Conversations of Hope, Heart, and the Human Spirit

with Katie Oertli Mooney


Hummingbird Humanity videos now with captioning.

In this episode, Brian and Katie cover. . .

  • How to create a company diversity strategy
  • Compensation for employee resource group leaders
  • Experiences of Asian Americans in the workplace

      Many workplaces want to start or refresh their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, but do not know where to start. Katie will tell you to. . .

      Set Realistic Goals

             Work with Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion practitioners to set realistic goals. Establish a timeline along with a tangible goal as opposed to “we just want to be a more equitable workplace this year.” A company wide-goal should appear more like “we want to increase retention of employees who identify as parents by 30% by 2025.” Goals must be achievable by a deadline and be measurable.

      Measure Progress

             Katie and Brian discussed tools for companies to use, such as Diversity Best Practice’s Inclusion Index to assess a company’s specific diversity strength and weakness targets; the McKinsey & Company and Lean. Orgs’ annual Women in the Workplace study to compare and grade gender equity standards in hundreds of the United States and Canada based companies across all industries; and the Human Rights Campaigns’ Corporate Equality Index to annually rate an organization’s level of LGTQ+ friendliness in their policies and practices.

      Create ERGs

             ERGs, ERGs, ERGs! These identity hubs are the heart of a company. ERGs build community and employee engagement. ERGs, especially ERG leaders, can contribute valuable skills to the overall business. ERGs can support the bottom line by tapping into diverse companies and markets, provide insight into employee needs, and on many occasions produce solutions to these needs. 

             As ERG leaders may come from historically exploited backgrounds, it is vital to not perpetuate further exploitation. Reward your ERG leaders. ERG leaders should have their ERG participation factored into performance reviews and given clear pathways to upward mobility. 

             Other compensation activities include JPMorgan & Chase’s Star Program where an ERG leader can be peer-nominated quarterly to either receive $500 as well as a gift up to 25 nominated ERG leaders with an all-inclusive employee vacation. Or Merrill Lynch’s program that awards ERG leaders thousands of dollars to a charity of their choice. All to show there are a plethora of creative ways to compensate ERG leaders.

        Leaning Into Humanity

        Companies are looking for ways to empower BIPOC employees in the workplace

               Companies are looking for ways to empower BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) employees in the workplace. However, due to the model minority myth imposed on the Asian American community, this group can become ignored in company race work. Here is Katie’s take on debunking the model minority myth: 

        “We have this Asian community that is very successful, they have been able to assimilate, and become this model minority in our society. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have immigrants still learning the language, who are not able to get the same privileges and benefits. And what happens is as a culture we try to fit and mold folks together like we are one because it is easier for us to do. Easier to share a story that is similar and makes logical sense. But we still really have to acknowledge that this position of power still has different implications for many of us as Asian Americans. So whether we are in corporate America and are the senior leaders, our micro-aggressions and bias’ we experience are going to be so different than of course what others are experiencing when they are truly seen as foreigners or as outsiders to this country. And so it is important for us as we continue with our own story in society that we are continuing to acknowledge the true diversity of the Asian community.”

                  Katie Oertli Mooney walks through life by honoring her diversity story at Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media that gives advice to mid to large sized organizations about producing effective diversity strategies. Katie’s ability to tap into her experiences as a Korean-American woman, a child of transracial adoption, a proud child of a gay father, and the wife of a Black-Korean man along with her strong acumen in organizational change makes her a perfect asset to her team as the Senior Director of Global Membership Advisory Services.

                  Katie has built trust with 50+ member organizations, which she challenges to check their internal barriers to diversity work and to embark on efforts to empower their employee resource group (ERG) communities. In a world where so many have questions around diversity, equity, and inclusion, Katie has answers.