Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Dare to Overcome Fortune 500 Service Internships for Students

15 Apr, 2022

Student Track

Students, have you ever wondered whether you have to leave your faith at the door when you come into work? You don’t! As Ellyn Shook, the Chief People Officer of the global accounting and advising firm Accenture, says: “Stop wondering if Faith is a workplace issue. It is.”

Come join us at the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s 2022 National Faith@Work Conference “Dare to Overcome” (May 23-25) in Washington, DC, at the Busch School of Business, to learn how employees at some of America’s best companies bring their whole selves to work, faith and all.

Students can register as regular individual participants and have the option to stay on the beautiful campus of The Catholic University of America, home to the Busch School of Business.

All faiths and beliefs are welcome!

Student Internship Opportunity

Alternatively, full student scholarships (including conference registration, on-campus room and board, but not including travel) are available for students volunteering for “Dare to Overcome Fortune 500 Service Internships”. Interns will:

  • – Arrive on May 22 for special orientation and networking.
  • – Be part of welcome teams, staff meet-and-greet tables, and serve as VIP hosts for company representatives and speakers.
  • – Attend most sessions and learn how people of all backgrounds are able to bring their whole selves to work — faith and all — and what a huge difference that makes in workplace engagement, satisfaction and success.
  • – Have enhanced networking opportunities with businesses, speakers and other student leaders.
  • – Receive Dare to Overcome Fortune 500 Service Internship Certificate upon successful completion at the closing lunch on March 25.
  • – Be part of the pool for future opportunities to participate with RFBF and its partners.

To apply:

  1. Download and complete the application form and share this with the professor who will be writing a recommendation for you.
  2. – Have your professor or advisor email a letter of recommendation to RFBF’s Melissa Grim:
  3. – Email your completed application form to RFBF’s Melissa Grim:
  4. – Deadline: April 22, 2022 (early applications encouraged)

If you’d like to support a student intern, you can donate here.

Highlights from 2020 Conference (short student testimony at 1:45)

Ford Motor Company joins as sponsor of Dare to Overcome

13 Apr, 2022

Breaking News (EIN)

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation is pleased to announce today that the Ford Interfaith Network, a Ford Motor Company employee resource group, 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.

“I’m thrilled to have Ford come on board as a Gold Sponsor of Dare to Overcome,” said RFBF President Brian Grim. “Their Ford Interfaith Network employee resource group has been operating for more than 20 years and played an instrumental role bringing interfaith understanding during challenging times. I’m looking forward to the panel they are putting together for Dare to Overcome showcasing how people of different faiths are allies of one another within their company and the communities they serve!”

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 Ford Interfaith Network strives to assist our Company and colleagues in becoming worldwide leaders in promoting religious inclusion and understanding, corporate integrity, and human dignity,” said Samah Affara, Chairperson of the Ford Interfaith Network. “We strive to ensure our colleagues have the freedom and comfort in bringing their whole selves to work, expressing their faith in God, in an appropriate and meaningful way, while promoting religious understanding and mutual respect.”

“This led us to a collaboration with Dr. Brian Grim and to sponsor and participate in the 2022 Dare to Overcome Conference,” Affara said.

* American Airlines is the global partner and official airline of Dare to Overcome. The Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America is co-host of Dare to Overcome 2022.

Dare to Overcome – A Terrific Opportunity to Connect In Person

12 Apr, 2022

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

Part of the blog series, Authenticity & Connection

You’re going to hear more in coming weeks about the upcoming blockbuster conference Dare to Overcome by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF). This short column will introduce one new feature of this year’s conference that we’re calling a “Human Library.”

The testimonials of attendees at previous RFBF conferences are fantastic and compelling. The speakers have been wonderfully qualified, deeply insightful and riveting. Also, many who attended in-person in 2020 were moved by what they learned from and the relationships they forged with other attendees, including people of varied faiths. Muslims and Jews, atheists and Baptists, Sikhs and Hindus, agnostics and Buddhists met, connected and engaged significantly on the topic of faith and life at work.

This year, we want to amplify opportunities for that kind of person-to-person connection. Our goal with the Human Library is to advance personal and authentic cross-faith, cross-cultural engagement. It’s a non-threatening way to learn and build bridges in a manner that follows the teachings of our respective faiths.

The 30-minute Human Library event will take place on the second day, after our speakers have sown a lot of thoughtful ideas. We’ll provide some suggested questions in advance for this interaction, including:

  1. (1) How does your faith relate to your personal identity – who you are?
  2. (2) What principles taught by your faith relate directly to the conduct of your work?
  3. (3) What does your faith teach about authority, teamwork, serving and work relationships?
  4. (4) Other relevant facts about the other’s faith, such as the meaning behind their main religious holidays, clothing, diet, schedule, etc.

If you’d like to suggest standard questions for this activity, we’d love to see them in advance! Contact In any case, feel free to explore any questions you have!

To help match participants, we’ll ask registrants to identify the top three religions/belief systems they’d most like to engage with, and we’ll do our best to accommodate those wishes. Multiple participants may be assigned together with a person of a particular faith; and some will be one to one. (We’re learning on the logistics of this; so bear with us.)

For these encounters, we ask that participants focus on learning. The human Library is not intended to be a forum for convincing others to convert. That said, we encourage participants to look for common ground, and not to shy away from learning about differences.

We won’t put anyone on the spot. If you’d just like to spectate in one of the sessions, tell us. If you’re pleased to share about your faith, tell us. In any case, this is entirely voluntary.

Email me at if you’d like to participate!

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!

Upcoming Events

9 Apr, 2022

DEI has become a priority of companies across the world, and for good reason. There is a clear business case for building effective DEI initiatives in the workplace. But what about faith and belief? Are they part of DEI? How should faith and belief be addressed at work?

Paul Lambert, Senior Business Fellow at the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, is a leading expert on the role of faith and belief in the workplace. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies across the country to build faith and belief accommodation within DEI.

In this Apr. 13 webinar, hosted by Partners Personnel, Paul will discuss what the data says about faith and belief in the workplace and share best practices and tools used by many of the world’s most successful companies. REGISTER TODAY

Phoenix (Apr. 21)

Learn about the positive power faith and religion have on business and the economy. Our expert panel will share how their organizations are using Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to recognize and allow people of faith to gather, discuss and honor their faith, at work.

Come hear a powerful discussion about how large businesses are embracing and being religiously inclusive at work. This panel, hosted by the BYU Management Society of Phoenix, will be lead by Dr. Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation (RFBF).  He will be joined by:

  • — May Mowzoon, Associate Director Patent and Transaction Law at Intel, Chandler, AZ
  • — Craig Carter, Product Manager, Analytics Systems, Team/Corp Culture Advocate. Leader at Intel in Chandler, AZ
  • — Fr. Greg Mc Brayer, Chief Flight Controller at American Airlines, chaplain, and bi-vocational priest in the Anglican Church

Bring questions to understand how they are doing it and how you can introduce this in your organization. REGISTER TODAY

Finally, if you’re interested to learn more about the faith@work diversity movement, join us in person at our May 23-25 Dare to Overcome annual faith@work ERG conference and awards.

Dare to Overcome’s theme is “Better Together,” which we mean in all senses of that phrase. With our partner, American Airlines, we hope you can join us in-person.

In a polarized age, more than 9-in-10 agree!

6 Apr, 2022

by Brian Grim

Republicans, Democrats, young, old, black, white, religious, non-religious, all agree. The Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have them do unto you — is a necessary part of their lives.

The 2022 Deseret-Marist “Faith in America” poll found that treating others as they themselves would like to be treated is a necessary ethic. In other words, Americans agree that putting others first is necessary.

This is the exact message of our upcoming Dare to Overcome national faith@work ERG conference. It’s not about claiming what’s best for me, but it’s about standing up for what’s best for my neighbor.

If you share this same spirit (92% do, according to the poll), please join us in Washington DC this May 23-25 to be inspired by how people of all faiths and beliefs are putting the Golden Rule to practice in their workplaces.

BTW: April 5th was officially Golden Rule Day (see post from Amb. Mussie Hailu). But given the poll’s findings, isn’t every day?!

Message for the Celebration of the Golden Rule Day – April 5, 2022

5 Apr, 2022

Message from Ambassador Mussie Hailu* of URI, a partner of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Dear Colleagues,

As we are celebrating the Golden Rule Day on April 5, I want to present you greetings of peace and blessings on behalf of members of United Religions Initiative (URI) from all over the world and want to say to our Muslim brothers and Sisters, Ramadan Kareem.

For a culture of peace, inter-religious & inter-cultural harmony, respect among nations, human dignity and social justice to prevail on Earth, it is high time to promote the teaching of the Golden Rule throughout the world and introduce it in the school curriculum as part of education for peace.

Our wellbeing increasingly depends on how well we interact and live together with others based on the teaching of the Golden Rule which says “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

In this interrelated world we need the Golden Rule more than ever as it is a fundamental human value needed today as the basis for peaceful co-existence, Compassion, Social Justice and Human Dignity.

To treat others like we want to be treated requires a constant active consideration of how our words and actions affect others. By putting this time-honored principle into daily practice, and asking our friends, families and leaders to do the same, we can work toward creating a greater understanding,  respect for one another and promote  a culture of peace and interfaith harmony.

The Golden Rule will help us to appreciate both our differences and the common values that bind us to one another. It helps us to recognize pluralism and respect diversity.

As you know our shrinking “global village” is evolving into a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society and in this interconnected world, the peoples of all nations are our close neighbors and our well being increasingly depends on how well we interact and live together based on the teaching of the Golden Rule as the Golden Rule is the roadmap to build peaceful co-existence, social cohesion, harmony, human dignity and secure a better future for this generation and generation yet to come.

Among the many reasons why we need to celebrate the Golden Rule Day and live accordingly every day in our life and pay due attention for the teaching of the Golden Rule is because:

  • – It calls us to extend our concern beyond ourselves and to embrace a greater understanding and respect for others
  • – It is the roadmap for inter-religious and inter-cultural harmony
  • – It is the pathway for peaceful co-existence, harmony, equality and promoting human right, mutual respect, dignity, compassion and unity in diversity
  • – It is affirmed in many religions, traditions, indigenous cultures and secular philosophies as a fundamental principle of life and the foundation on which a global ethic is founded
  • – It is a universal message which is accepted throughout the world
  • – Its message is simple, universal and powerful
  • – It is the most prevalent and universal moral principle in human history
  • – It summarizes the basic teaching of compassion, non-violence, respect, and honoring the dignity of all living beings.
  • – It is the best guide we have to help peoples of the world to live together in mutual respect and harmony
  • – It is a way to disarm fear, to open the world for better change and to lay the foundations for lasting peace
  • – It is a preventive mechanism and antidote to discrimination, disrespect, greedy, violence, crime, hate speech and incitement which leads to war and the violation of human right
  • – It is the best way to counter violent extremism, radicalization and xenophobia
  • – It transcends our differences and encourages us to consider the well-being of all life forms on Earth and it helps to recognize pluralism and respect diversity

It is with this in mind that, in 2007, the United Religions Initiative-Africa and Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI) a URI CC based in Ethiopia declared April 5 as a “Golden Rule Day” and called upon all citizens of the world, religious leaders, Mayors, heads of state, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, interfaith organizations, schools, higher learning institutions, the business community, civil society and all other stakeholders to join URI-Africa and IPI in proclaiming April 5 as Golden Rule Day and to live accordingly to make this world a better and peaceful for all. I am so happy to inform you that since then about 900 organizations in 170 countries have joined us in proclaiming the Golden Rule Day. Since 2007 more than 4 million copies of the Golden Rule poster have been distributed throughout the world by URI-Africa.

In addition to this, in 2007 we also started the Golden Rule Goodwill Ambassador program to highlight and promote the Golden Rule. Since 2007 every year we honor individuals or organizations who set a good example for the teaching of the Golden Rule with the Golden Rule Medal, Plague and appoint them as a Goodwill Ambassador of Golden Rule.

For new ways to unfold before us, for tears to bathe wounds of war, for hatred to soften into harmony, for greed to turn to generosity each of us need to be the change we want to see in the world and live according to the teaching of the Golden Rule as world peace is only possible when we start to make peace within ourselves, our families and in our respective communities.

As citizens of the world, we need to open our hearts and minds to understand the uniqueness of each one of us and to pour out the spirit of love, compassion, forgiveness and living for the sake of other so that our hearts will open more and our minds will understand the depth of our call as human being living in the 21st century. We need to avoid violence in all its forms and stand up for a culture of peace by making the Golden Rule the first article of our faith and the last article of our creed.

Each of us needs to commit ourselves as best as we can to become nonviolent and to make personal pledges to peace and to be instruments of peace.

Let us walk the talk by taking practical action and live according to the principle of Golden Rule in our daily life.

Let us support the initiative of Karen Armstrong “Charter for Compassion” which is the base for the Golden Rule.

May Peace, Golden Rule and Compassion Prevail in our Heart, Mind, Family, Community, Country and the World.

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

In peace and gratitude,

  • Amb. Mussie Hailu
  • Director of Global Partnership &
  • Representative to African Union & United Nations
  • Regional Director for Africa
  • United Religions Initiative

* Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peace builder who is working at national, regional and international level in promoting a culture of peace, the teaching of the Golden Rule, reconciliation, interfaith & inter-cultural harmony, human dignity, disarmament, compassion for animals, building right human relationship, constructive dialogue, environmental protection and building bridges for international cooperation for the common good of all humanity and Mother Earth. Currently he serves as Director of Global Partnership and Representative of the United Religions Initiative to the United Nations and the African Union.

12 best practices for Ramadan at work

2 Apr, 2022

Quoted from: Neil Payne, A best-practice guide for HR professionals on how to support employees observing Ramadan in 2022. HRZone – 21st Mar 2022

In 2022, Ramadan will begin on 2nd April and end on 1st May (depending on moon sightings).

  1. 1. Establish when Ramadan is approaching and who this could affect at work. Muslims will not mind if asked about the upcoming month and without having to be direct, one should be able to know whether or not they will be fasting.

  2. 2. Ensure all staff that work with Muslim colleagues are aware of what fasting entails and how this could impact someone. Fasting 17 hours a day is not easy and colleagues need to appreciate how this can translate into behaviour and working practices.

  3. 3. If shift work is the norm, look at any changes that can be made to offer those fasting the opportunity to swap shifts or change their working hours in a way that suits all parties.

  4. 4.For those in 9-5 roles, consider flexitime options for start and finish times. See if allowances can be made for people to work lunch hours and breaks in return for an earlier finish. Given the current circumstances, with many employees working from home, it should be easier for employers to allow greater flexibility for Muslim employees who are fasting.

  5. 5. Asking a Muslim to attend a lunch meeting or a Friday ‘wind-down’ drinks party (even if it is an online video meetup) demands a lot of them. Many may politely agree, as will many decline. Be understanding of those that do not feel comfortable sitting and watching people eat and drink.

  6. 6. Make special allowances for Muslims to take a break at sunset to break their fast if they are front-line workers and still happen to be on shift. This needs to be ample time to break their fast, pray and then eat properly.

  7. 7. If your organisation has a canteen for workers, try and arrange for some meals to be saved for people fasting so they are not left choice less at the end of their day.

  8. 8. Avoid booking in meetings for the afternoon. If high concentration levels are needed from people, don’t expect this after lunchtime. Use the morning when people are still relatively fresh.

  9. 9. Do not expect people to commit to evening events, even if they are just online video meetups. The evenings are dedicated to eating, prayers and potentially virtual gatherings within the family and wider community.

  10. 10. Be prepared for people to take between 1-5 days holiday at the end of Ramadan to celebrate Eid. This has the emotional equivalent to Christmas and is the one time of the year whole families and neighbourhoods usually get together to share presents and good food, however it is likely to be a very different celebration this year due to the pandemic.

  11. 11. For fasting team members who are working remotely, work out time differences and how their daily routine will impact you in terms of meetings, deadlines, SLAs, etc.

  12. 12. Try and use Ramadan as a platform for greater understanding and improving team dynamics. Why not throw a virtual or in-person iftar one evening and allow people to share a part of their lives with colleagues?

Religious diversity: Corporate obstacle? Or asset? (RNS)

1 Apr, 2022

Some US companies are embracing religious diversity as good for people and for business.

April 1, 2022 | Kathryn Post | RNS

(RNS) — For decades, there has been an unspoken ban on religious discussion in the workplace. And no wonder: Deeply held beliefs, not to mention religious dress or practices, can become a powder keg in corporate lunchrooms no less than at family gatherings.

But thanks to the nation’s expanding religious diversity and the recent surge in workplace diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, the business world’s unofficial taboo on religion might be waning. A growing contingent of businesses have begun talking about religion as an asset, rather than a divider.

Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, told Religion News Service that “every week” he hears from a new Fortune 100 company asking how to approach religious diversity in the workplace. “There’s been a massive change in the past three to five years in some of the world’s biggest and best companies towards embracing religion as part of their overall diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives,” said Grim.

(read full article on RNS)

Workshop: Faith and Belief at Work: A Liability or an Asset? What the Fortune 100 Companies Think!

31 Mar, 2022

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion® 34th Annual Conference “Solving for X: Tackling Inequities in a World of Unknowns” Registration Now Open

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The Forum on Workplace Inclusion® (The Forum) at Augsburg University has opened registration for its 34th annual conference “Solving for X: Tackling Inequities in a World of Unknowns.” The Forum’s annual conference will take place on April 5 – 7, 2022. This year’s conference will be entirely virtual through the online conference platform Pathable.

On April 6, at 12:45-2:15 PM, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s Brian Grim and Paul Lambert will lead the workshop Faith and Belief at Work: A Liability or an Asset? What the Fortune 100 Companies Think!

Whether agnostic, atheist, or religious, faith, belief, or conscience is the heart of every employee. Data shows that employees who feel free to live and work according to their core belief identity demonstrate higher levels of innovation, creativity, and loyalty to their organization. Many of the Fortune 100 companies have recognized this reality and are taking action to become more faith- and belief-friendly workplaces.

Through analytical skills practice, building knowledge necessary to operate in a belief-diverse context, and using examples from Fortune 100 companies that are leading the way, this session will enable participants to understand the components of an inclusive mindset and an accommodating workplace environment. Many struggle to know what faith and belief accommodation looks like for employees, but there are simple and cost-effective ways to accommodate.

The session will include interactive exercises and concrete tools for application in the workplace!

Learning Outcomes

• Comprehend how faith and belief of employees impact a workplace environment

• Identify and understand components of a workplace of accommodation regarding faith and belief

• Develop skills and techniques to counter workplace discrimination and encourage accommodation

Registration and fee required.

“Ordinary Workers” — Some Thoughts Sparked by a Marketplace Ministry for Microsoft (MMFM)’s March Wisdom Meeting

29 Mar, 2022

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

Part of the blog series, Authenticity & Connection (category: Who)

Off-the-cuff Q&A sessions with representatives of faith-based employee resource groups invariably spur profitable thought. A recent virtual event with people from Microsoft Corporation on “The Changing DEI Landscape” (see HERE) was no exception.

[The perspectives shared in the video are those of the individual participants and for general information, and not official statements of Microsoft; they are not intended as legal advice].

Today I’d like to focus and expand on just one of the questions raised in this session: the crucial role of what I’ll call “Ordinary Workers.”

Julia Oltmanns (Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Services at Zurich Resilience Solutions) and I shared real-life stories of how (and why) faith-oriented Employee Resource Groups are springing up in more and more companies. Leadership is a big factor. It’s important that the organization’s top leaders clearly communicate that they believe their employee’s core personal principles and beliefs are relevant to the company’s mission and vision, and that they want their people to bring their whole selves, faith and all, to work. A bold, principled HR Department also helps. But more is needed. The real catalyst of breakthrough connections, and the engine for the faith at work movement, is the “ORDINARY” WORKER.

I’ve written about The Power of “Ordinary” Workers Applying their Core Beliefs (HERE) in a blog focused on ethics and legal compliance. Today I’ll focus on what some might consider “softer” things; but considerations which can have huge significance for both the organization and the individuals. In so doing I’ll build on specific points made in the session with Microsoft.

A particularly poignant TED talk titled “Everyday Leadership” by Drew Dudley (HERE) illustrates this point about ordinary interactions among ordinary people. Drew tells how he learned after the fact that, in a seemingly trivial, fleeting gesture, it turned out that he profoundly impacted the trajectory of life for someone at his college. His story grippingly illustrates the fact that we never really know the impact we ordinary people may be having as we navigate simple interactions in everyday life. Our action need not involve a courageous spiritual stand to have powerful positive effect.

“Everyday Leadership (The Lollipop Moment),” was voted one of the 15 most inspirational TED talks of all time, and one of the top seven talks to make you a better leader, according to Business Insider.

Who makes Corporate Culture? I’d submit that the fabric of mutual trust, respect and warmth is woven stitch by stitch, day by day, in myriad person-to-person interactions by “ordinary workers” up and down the reporting chain. Vocal support from the C-Suite is wonderful; but the real work of culture takes place in the engagement of relationships in the context of teamwork, among people of diverse faiths and beliefs. It’s in that everyday, grassroots sphere that authentic connection and reconciliation can emerge.

Some worry that giving leeway to people of faith at work might spawn expressions of bigotry and hatred, as “religious people” try to push their beliefs on unwilling coworkers. Doesn’t freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) lead to conflict? The answer is no. Our experience with scores of multinational companies that have set the stage for civility and mutual respect is the exact opposite. Sure, there are occasional clinkers, but they’re very rare. The fears are way overblown.

FoRB is a far wider principle than ‘just” freedom to express one’s theology (though it includes that). When we say that our employees’ faith and beliefs MATTER and are relevant and welcome at the company, we cannot mean that their theologies are all equivalent or equally valid. Rather, we’re saying that they’re helpful to facilitate authentic, trusting interpersonal connections and friendships that benefit the workplace. Many theological claims are mutually exclusive. What we are saying is that FoRB is not only (or even primarily) about people expressing their diverse core principles and beliefs. If the focus is first and primarily on convincing others that the speaker is right about certain spiritual things – and that “they” are wrong – we’ll fail to truly connect and understand one another; and possibilities for meaningful connections will be derailed.

Rather, true FoRB entails a culture that promotes listening, deeply, to those with whom one may disagree significantly; and respecting and valuing the other person as a human being even when fundamental disagreement remains. It entails treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated.

My main point with this column is that a title of President or Vice President is not needed in order to have significant positive impact. These are complex and weighty topics and multi-faceted relationships, but they’re not beyond the capabilities of our people. Profound connections and reconciliations are being effectuated in workplaces among “ordinary” workers today. They’re weaving a fabric of civility that’s profound and, I’d argue, world-changing.

Skeptics: THANK YOU for reading this far. If you’re still apprehensive about unleashing FoRB in your workplace, I’d ask you to step back and observe some of the Ordinary Workers who are profoundly engaging across the spectrum of beliefs in companies that embrace this principle. You’ll be surprised. Even after all I’ve seen, I’m amazed and deeply encouraged every time I observe what’s going on in companies like Microsoft, Intel, American Airlines, Texas Instruments and Zurich. It’s possible. And it’s happening today among Ordinary Workers.