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Faith@Work ERG Conference 2020

Conference corporate sponsors: American Airlines & Tyson Foods

A growing trend in corporate America that is being embraced by some of the largest and most recognizable companies was the topic of a first-of-its-kind conference in February 2020. From Google to Facebook to Walmart, companies from a range of industries are recognizing that faith-friendly environments mean better workplaces and better businesses (see AP and Fox News stories).

Program

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and the Busch School of Business at Catholic University held a groundbreaking conference for employees and executives to discuss the importance of corporate programs that foster religious inclusion (see program). The two-day conference took place at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., on February 13 and 14, 2020. The event featured executives and members of faith-oriented Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) sharing best practices, challenges and opportunities. The second annual conference will be held Feb. 8-9, 2021, also at the Busch School.

A key theme many at the conference emphasized was “Bring your whole self to work – faith and all!


Attending the conference were many Fortune 500 companies leading the way on Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI). The top scoring companies from the Fortune 100 were on hand to receive awards for embracing the work of their faith-and-belief Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and, in some cases, their workplace chaplains.


Corporate Sponsor Comments

Corporate sponsor American Airlines shared their reactions on receiving the REDI Awards, and the pivotal role their faith-oriented Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs) play in the company’s ethos of Caring for People on Life’s Journey.

Corporate sponsor Tyson Foods, also top scorer on the Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index, hires full-time chaplains to minister to the needs of employees of all faiths and beliefs. And, as we heard, that yields a real Return on Investment.

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Keynotes

Ellen Barker, Senior Vice President and CIO at Texas Instruments (TI), makes the case for how a faith-friendly workplace benefits business. With the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, TI co-hosted the 2019 Faith@Work conference at their corporate HQ in Dallas.

The Busch School of Business has as its mission “Developing Virtuous Business Leaders.” Its dean, Andrew Abela, shares just what that means in his keynote.

Sue Warnke, Salesforce Senior Director of Content & Communication Experience, President, Faithforce San Francisco, tells “The Faithforce Story” in her keynote address.

Catholic University President John H. Garvey gave opening comments on why religious freedom matters to business people.

Among the Fortune 500, American Airlines has one of the longest records on having faith-based Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs). Senior diversity, equity and inclusion specialists from American Airlines, Nikia Boone and Anila Javanji, share “interfaith insights” on what has made their program one of the longest and most successful among major corporations worldwide.

Empowering a Billion Women Through Business. Hear the inspiring story of how Ingrid Vanderveldt (aka IV) — Dell’s first entrepreneur in residence and cochair of the International Religious Freedom Business Roundtable — began her journey of empowering a billion women through business and faith.

PLENARY SESSIONS


Plenary 1: The Business Case for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Plenary 2: Workplace Spirituality

Plenary 3: Keynote Session, Accommodation Insights

Plenary 4: Multiplying the ERG Movement

Diversity makes us mission-capable, RADM Margaret Grun Kibben (Ret.)

Humanity of individuals needs to be part of industry – Rabbi Michael Shevack