One Republic.

GENTRI has released three EP’s and three full length albums, the most recent being “Noel”, GENTRI’s second Christmas album, which debuted #6 on iTunes pop charts, just under Taylor Swift. Almost all of GENTRI’s albums have reached #1 on various Billboard charts.

The Gents are also known for their award-winning music videos, such as their cover of Let it be, which have been featured on news outlets around the world including ABC World News, NBC Nightly News and Inside Edition.

There are more people enslaved today than any other time in history: How Company ERGs Can Make a Difference

19 Apr, 2022

Join us at Dare to Overcome (May 23-25, 2022) to see how your company’s employee resource group (ERG) can make a difference in ending human trafficking.

Bill Clark, A21’s Chief Advancement Officer, will give us the latest information on the global crisis of human trafficking, including insights on how the war in Ukraine is contributing to the challenges. He will provide practical resources ERGs can utilize immediately.

Following Bill Clark’s presentation will be a plenary panel by Dell Technologies Interfaith ERG, sharing how they partnered with A21 in a worldwide campaign. Any company looking to engage on this topic won’t want to miss these important sessions!

When? May 23, Dare to Overcome afternoon sessions. REGISTER NOW


Today, over 40 million Men, Women and Children are trapped as Modern-Day Slaves

19 Apr, 2022

by Matt Friedman, CEO, Mekong Club | Guest Post in Blog Series, Authenticity & Connection

Human trafficking, which represents the recruitment, transport, receipt and harboring of people for the purpose of exploiting their labor, affects almost all parts of the world. Globally, it is estimated that there are over 40 million men, women and children in situations in modern day slavery today. These victims, who can be found in factories, construction sites, within fisheries and sex venues, are forced to work for little or no pay, deprived of their freedom, and often subjected to unimaginable suffering.

While most people think that human trafficking focuses primarily on women and girls being forced into the sex industry, this represents only about 25 percent of the total cases. The remaining 75 percent fall under the heading “forced labor.” Out of this figure, about 60 percent of the victims are associated with manufacturing supply chains, which begin with a grower or producer and end as a finished product purchased by consumers in the retail market.

Over more than a decade, the international human trafficking community has not come close to meeting its full potential. While individual, small-scale success stories can be found, many victims are never identified. For example, the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) was only able to account for 108,000 victims receiving assistance globally. During the same time period, there were less than 8,000 convictions. This means that less than 0.2 percent of the victims are being identified and assisted each year. This number has remained unchanged for several years.

Why are these numbers so low? According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the profits generated from this illicit trade are estimated to exceed US$150 billion annually. But despite the size of the problem, annual global donor contributions add up to only around US$350 million, which represents approximately one percent of total profits generated by the criminals. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the number of trafficked persons continues to increase. In fact, the UN has indicated that there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history.

For the world to really make a difference in addressing this problem, the private sector must become a player in this fight. Why should the business world care about this? First, most forced labor cases have some direct or indirect link with the private sector. Unlike the United Nations and other civil society organizations, the private sector knows how to root out bad businesses and already has the necessary skills and capabilities to tackle the problem, e.g. legal, compliance, accounting, communications, and financial expertise. Second, labor trafficking often under-cuts the price of legitimate businesses, offering an unfair advantage to those involved. Third, when human trafficking conditions are found in a given business sector, it can result in an entire industry receiving a “bad name.” This trend is emerging in the electronics, garment, chocolate and seafood sectors. Fourth, this topic is becoming a growing public concern (similar to environmental issues), with more and more consumers asking questions about whether the products they buy are “slave free.” Fifth, with new legislation out of North America, Australia, and Europe, it will be expected that most ESG declarations address this topic. Finally, and most importantly, slave-like conditions have been and will always be incompatible with good business.

What can retail and manufacturing companies and faith-oriented employee resource groups do to play a role in addressing the problem? First, they can look at their business to determine if there are any risk factors. Based on this risk, companies can take specific measures to maintain a slave-free supply chain, including:

  • — Conducting investigative audits that illuminate the real conditions faced by workers throughout the continuum of the supply chain and describe them in qualitative and quantitative degrees to top-level corporate decision-makers;
  • — Conducting action-oriented training for staff in global corporations and their suppliers with the goal of expanding awareness and helping reduce the negative impacts of global sourcing;
  • — Consulting at the points of maximum leverage on how to implement effective human rights protections within global businesses; and
  • — Facilitating multi-stakeholder initiatives that join private sector business, workers, labour, civil society and governments to focus on both strategic and practical levels with the goal of achieving positive social change.

In addition to these internal actions, companies can also ask themselves the basic question – “What if this was our problem — how would we go about addressing it?” Every corporation is encouraged to explore ways of using their skills, expertise and comparative advantage to be part of the solution. For example, a law firm could come up with legal remedies. A communications corporation could come up with technology and IT solutions. Having these contributions would help to come up with new, innovative approaches.

But the actions don’t have to stop here. In addition to corporate responses to this issue, professionals from all walks of life can also be a part of the solution. For example, you can learn about today’s slavery and help educate your friends and family. You can consult with the internet for up-to-date information on this topic. Every person reached potentially adds another soldier to the fight.

For more information about this topic, please consider reading my new Penguin book, WHERE WERE YOU?: A PROFILE OF MODERN SLAVERY. In this memoir, I explore the early days of meeting modern slavery survivors and recount true stories of enslavement in Asia. I recall painful moments that literally changed my life, reflect back on the different approaches to fighting human trafficking over the last 35 years and give an account of the early beginnings of the fight against modern slavery before the phrase “human trafficking” was adopted. Here is a short fireside chat (9 minutes) to describe why I wrote the book.

As a final note, I believe that collective actions have the greatest chance of impact – and that an army of ordinary people working together can change the world.