Our 9 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) based out of Mattel headquarters all strive to "inspire and ignite a culture of connection, pride, and celebration of our people, our community, and our company." As research has shown, diverse perspectives improve innovation within an organization. Thus, the Mattel Office of Diversity and Inclusion has tried to find various opportunities for our ERGs to serve as business partners to our iconic toy brands, an effort that we are trying to increase as we expand our ERG network and Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.
Mattel's 9 ERGs celebrate various cultural heritages and special interests at Mattel:
With this wide range of representation, we have ample opportunity to provide insights to our brand teams. One such example is the involvement of MAAF, our African American ERG, in the launch of American Girl's 2016 BeForever doll, Melody Ellison. Melody is an African American girl whose story takes place in 1960s Detroit at a time when Motown music and the Civil Rights movement were shaping American culture. In addition to working with an advisory board of five experts including a former chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, American Girl also worked with MAAF to gain additional insights. MAAF members read all three of the Melody Ellison books ahead of time and offered their feedback on the story and the characters. This is just one example of how ERGs can serve as partners to our business, providing insights that contribute to authentic representation of our many celebrated cultures at Mattel.
In the past two years since our African American ERG worked with American Girl, we have added a third pillar to our ERG engagement model: (1) Promoting inclusion within Mattel, (2) Connecting with our local communities, and (3) Contributing to business initiatives. As a result, many of our other ERGs have also worked with our brand teams, serving as internal focus groups and sounding boards. Moving forward, we hope to build even stronger connections with our brand teams so that they see our ERGs as go-to internal resources for ideas and feedback on our Mattel products and campaigns targeting diverse communities.