Approved for 1.00 HRCI Business Credit hour toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. The use of this official seal confirms that this Activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval. For more information about certification or re-certification, visit the HR Certification Institute website at 

Approved for 1.00 SHRM Professional Development Credit. Philly SHRM is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or re-certification, visit

Micro Learning Webcast

Leveling Up Your Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), affinity groups, and/or Business Impact Groups are commonly used as a strategy by employers to influence a culture of belonging. In the time of the Great Resignation and remote/hybrid working conditions, ERGs are becoming increasingly important for championing inclusivity and employee engagement in the workplace. ERG Leaders are given the great task of giving a voice and platform to their colleagues in a meaningful way, all while continuing to excel in their ‘day job’. That’s a lot for your volunteer leaders, who are most likely also your high-po and highly engaged employees.

In this webinar, we delve into ways to engage your ERG leadership, how to prevent DEI fatigue/burnout by providing support in a way that allows them to have an impactful experience. By creating supportive environments where your ERGs are set up for success, you’ll have the tools to help level up the impact they can have.

We will explore relevant guidelines, resources, and tools for creating an impactful experience for these champions.

Meet our Speakers: 

Shakema Appleton is the Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Cozen O’Connor. Shakema is a highly effective, results-oriented strategic visionary that inspires a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond compliance and onto skill and competence. She is responsible for tracking all diversity metrics; analyzing and generalizing data to show trends and impacts across the firm; helping to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion education efforts, such as developing and facilitating training, tools, and resources; and researching, benchmarking, developing, and executing the ERG strategy through project plans, communications, stakeholder engagements, timelines and milestones.

Shakema holds a master of arts in industrial and organizational psychology and is working toward a doctorate in human and organizational behavior concentrating on organizational leadership.

Shakema is a board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of The Society for Human Resources Management (Philly SHRM), serving as the director of webinar programming. In addition to Philly SHRM, Shakema serves on the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Leadership (IDEAL) Advisory Panel as the Analytics & Inclusion SME for the Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences; and was most recently appointed to the Board of the Philadelphia Chapter of ALA (Association of Legal Administrators) as Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA).

Shakema is a mission-driven individual who is passionate about organizational effectiveness, development, change management, collaboration and organizational behavior.

Shakema received the 2019 PA LGBT Ally Award from the National Diversity Council, and was named one of the 2019 Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction – Rising Stars, 2020 Delaware Valley HR Rising Star of the Year and 2021 Philadelphia Business Journal 40 Under 40.

Kaela Blanks, M.S., SHRM-SCP (pronouns she/her or they/them)

Kaela’s core belief is to make an impact by empowering people to thrive. Kaela is currently the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Assured Partners (AP), where she can put that core belief into action every day. She ensures people feel Seen & Heard, Included & Involved, while Connected & Supported through her work leading the DE&I function. She uses a culture and change management forward approach to supporting the organization’s overall business strategy and goals for a more equitable and inclusive workplace. This includes empowering AP’s employee-led resource groups, advancing equitable opportunities for employees, and amplifying the impact AP can have through fostering meaningful relationships internally and externally. She passionately cares about people and is grateful to be able to channel that passion through her work.

Prior to AP, Kaela drove the DE&I strategy at large organizations like Wawa and Aramark as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategist and as the Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager, respectively. Kaela also has a background in various HR functions, including talent management, organizational development, HR systems and analytics, communications, and employee engagement.

Kaela holds her master’s degree in Organizational Leadership with a focus in Human Resources from Northeastern University and is an alum from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She’s holds her Senior Certified Professional certification from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Kaela serves on the Board of the Philadelphia chapter of SHRM and the IDEAL Board Sub-Committee for the Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences.

She was nominated as an HR Rising Star in 2020 by the Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year Awards and named Philadelphia’s Top 40 Connectors and Keepers by Leadership Philadelphia in their class 2021. True to her passion, Kaela loves to travel to new cities and explore new foodie dishes to learn more about the cultures of others. She also geeks out on sci-fi and space travel and can easily get lost in a good book, movie, or tv show. Feel free to get connected with her on LinkedIn.