Comcast’s Maria Arias on Why You Should Join a Resource Group

Maria Arias, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion at Comcast Corporation, talks about getting involved in an employee resource group. “If you get involved in an ERG and get exposure, you never know where that next contact, connection, project or even potential career opportunity can be.”

By Maria Arias

It is important to raise your hand and to get involved. I have a close relationship with Tracey Giang who is a Director on our Workforce D&I Team. Not just a working relationship, she’s one of my mentees who I met through our ERG mentorship program. We met many years ago, and over time we’ve kept up our relationship. I learn as much from her, as she does from me, because when we meet, she’s a constant reminder of what I also need to do for my career.

If you want to be successful in your career, it’s not just about what the company does for you, but what you do as well. It’s a partnership between the company and employee. To me, it’s about taking control of your career.

The best way to create opportunities for yourself is not only to do a fantastic job at what you do, but to raise your hand and do other things. Becoming a member of at least one ERG is a great opportunity to develop your career, whether you’re a white male, LGBT, woman of color, or a veteran with a disability. We are all unique, some cross different communities, but we all have many potential intersections.

If you get involved in an ERG and get exposure, you never know where that next contact, connection, project or even potential career opportunity can be. For example, at our company, it can be on the Comcast side, with our Comcast Spectacor partners, or at NBCUniversal, or one of its many different business units. Our ERGs across the company work together.

Through the different ERGs, employees sometimes make career changes. A really great example of this is one of our female employees who migrated from a customer care role into a technician role. This is exactly what we want to see happen, because tech positions are predominantly male. Through involvement in the ERGs, our employees get exposure to different roles across the company. And, they start thinking bigger and broader about opportunities. We want them to do that. We want to keep our employees, and provide development opportunities.

Comcast has really grown as a company, from its beginnings as a single, small community antenna television system, to now being one of the largest media and technology companies. We’ve been incredibly successful, because we’re strategic, and we hire good people. At the end of the day, if you don’t have the right people, you can’t be successful.

One of the themes that we’ve tried to reinforce that has really resonated is how much diversity and inclusion drives innovation, and that the connections among us are stronger than the differences. For us, it’s about telling employees you don’t have to be from a certain community to be involved; instead, it’s about getting to know other employees, other leaders, because it opens up doors.

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