As the force behind the Women's Leadership Progam at Allison+Partners, Tracey Cassidy and Jill Feldman know how much power employee action groups can have both for employees and the companies they work for.

Feldman says that employee action groups go beyond the shared-interest concept of affinity groups. "An employee action group is really focused more on action and advocacy within an organization."

That sense of action and advocacy fueled the development the Women's Leadership Program, she tells Simon. "Our goal really was to empower and connect our team members across the network. We currently have about 150 members in the Women's Leadership Program, and they really come together to get more access, more exposure to the female leaders at the company."

"The program we created is hinged on three core principles," says Cassidy. "It's really based on best practices, and gleaning from what others have done before us, and improving upon them, and making it universal because we are a global program."

The benefits of the program extend in many directions, she says. "We never set out to have this as a vehicle to drive new business, but in many ways it has. And I think part of it is tapping our relationships and tapping our networks, and the topics we talk about, a lot of the senior leaders we work with are passionate about it as well."

Cassidy also says that Allison+Partners' experience with the Women's Leadership Group has given it the ability to help client companies with similar endeavors. "We have a workplace offering where we do counsel on these types of things."

Feldman says that groups like this can succeed at companies of any size. "I don't think that any company is really too small to have a group like this, I think it really depends on the employees and what they're most passionate about and interested in."

To make an employee action group work, she sets out two primary goals. "Number one is really thinking through what that structure is, what the purpose of the group is." Companies should also make sure that "there's a leadership element of the group in place that can funnel up the communication to the top leaders."

"As female leaders, and we counsel our clients the same, it's about clearing paths for others," Cassidy saysm "so that there is the ability and people see, they see the forward movement, they see hope for a better tomorrow, they see all those things that are inspiring."

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