Growing camaraderie and inclusivity - celebrating Ellevate’s journey: From a grassroots group to a globally recognized changemaker

By ATB Financial 8 March 2024 3 min read

Today marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a day designed to honour and recognize the social, economic, and cultural achievements of women. It serves as an opportunity to acknowledge gender equity progress, while highlighting the ongoing efforts required to attain equilibrium.

At ATB, we are committed to fostering a workplace culture and province that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion. A crucial aspect of this commitment is our dedicated effort to advancing gender parity within our organization, throughout the financial services industry, and in the communities we serve.

As part of our efforts to advance inclusion and belonging, ATB currently operates nine employee resource groups (ERGs). Ellevate, its women’s ERG, has over 1,700 community members and is one of the longest standing and largest ERGs at ATB. Ellevate supports ATB’s forward-facing vision in envisioning what a fully inclusive and empowered world could look like for women and gender-diverse team members.

As part of Ellevate’s efforts, ATB joined the UN Global Compact with a mission to support the greater good and make the world more sustainable for all in 2021. Through the Target Gender Equality Accelerator (part of the UN Global Compact program), ATB committed to advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls in Alberta and beyond.

Fast forward to today, Ellevate and ATB have been highlighted in a national case study by UN Global Compact Network Canada and Women & Gender Equality Canada. The “Accelerating Systemic Change: The Case for Gender Equality Leadership for Sustainable Recovery” study came to be as a result part of a three year project aimed at bolstering women’s participation and opportunities in the labour market and tackling discriminatory legislation, policies, and practices hindering full participation of women in Canada's social, political, and economic spheres.

The project revealed that times of crisis exacerbate economic and social inequities in the workplace. Collaborations were established with private sector partners, professional networks, gender equity leaders, and industry associations to pinpoint gender-based workplace barriers, cultivate gender-responsive solutions, and introduce a comprehensive toolkit on gender equality, diversity, and inclusion for businesses.
The “Accelerating Systemic Change Toolkit: Gender Equity Solutions for the Workplace,” includes a series of 20 case studies on leading Canadian companies with gender-responsive initiatives, along with other project findings and insights based on consultations that included ATB Team Members. The Toolkit will serve as an invaluable asset in fostering workplaces that are more diverse, inclusive, and equipped to navigate through crises.

We’re exceptionally proud of the work Ellevate has done since its inception in 2013. The network began as an informal gathering of passionate women leaders in the organization. Over the years, the network has grown and matured significantly as membership grew, support increased from senior leadership, and ATB’s organizational commitment to inclusion and belonging formalized. Being included in the toolkit is a huge honour and underscores the company’s commitment to advancing gender parity within its walls, and beyond.

Congratulations to our Ellevate team member network - you are true champions of belonging!

Please access ATB’s case study here.

About Ellevate
With its start as a small grassroots movement, Ellevate recognizes the social perception that existed, particularly at the beginning of its operation, of the group being a trivial “social committee” or “just a bunch of women complaining”. To build reputational credibility, break gender-based stereotypes, and create tangible change, Ellevate has worked to dismantle these perceptions and reframe their work from “volunteer work” to legitimate and valuable work. It has done so by aligning Ellevate’s initiatives to the organization’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Strategy.

What is the UN Global Compact?
UN Global Compact is an international network of 150,000+ companies in 165 countries that have committed to the 10 principles and 17 social development goals (SDGs) that are laid out by the UN. Gender equality is just one of the SDGs ATB has chosen to prioritize, and it’s an integral one.

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