Forging a path at Renesas with an Employee Resource Group for Women

Uta Surkau, Group Manager Technical Writing

Renesas Electronics Corporation has grown substantially over the past numerous years through various acquisitions. These acquisitions have not only added to the technological expertise of the company and the company’s product offerings, but also contributed to the richness of the company’s cultural makeup. People who have joined the company have brought different experiences from their past roles and organisations as well as different personal and cultural experiences.

Establishing an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Women at Renesas

One employee, Uta Surkau (Group Manager Technical Writing) brought with her the strong feeling of community she had experienced whilst being a member of an employee resource group at a former employer. Renesas already had a strong focus on gender diversity being driven by the Human Resources Department, and Uta Surkau initiated discussions with Julie Pope, Head of HR about starting an ERG for women. Her main driver was to create a support network for women, especially younger women who had just started their career and to make knowledge available that she wished had been open to her when starting her first job, especially in a male-dominated industry.

The Evolution of Women in Technology WIT (ERG)

The Women in Technology (WIT) ERG was born and has been growing in strength every year since.   When creating the group there was a clear mandate that this ERG was for all women in Renesas – and not just those in the engineering community. Discussions took place to understand what women were interested in and the big topics were Career Development, Work/Life Balance and Personal Development.

WIT’s Leadership team were also interested to understand if the needs of women in Europe were different to those in America or those in APAC so that they could incorporate a regional perspective into their activities and topics. Today, WIT has an ever-growing membership with a community of over 200 women.  WIT also partners with the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion team (part of the HR team) which leverages WIT’s work and ensures a global perspective is applied.

WIT’s Activities

There are so many benefits of ERGs. Being part of the WIT community provides the opportunity to meet other women in the organisation that on a day-to-day level do not have the opportunity to interact, and the group also gives opportunities for personal growth. Each year WIT are organising more and more events – from TED Talk discussions, to book club gatherings, local lunch meet ups, and celebrating women as part of International Women’s Day.  WIT has also started to do more outreach into the community to spread the word about exciting engineering careers at local schools.  This has involved taking part in initiatives driven by HighTechHighHeels and Inspiring Girls networks.

Stories from our WIT members and why they joined the ERG

Katalin Szasz – I joined WIT because I strongly believe in gender quality and equity. As a female engineer, I wanted to be part of and actively contribute to the community that represents the women of our company. WIT is an amazing community that was created by women for women. Through this group I stay connected with the female colleagues from around the world, I never would have had the chance to meet them otherwise. I truly appreciate the events and enjoy our discussions.

Shari Begun – We have a shortage of women in the Semiconductor Industry. I wanted to meet more of my female colleagues and have a group of women where together we can make positive changes in our industry. Through WIT, I meet brilliant women from all over the world and get to hear their perspectives and learn from each other. In addition, I love the positive support and advice we give each other.