Since its inception in 2019, the OutLoud@CRA employee resource group (ERG) has sought to empower our LGBTQI+ team members and their allies by providing a forum to collaborate, share and ideate—with the goal of ensuring that our firm continues to be a welcoming place for all.
While we have ambitious plans for 2023 (more on those in a bit), we wanted to highlight the significant accomplishments OutLoud@CRA has achieved over the last 12 months. From increased membership and engagement to guest speakers and other galvanizing events, there’s certainly much to celebrate.
Looking Back …
In 2022, membership in OutLoud@CRA increased fourfold. More impressive still, we saw a jump across our practice areas and leadership levels, with everyone from junior associates to VPs and practice leaders joining the group.
Given the rise in membership, we decided to fine-tune our governance structure by establishing ERG co-chairs by geography; bringing on a new executive sponsor (Robert Broadnax, Vice President, Life Sciences Practice); and establishing an official charter document that further outlines the ERG’s goals and guidelines.
We also hosted several events aimed at increasing OutLoud@CRA’s exposure and reach. In May, we broadcast a firmwide informational session to show CRA team members how our ERG is helping give LGBTQI+ colleagues more of a voice and strengthen our firm’s culture.
… With Pride
In honor of Pride Month (June), we hosted a screening of “The Freedom to Marry,” a 2016 documentary that explores the history and impact of the marriage equality movement. Attended by dozens of employees from across our practice areas, the event was a huge success—and even included a Q&A session with Evan Wolfson, a gay-rights advocate and founder of Freedom to Marry.
We saw also saw a fantastic turnout for our National Coming Out Day (NCOD) event, with more than 50 members coming together to enhance awareness of NCOD, strengthen mutual understanding between LGBTQI+ colleagues and allies, and support the firm’s efforts in promoting inclusivity among LGTBQI+ colleagues and allies.
Other events and initiatives included:
- Participating in the Research and Analysis Core Marketplace at our Chicago, D.C., London, and Boston offices.
- Hosting multiple meet-and-greets and happy hour events.
- Sponsoring “Pull for Pride,” a fundraising effort where weightlifters solicit donations to help promote LGBTQI+ equality.
Enhancing our online/virtual presence and awareness through LinkedIn.
Looking ahead to 2023, our foremost goal is to build on the momentum of the past year: encouraging more team members to join OutLoud@CRA through events that inform and inspire, while strengthening our outreach and collaboration efforts.
One area we’re looking to allocate more time and resources to is the firm’s recruitment and development efforts—specifically when it comes to LGBTQI+ candidates and employees. Whether it’s participating in more conferences or working with our sister ERGs (Women@CRA and Mosaic@CRA) to host more joint events, our goal will be to bring even more team members into the fold.
Other proposed initiatives for 2023 include:
- Bolstering our ability to forge internal and external partnerships through things like allyship training.
- Enhancing our civic and community engagement efforts.
- Promoting greater education and awareness around LGBTQI+ issues among CRA employees.
We’re deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past year—and even more excited about what the future holds. The dynamic that OutLoud@CRA has created is a mutually reinforcing one: The more events and initiatives we create, the more value our LGBTQI+ team members will receive. The more members we bring on, the more ideas we’ll generate for future programming.
We are always looking for ways to take OutLoud@ERG to the next level and welcome any feedback or suggestions you might have. Whether you’re part of the LGBTQI+ community, an ally, or simply want to do what you can to help make CRA’s culture as diverse and dynamic as possible, we are all part of a broad community working to be welcoming to all.