“Representation is important in all facets of life, especially in the workplace,” says Alicia Middlebrooks, a vision-impaired professional who recently interned at Argo Group. “It makes you feel as though you are not alone and that you are valued, important and represented.”
At Argo Group, employees and leadership work together through Employee Resource Groups (ERG) to help everyone feel included. Below are some of the ways one ERG in particular, the Disabilities ERG, works to foster a culture of understanding, education and representation for employees of every unique ability and disability.
- Making the workplace more accessible. “We have influenced D&I policy in a multitude of ways,” says Jean Koester, AVP, Programs, and Chair of the Disabilities ERG. “We increase employees’ awareness and understanding of disabilities, explore workplace accommodations and provide a supportive, private environment for all employees to discuss disabilities.” She points to Argo’s use of closed captioning for companywide virtual events, as well as the caregiver policy, which provides support for employees caring for loved ones with disabilities or serious health conditions.
- Partnering with external disabilities advocates and organizations. The ERG’s impact extends beyond the company’s walls. “We sponsor speakers on a variety of subjects, such as autism, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, visual impairment and ADD/ADHD,” says Jean. “Each speaker was arranged by an ERG member who wanted the group to explore that topic.” Through the ERG and employee-led community initiatives, Argo also partners with the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visual Impaired (DBVI) and Guide Dogs of Texas, where the company sponsors guide dog trainees.
- Creating opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The partnership with DBVI led directly to Alicia’s internship at Argo. “The team at Argo Group has been phenomenal,” says Alicia. “I can honestly say that Argo was the first company I worked for that was so accommodating, accepting of my vision impairment and treated me with respect. They asked questions about ways they can make things easier for me and provided any additional things I needed to make sure I was able to do my job.”
Ready to join a company where everyone is included and given opportunities to make a difference? View job opportunities at Argo Group and discover the benefits of Employee Resource Groups.