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Blacks Employee Resource Group

The Blacks Employee Resource Group (ERG) is an affinity group created by the partnership of two
Employee Networks (EN)—Africans at Microsoft and Blacks at Microsoft—to advance Microsoft’s global diversity strategy. While each EN maintains its unique focus and initiatives, their collaboration as the Blacks ERG is dedicated to the interests of employees who self-identify as Black, African, African-American, West Indian, or of African descent.

The Blacks ERG is committed to actively contributing to the growth and development of local and international communities, with a particular focus on educating youth and exposing them to emerging technologies and career opportunities in the information technology industry. Additionally, the group supports initiatives related to technology that advance African prospects, by promoting cultural diversity, and by providing a forum for communicating within and outside Microsoft. 

Facts about the Africans at Microsoft Employee Network

  • Founded in 2003
  • Consists of more than 200 members worldwide
  • Members are located at Microsoft’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington; throughout the United States; and in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

Facts about the Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) Employee Network

  • Founded in 1989 as the first Microsoft-sponsored employee affinity group
  • Consists of more than 800 employee members worldwide
  • Maintains chapters at Microsoft’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington, as well as in Las Colinas, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; New York, New York; and Atlanta, Georgia

Areas of Focus

Employee Career and Leadership Development at Microsoft

The Blacks ERG works within the Microsoft corporate environment on a number of initiatives and programs, including:

  • Diversity initiatives. The Blacks ERG partners with Microsoft executive leadership teams to define and implement corporate diversity initiatives companywide and provides consulting for the product development groups.

  • Career Speaker Series. Experts and senior leaders across the company share their career experience and principles with members, inspiring them to excel in their jobs and careers.

  • Employee mentoring program. The Blacks ERG coordinates a formal mentoring program that matches newer employees with more senior members in similar jobs and business functions. The goal of the program is to provide support and advice to new employees.

  • African–American leadership and development conference. In 2005, Microsoft hosted its first African-American leadership and development conference. These conferences feature learning and professional networking sessions, panel discussion, and executive presentations focused on development and retention of African-Americans at Microsoft.

  • College intern mentoring program. The goal of this program is to provide professional mentoring and social activities for students who self-identify as Black, African-American, African, or West Indian and are participating in the Microsoft college internship program. Many of these students travel thousands of miles to work at Microsoft during the summer, and they value the support systems and relationships they establish with the Blacks ERG members.

Promoting Cultural Diversity and Community

The Blacks ERG celebrates diversity and community by working to promote African heritage and culture through participation in Microsoft's diversity initiatives and events, as well as by coordinating with other organizations to connect and expose business potential.

  • BAM Minority Student Day (BMSD). The Blacks at Microsoft EN hosts an annual student day every February. The goal of the event, which was first held in 1992, is to provide local area high school students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds with information about the tools, resources, and career opportunities that are available to them in information technology. Throughout the day, Microsoft employees guide students through hands-on technology labs and information sessions. Employees also serve as mentors, talking with students about the wide variety of career opportunities available to them in technology.

  • BAM Scholarship Program. This program provides scholarships to high school seniors and connects recipients with members who mentor them throughout their college careers. The program has been successful in helping graduates find employment at Microsoft.

Supporting Microsoft’s Global Diversity Strategy

The Blacks ERG supports Microsoft's global diversity strategy, focusing on advancing the efforts around representation, inclusion, and market innovation. The ERG works to:

  • Support the Middle East and Africa Knowledge and Networking initiative and Microsoft’s African subsidiaries in their efforts to develop and implement visionary information and communications technology strategies.
  • Participate in bottom-up grass roots initiatives that support ICT development related to: infrastructure, human capacity, responsible public e-awareness policy, global partnership, content, and applications software.
  • Establish a business forum for elevating technical business solutions that directly address unique challenges in Africa.