By Claudia Galvan
I joined my first affinity group more than 10 years ago. I was working for a large global company in Silicon Valley and there was a culture that embraced and celebrated diversity. Before I knew it, I was part of the Latino group and the Women’s group. I dived in, participating in events with later getting more and more involved, this took me to leadership roles that allowed me to have a global impact.
Fast forward to today, I am a believer of diversity and inclusion and the power of interest groups. These ERGs, as some companies refer to Employee Resource Groups are the oil that greases the engine in the organization. It is the social fabric where people with common backgrounds and interests converge.
At SWE we are very fortunate to have eight Affinity Groups: Latino, African-American, Native American, LGBTQ, Small Companies, Entrepreneurs, Women in Government and Global Engineers. These groups help build community, provide professional development opportunities and empower and celebrate women from different paths of life.
Working with these groups during the last year, it was clear that there were natural synergies around the groups. The groups that were centered around social minorities and groups centered around business and social interests. After some discussion, we have decided to split the affinity groups into Diversity & Inclusion and Interest Groups to better serve these communities starting in FY19.
Diversity & Inclusion
The Latinos, African-American, Native American and LGBTQ groups will move under the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Affinity Group. This will allow to focus on the needs of social minority populations and develop programs tailored to serve this community.
The Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Women in Government and Global Engineers will move under the newly formed Interest Groups Affinity Group. The focus of these groups is loosely centered around the members’ business environment and experiences.
All SWE members are invited to join the Affinity Groups that align with their background and interests and yes, you can participate in more than one group! The best way to learn about what is happening in the AGs is to join the Facebook communities...just request permission to join:
This change is very exciting, we believe there will be more focus on the specific needs and will allow us to further scale. We are in the process of recruiting leads and co-leads for some positions, please feel free to contact me, Claudia Galvan, AG Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.