To kick off our celebration of Black History Month, we wanted to take some time this week to highlight our new employee resource group BEST, which stands for Black Employee Support Team. It was officially launched last September and is one of several Gas South groups voluntarily led by employees to offer support and help foster diversity and inclusion.
BEST serves as a safe space for those who identify as African American or who are connected through heritage to the African Diaspora. And it’s a space for their allies. Participation as a member is open to any employee, regardless of background. The group’s aim is to build relationships and elevate the employee experience through dialogue, problem solving and support. And we’re all proud to have such a wonderful new resource for employees.
Earlier this week, we sat down with a few of the BEST leaders to get their perspective. Here’s what they had to say:
What made all of you want to get involved with BEST, and why is it important to have a resource group like this?
To be honest, I wasn’t aware Gas South was creating a resource group for people of color and their allies. I was honored and humbled when I was asked to be a part of this initiative. I knew being a part of this group would allow me to support, connect and make the greatest impact on those involved, as well as within our communities. I believe it’s essential to create these types of groups within an organization to ensure employees feel heard, are valued and have a safe space to share their thoughts, concerns, challenges and/or successes.
I got involved with BEST because it allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone. Although I didn’t know much about ERGs (Employee Resource Groups), I was excited to try something new and learn more. I also loved the idea of being part of the “ground zero crew” who would help launch the very first black employee resource group here at Gas South. My final reason for getting involved was to help bring people together so we can have the conversations that will help us all grow together. It’s important for Gas South to have resource groups like BEST because they provide a safe place for employees, especially those who may feel like they’re different or not quite understood by everyone they encounter. Personally, I believe ERGs help people feel seen when they may feel overlooked.??
I took a few days to think about it before making the decision. It’s such an important initiative, and I wanted to ensure I’d be able to bring the level of care, thought and commitment to the role our members deserve. After giving it some thought, I realized this was the exact type of initiative I wanted to be part of bringing to pass at Gas South. Employee Resource Groups are extremely important initiatives within any organization. It’s one of the first signs of a company taking actionable steps to show how important the employee base is to that organization. Employee Resource Groups foster diversity and create a culture of inclusivity. They also bring a sense of belonging and acceptance to their membership and provide a safe space for employees who share commonalities. An ERG tends to have real life impact on any work environment. They can help source and develop potential leaders while also addressing challenges that often plague organizations when they don’t have the right resources in place. I’m excited that our leadership team at Gas South has decided that this is the right path to take for our employee base. I am sure we’ll see the benefits of this decision soon.
It was actually both a surprise and an honor when Stephon approached me about BEST. I was very excited to see Gas South was taking it to the next level, and that the leadership team was making an intentional effort to make sure Gas South is an inclusive place to work. ?With my experience as a former member of our Great Place to Work team, I thought I had a lot to contribute to BEST. ERGs are a good thing to have at Gas South or any company, as they provide peers with a safe space, enhanced wellbeing and stronger inclusivity. They build high-trust relationships that help employees flourish, and they increase employee retention.?
What have all of you enjoyed most about BEST so far, and what are you looking forward to with it??
I’ve enjoyed the engagement, events, collaboration, unity and the authentic spirits from all those involved so far. Our Wakanda Forever and Battle of the Bands Fanfest events have truly set the tone for our commitment to making the greatest impact. I look forward to more connections within the community, making a difference within Gas South which supports equity, and truly making a difference for our Customer Care Team.
I’ve enjoyed our strategic planning sessions the most. In these sessions, we try to generate ideas that will not only help us navigate this new space, but also connect that value to the Gas South way, while also being an authentic ERG. I’m looking forward to simply helping establish a platform where members can come together and feel safe while sharing and being their authentic selves. I enjoy reminding everyone that ERGs are fun groups where you can network, grow professionally and have serious or tough conversations.
To date, what I have enjoyed most about BEST is the collaboration with my peers, Stephon W., Rony S., Sheirra G., Aulona S. and Aisha D. It’s been amazing to work alongside this group. The level of passion, creativity and commitment they each bring to BEST is refreshing. I’ve also appreciated the tremendous amount of support we’ve received from our initial members and from the Gas South leadership team. I’m excited about what’s next for BEST.
It’s been a blessing and a privilege to have collaborated with folks like Olivia in Marketing and to work with leaders like Stephon, DeBerry, Aulana, Sheirra, and the Minister of Finance as our sponsor.
I look forward to seeing our projects come to completion and seeing more Gas South employees join and support us in our future endeavors.