Business Peer Exchange

The Business Peer Exchange (BPE) is a year-long skill building program that engages businesses and their leaders in shifting workplace culture towards gender equity and inclusivity.

Our goal: to create equitable workplaces in Vermont.

Our strategy: to convene, coach, and support a cohort of “gender equity ambassadors” in diverse workplaces across Vermont.

About BPE

The first BPE began in Chittenden County in Fall 2016. Now, we’re currently engaging our year 4 cohort in Chittenden County and inaugural cohort in Franklin/Grand Isle.

From the start, we’ve understood the critical role that employers can play in moving the needle for women: by recruiting and hiring them; by promoting them; by paying them equitably; by consistently considering whether organizational practices, policies, and the culture support the needs of diverse workers.

Meeting monthly for a year, representatives from 15-20 organizations come together to discuss ways in which gender plays out at their worksites, explore best practices in cultivating and supporting equity, and develop immediate and long-term strategies to advance their own equity goals.

Download the BPE Overview Sheet.

 

 

Results

Business Peer Exchange members have:

• added gender diversity to corporate strategic planning goals

• increased awareness of gender throughout their companies (a sign of progress: a male production manager asking specifically for female applicants to be recommended)

• taken more time to speak to women in leadership about their experiences

• seen an increase in diversity of applicants due to new recruitment practices

• provided ‘unconscious bias’ training for all staff and ‘bias in interviewing’ training for HR staff

• hosted conversations during work hours using CTS Conversation Cards

“We have loved being part of Change The Story’s Business Peer Exchange. It has helped us move forward equity conversations and policies organizationally. We have a newly formed Equity Committee that is planning staff trainings around sexual harassment, implicit bias and racism. We’re also working on the language in our job descriptions and hiring processes, doing a wage and benefit assessment for all employees, working on engaging our board in these discussions, and lots more. We have a staff lunch planned for the Change The Story Conversation Cards toolkit and I’m excited to try it out! We had a goal of getting all of our managers to at least one BPE and I think we’re pretty close to achieving that goal.”

Chelsea Frisbee

Development Manager, Intervale Center

Want to bring BPE to your area?

Change The Story is interested in identifying and supporting organizations around Vermont to start up their own cohorts.

Contact Jessica Nordhaus at jnordhaus@changethestoryvt.org.