Strategic Employee Resource Group (ERG) Leaders Drive Success and Innovation through the 2023 Center for Effective Organizations (CEO) Awards Program

January 5, 2024

Center for Effective Organizations (CEO), University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business
Jennifer Sparks-Taylor
(213) 740-9814

Release Date:
January 3, 2024

Strategic Employee Resource Group (ERG) Leaders Drive Success and Innovation through the 2023 Center for Effective Organizations (CEO) Awards Program

LOS ANGELES, Ca., Jan 3, 2024

The 2023 in-person and virtual Strategic ERG Leadership Summit, hosted by presenting sponsor Ecolab, and sponsored by Amazon, Bank of America, General Mills, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Experian, Securian Financial, AARP, Brave New Outpost, The University of Alabama, Diversity Women Media, DiversityComm, Inclusion Magazine, eePulse and StartUp Wind, shared contestant award videos during its September 27 and 28 virtual Summit. The virtual Summit followed the August 3-4 in-person Summit in St. Paul / Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Strategic ERG Leadership Summit was started in 2011 by Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business’ Center for Effective Organizations (CEO) to spearhead research and learning on the state of employee resources groups (ERGs) and their impact on individual and organizational outcomes. Discovering a significant gap in academic research and rigorous learning, the first Summit, hosted by Mattel, started a large-scale program to create new knowledge and data-driven learning about ERGs.

As part of the annual Summit, CEO has sponsored success sharing activities and virtual innovation challenges. This year, the two challenges were combined and offered attendees the opportunity to compete by either sharing an ERG success story or by describing a new and innovative idea to further the positive impact of ERGs in their organization.

Each team submitted a 3-minute video presenting their challenge submission and was then judged by a team of non-participant individuals, with points given based on the criteria listed on the Summit website. As a result, the following teams placed and won the competition.

Innovation Challenge

First Place – Danny Ngo, Engaging and Developing Associates Through Podcasts, Ecolab
Second Place – Kevin Sakamoto, ERGs and University Advocacy, Dollar Shave Club
Third Place – tied 1) CJ Casuto, Thrive-The ERG YouTube Channel, Mission Critical Partners, and 2) Shwetha Vijayakumar, Ecolab ACE and HACER Podcast Series, Ecolab

Success Sharing

First Place –  Danielle Plantz, nVent Site Sustainability Initiative, nVent
Second Place (tied) – 1) Nicole Delaney-Johnson, Business Acumen Professional Development Series, Ecolab 2) Rosana Juestel, Implementing a new Employee Resource Group (ERG) Management Solution, Amtrak
Third Place – Danny Ngo, Advancing Practices and Resources to Drive an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Workplace, Ecolab

Congratulations to all of the participants of the challenges as they are helping grow new knowledge and learning in the ERG community — a special thank you to: Lavasia McMillion, Ecolab’s Juneteenth Celebration & Success of the ERG Ecossence Ecolab, Shwetha Vijayakumar, Living in US Playbook, Ecolab, TK Fayne, Amazon Black Employee Network – BEN, Amazon, Christopher Johnson, CHS Veterans Employee Resource Group, CHS, Gabriela Pace, Ecomondo, and Lauren Morrow.

CEO is dedicated to fostering knowledge exchange and is doing so by inviting individuals to join its ERG Community platform at no cost, where the winning presentations are readily accessible. To request access, please email Jennifer Sparks-Taylor at This will provide access to the winning videos and other resources that benefit the larger ERG community, like the Learn and Connect series, featuring speakers and topics critical for today’s ERG leaders and executives who work with them.

The next annual Strategic ERG Leadership Summit, hosted by Ecolab again in 2024 and held July 16-17, 2024, in St. Paul / Minneapolis, MN, is part of the larger ERG Project, which is the over-arching initiative that houses all the ERG research, seminars and executive education work, focuses on expanding learning through data-driven methodologies focused on ways ERGs impact individuals and organizations.  Learn more here.

About CEO
The Center for Effective Organizations (CEO) is world-renowned for its breakthrough research and insights on organizational performance, effectiveness, and talent management. CEO has been at the forefront of research on ERGs, since 2009, including the business impact they have on complex and newer or smaller organizations.

About Ecolab
A trusted partner for millions of customers, Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) is a global sustainability leader offering water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services that protect people and the resources vital to life. Building on a century of innovation, Ecolab has annual sales of $14 billion, employs more than 47,000 associates and operates in more than 170 countries around the world. The company delivers comprehensive science-based solutions, data-driven insights and world-class service to advance food safety, maintain clean and safe environments, and optimize water and energy use. Ecolab’s innovative solutions improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, life sciences, hospitality and industrial markets.


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