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LLNL employees attend inaugural One enERGy Community DOE ERG Leadership Summit

enERGy Group Leadership Summit-GROUP (Download Image)

Leaders from across the DOE complex came together for the first ever two-day One enERGy Community Employee Resource Group Leadership Summit on Sept. 20-21. Photo credit: DOE.

Leaders from across the Department of Energy (DOE) complex voyaged to DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. for the first ever One enERGy Community DOE Employee Resource Group (ERG) Leadership Summit on Sept. 20-21. Representatives from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) joined DOE colleagues at the hybrid event.

The theme of the summit was “One enERGy Community.” It embodied the collective mission to unite as a diverse community of individuals, each bringing unique perspectives and experiences to the table and harnessing the power of ERGs to further diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives in the federal workforce. The hybrid event hosted lead ERG representatives and members, supporting management, and senior executives from DOE headquarters, national labs, sites and power marketing administrations across the DOE complex.

Shalanda Baker, director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at DOE, gave opening remarks and told attendees they are the lifeblood of equity for the agency and core to DOE’s mission to advance science and technology and make an impact on society.

“ERGs empower us to celebrate our differences and promote a culture of belonging and be a reflection of the entire workforce,” Baker said.

DOE Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm provided the keynote, saying the federal workforce should reflect the diversity of America and that we cannot afford to miss out on diverse talent. She thanked the ERGs for their devotion and acknowledged that the work can be exhausting, but that ERGs are vital and provide a place of safety.

LLNL provided support in the inaugural DOE ERG Summit through program development and implementation. “This landmark event was important for LLNL ERG leadership to attend and meet other like-minded leaders through national labs with the goal to communicate best practices, discuss issues, network and learn from each other,” said Tony Baylis, director of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Office at LLNL.

“Our Lab leaders were able to discuss how groups can grow, how they are governed, how they can overcome obstacles and learn how they can leverage DOE and national lab resource groups to positively impact employees and their respective organizations. For example, LLNL’s new Remote Worker and Hybrid ERG sparked an interest from multiple laboratories that wanted to learn more and find a way to incorporate a similar ERG into their suite of ERGs. It is our hope that each participant found the sessions and conversations meaningful.”

Baylis and Jenessa Angel, IDEA business operations specialist, were part of the planning committee for this historic event. This was the first event of its kind in DOE’s 45-year history, supporting DEIA Executive Order 14035 and ERGs as part of the Government-wide Strategy's Inclusion Roadmap. More than 400 DOE employees registered for the summit, and throughout the hybrid event, there were more than 150 in-person and 135 virtually engaged participants.

LLNL sent 13 employees to represent the Laboratory. Representatives from all 12 LLNL ERGs attended in-person or virtually.

enERGy Group Leadership Summit
From left to right: Chris Bishop, Darlene Yazzie, Catherine Amaya (DOE), Beatriz Cuartas (DOE), Octavio Cervantes, Jenessa Angel, Sara Novell, Lynda Tesillo, Tony Baylis, Michelle Wendt, Lily Forest, Lynn Villafuerte (DOE) and Anthony Pegues (DOE). Photo credit: Tony Baylis/LLNL.
 

“One of my main takeaways was that there is a lot of overlap between sites when it comes to the issues that ERGs face supporting their respective members,” said Jon Benjamin, LLNL’s small business program manager and leadership representative from the African Body of Laboratory Employees. “There is an opportunity to collaborate across sites to share best practices and collaborate on strategy at future events like this. It felt inspiring to be around colleagues from across the country who were dedicating time to work on a lot of the same issues that we also work on here at LLNL.

“Being amongst so many other DOE colleagues gave me the realization that we are all one team,” said Sara Novell, a mechanical engineer at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and co-chair of the development sub-committee for the Early Career Employee Resource Group. “There are so many of us in this organization, that it is hard to fathom how large our network is. I am inspired by my colleagues and I’m excited to see how deep our roots will continue to grow.”

“Personally, I got many new friends and important connections from across several National Labs,” said David Feng, a postdoctoral researcher at NIF and leadership representative from the Asian Pacific American Council. “More importantly, I got the reassuring impression that DOE cares about IDEA; at the internal level with both approval and support from the DOE Secretary herself. It was invigorating to see people from across all walks of life and structured, well-organized committees.”

“The summit showcased our desire to be connected and support each other towards success,” said Brytni Soto, training specialist in Physical and Life Sciences and co-chair of the Remote Worker and Hybrid Teams ERG. “I got so much out of the work that others are doing for their members and in their communities; it reaffirmed the importance of partnership and leveraging relationships for all of us to succeed in our efforts to propel IDEA efforts at LLNL and beyond.”

Attendees networked, received experiential learning opportunities, got tips on workforce well-being and engagement, listened to panelists (including the Lab’s Baylis), and received awards for ERG efforts. See photos of the summit here and the virtual agenda.

LLNL’s ERGs are a group of individuals associated with the Laboratory that come together connecting a diverse array of backgrounds, beliefs and experiences to LLNL’s culture and mission. ERGs foster a diverse and inclusive workplace that reaches out broadly to strengthen our community, and support LLNL’s vision, mission, values and goals. To get involved, join an ERG and learn about the Lab’s commitment in creating a diverse workforce and inclusive culture, visit idea.llnl.gov or contact the IDEA [at] llnl.gov (IDEA office) for more information.

-Gwen Pinkela and Abel Morelos