Should You Take Part in an Employee Resource Group? This Leader Shares The Benefits of Joining

Sponsored by Sonepar USA

A group of employees. Image courtesy of Canva/Fairygodboss Staff.

A group of employees. Image courtesy of Canva/Fairygodboss Staff.

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Fairygodboss
April 13, 2024 at 1:7AM UTC

Karina Gomez an Operations Administrator at Crawford Electric, an electrical operating company within Sonepar, an independent family-owned corporation with global market leadership in B2B distribution of electrical products, solutions, and related services. Karina joined Crawford in 2021 after working as an interior designer at another company. Her diverse background is ideal for Crawford, a company that is striving for more diverse talent. 

 

Karina Gomez. Photo courtesy of Sonepar.

Sonepar associates represent all types of former experiences and different backgrounds. After all, the company is a member of the Sonepar Group, the world's largest electrical distributor, which serves the market through a network of 100 brands and 40 countries. It is important that Sonepar’s workforce reflects the diversity of their customers across the country.

This company-wide emphasis on diversity and inclusion empowered Karina to expand beyond working in operations. She now serves as the chapter liaison for Hispanos Unidos, an Hispanic employee resource group (ERG) within Sonepar.

“I learned about the group during an ERG information session,” she explains. “I asked the representatives if there was a chapter existing for my operating company, and if not, how could we start one? I secured a meeting with Selenah Njoloma, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director, and Gabino Martinez, the Hispanos Unidos president. I never asked, but I imagine it was my persistence that led them to ask if I wanted a seat on the Board of Directors for the group.”

Here, we caught up with her to learn more about the ERG and her involvement in it.

What have been the benefits of getting involved with your ERG?

Through my involvement in Hispanos Unidos, I had the opportunity to go to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Conference. There I met Emma Carasco, Senior Vice President of NBC News Group, and Cid Wilson, President and CEO of Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR). Emma Caracso encouraged us to follow our passions and find our unique advantages, but also to be mindful of ourselves. Cid Wilson inspired us to embrace ourselves as we are. Without Hispanos Unidos, I would have never had the chance to shake their hands and tell our stories.

What has the Hispanos Unidos team accomplished that you’re most proud of? 

I am very proud that the Hispanos Unidos team worked with our parent company, Sonepar USA, to translate our Benefits at a Glance documents in Spanish. These materials  break down what benefits our associates are offered through the company, the differences between medical plans, and how to access and utilize our provided resources.

What’s the #1 thing you think you colleagues should know — but probably don’t know — about the group? 

Hispanos Unidos is open for all ethnicities! Many people believe that you must be Hispanic to join the group; however, we encourage people of all backgrounds to join. We believe fostering a better understanding of our cultural backgrounds and experiences can provide opportunities for everyone involved.

What is your advice for women who want to make the company they work for more inclusive? 

I encourage women to ask their HR representatives for existing resources to make the workplace more inclusive and not to be afraid of pitching ideas. There are a variety of outside organizations with existing resources waiting to connect with companies who want to make a change.



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