May 13, 2024

Building human-centric ERG programs | Jonathan Garcia (Reddit)

In this episode of Intent to Impact, we're joined by Jonathan Garcia, Reddit's Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Lead, sharing his journey from grassroots racial justice work to leading DEI efforts in tech. He discusses building inclusive communities, the real-life impact of DEI initiatives, and highlights the crucial role ERGs play in fostering connection and psychological safety in corporate environments.

Jonathan Garcia is the Lead for Reddit’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging department. He is also currently a graduate student at Stanford University, and serves on the Community Programs team for Coachella Arts & Music Festival. Previously, Jonathan has held professional distinctions at Apple, Discord, the Golden State Warriors, the Obama Foundation, the GRAMMYs, USA Today, and more. All of Jonathan’s work looks to create inclusion and equity for historically-marginalized populations. He is from Fontana, CA.

Key Takeaways

  • Inspired by inclusive design principles, Reddit's approach to ERGs aims to create zero barriers to entry, making it easy and welcoming for all employees to participate. This approach is about ensuring that ERGs are accessible to everyone, from those who have never attended an ERG event to those who are eager to get involved. By removing obstacles and fostering an open, inclusive atmosphere, Reddit’s ERGs enhance their ability to connect with and support a diverse workforce.
  • Reddit is putting a strong emphasis on empowering the leaders of its Employee Resource Groups. By providing clear guidance, support, and expectations, Reddit helps these leaders not only enhance their own skills but also effectively support their members.
  • Reddit's ERGs focus on proactive engagement and outreach to ensure that all employees, especially new hires and those from marginalized backgrounds, feel welcomed and included. By reaching out and inviting participation, ERGs help mitigate feelings of isolation.

In this episode, we cover:

  • (00:50) Jonathan Garcia: From Racial Justice to Reddit's DEI Lead
  • (03:54) Building and Overhauling ERGs at Reddit
  • (09:00) Innovative Strategies for ERG Success
  • (13:14) Personal Influence on Professional DEI Work
  • (15:08) The Seriousness of ERG Leadership
  • (16:01) Creating Impactful ERG Programs
  • (16:29) Fostering Connection and Consistency
  • (20:02) Leveraging ERGs for Business Impact
  • (25:34) Navigating Corporate and DEI Dynamics
  • (28:48) Closing Thoughts and Contact Information

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