March 4, 2024

Navigating your first 90 days in a new DEI role | Alison Crawford (LinkedIn)

In this episode of Intent to Impact: The ERG Podcast, we are joined by Alison Crawford, a seasoned D&I leader with nearly 15 years of experience in the tech industry. Currently serving as the Senior Manager of ERG Enterprise Strategy at LinkedIn, Alison provides valuable insights on the challenges and strategies for D&I leaders entering new roles. Tune in to hear her thoughts on promoting inclusivity, effectively overseeing ERGs, and finding the right balance between immediate achievements and long-term strategic D&I objectives.

Alison Crawford Bio

Alison Crawford is a Diversity & Inclusion Leader who has been working within the tech space for the last 14 years to address inequalities for underrepresented employees. Her work has focused on developing global programming, executive coaching, and executing cultural change in the workplace to ensure positive business output and growth. Since 2009, Alison has held D&I positions at companies like Yelp, Uber, Ripple, and LinkedIn.

Alison currently manages the 700 Employee Resource Group Leaders across the globe at LinkedIn with a small team and also provides Diversity & Inclusion consulting services within a number of verticals. Her past clients have included KFC (Yum! Brands), Under Armour, Survey Monkey, and

In addition to her corporate life, Alison is a second generation, first responder with Sonoma County Fire District and drives a 911 ambulance for four 12-hour shifts per month. Alison has a BFA in Textiles from California College of the Arts and is currently a student at UC Davis studying paramedicine to obtain her Paramedic license in March 2025. She lives in San Francisco.

Key Takeaways

  • As a Diversity and Inclusion leader, building trust is paramount. Alison advises being vulnerable and transparent with stakeholders to foster trust and communicate that conversations are aimed at understanding their needs and priorities.
  • To revitalize or launch Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Alison suggests conducting listening tours to understand the organization's culture and identify talent. Additionally, she highlights the importance of finding ways to reward and recognize ERG leaders to sustain long-term engagement.
  • Alison emphasizes the need to balance quick wins with long-term strategic goals in DEI initiatives. She suggests leveraging organizational communication channels to introduce DEI priorities gradually and consistently, without appearing performative.
  • ERGs play a crucial role in crisis management, providing support to affected communities within the organization. Alison discusses the importance of training ERG leaders to navigate crisis situations sensitively and create safe spaces for members while also managing their expectations and responsibilities.

In this episode we cover:

  • 00:00: Introduction and Welcome
  • 00:39: Meet the Guest: Alison Crawford
  • 01:21: Alison's Journey in Diversity and Inclusion
  • 02:22: Understanding ERGs at LinkedIn
  • 04:07: Challenges and Rewards of Managing ERGs
  • 04:39: Stepping into a New Role: Strategies and Approaches
  • 10:53: Building Relationships with Key Stakeholders and ERG Leaders
  • 15:32: Revitalizing or Launching ERGs in a New Company
  • 20:38: Balancing Quick Wins and Long-Term DEI Goals
  • 23:26: Key Challenges in the First 90 Days as a DEI Practitioner
  • 24:42: Top Advice for New DEI Practitioners
  • 27:43: The Role of ERGs in Crisis Management
  • 30:26: Closing Remarks and Contact Information

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