GHJ has been a longtime supporter of women in leadership positions, and in Spring 2017, the Women’s Empowerment (WE) Cohort was formally launched with a speaker series featuring female leaders from both inside and outside of the Firm.

With the support and encouragement of GHJ, the awareness and popularity of the Cohort spread. Now, seven years later, the WE Cohort has inspired a wider Firm diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) initiative, and its leaders continue to create a workplace that is reflective of the diversity of the clients and communities that GHJ serves.

WE Cohort Member Melissa Henderson spoke to WE Cohort Co-Chair Christina Fung about how this group fosters ongoing discussions about gender equity.

Melissa Henderson: How and why did you get involved in the WE Cohort?

Christina Fung: I got involved with our WE Cohort right after joining the Firm. I heard about it during my new hire orientation and immediately knew I wanted to get involved, so I reached out to the Cohort leaders and asked if I could participate. I started out by attending Cohort meetings and helping to plan events. In 2023, I moved into the role of Co-Chair.

Melissa: The WE Cohort was something that caught my interest as a new hire as well! I love that you jumped right in even while getting acclimated to a new job and new firm. Do you feel your work with the WE Cohort helps you in your job?

Christina: One of the best things about our WE Cohort is the chance to strengthen my network across the Firm. While we are one Firm, we tend to work with a smaller, dedicated team on a daily basis, and we do not often get a chance to interact with others beyond our immediate service team. I have had so much fun getting to know team members from other areas and working together to collaborate and deliver quality WE programming that the whole Firm can benefit from.

Melissa: You are so right. I also appreciate the opportunity of interacting with a diverse group of women and being able to share opinions and conversations beyond project work. Do you have a favorite memory from your time with the WE Cohort?

Christina: It has been exciting to see how our membership has grown and evolved. Since I first joined the Cohort four years ago, I have seen attendance at our events increase many times over — this includes increased attendance from men who are interested in our programming and want to support the women they work with. At one of our events last year, the attendance was almost half of the total employees of the firm — that is a huge turnout for a voluntary event!

Melissa: It is truly a testament to GHJ’s DEIA mindset that the WE Cohort also draws in men, and it is amazing to see how many of our employees want to understand different viewpoints. And while the Cohort has significantly grown, we never want to stop moving forward. How would you like to see the WE Cohort continue to evolve at GHJ?

Christina: I have enjoyed exploring new, interesting and sometimes difficult topics with our Cohort and through our programming. As we continue to evolve, I think there will be opportunities to collaborate with other employee cohorts at GHJ, such as BIPOC and our Parenting cohort, as many of our interests and challenges overlap. It has also been so rewarding to see more and more men attend our meetings as allies; I would love to see this trend continue.

Melissa: I second that. We can only grow stronger the more we learn about each other’s perspectives and challenges. It is the kind of thing that makes GHJ unique and one of the things that makes me proud to work at this Firm. A lot of companies strive to create an open forum and safe space for these conversations and unfortunately, fall short. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get involved with a similar group in their organization?

Christina: If you want to get involved, raise your hand and volunteer — do not wait for an invitation. If you are passionate about the topic, your organization will be lucky to have you join the team.

The WE Cohort was the first to champion GHJ’s DEIA initiative and inspired our employees to explore and promote diverse viewpoints and ideas. These women were trailblazers on the path to show how personal growth and vulnerability can feed a successful business environment.

The journey of GHJ's Women's Empowerment Cohort is more than a success story. This grassroots organization is built and supported by participation from across the organization. Everyone has a role in fostering an equitable workplace that embraces a diverse range of perspectives.

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Melissa Henderson

Melissa Henderson has over 8 years of marketing and business development experience. She leads GHJ’s proposal development process and plays a role in the Firm’s marketing and business development strategy. At GHJ, Melissa creates proposals and marketing materials and serves as the point person for…Learn More