BRG's Commitment to Equity & Inclusion.

At Boka Restaurant Group, the work of diversity and community is a humbling journey centered around listening, learning, and taking action. It is not about checking a box, but having ongoing difficult conversations and education to hold ourselves accountable for our teams and our guests with a focus on the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. Our pillars of Belong, Reach and Give provide the guiding purpose for this work through the following action goals:

Michelle Herndon smiling.

Meet Michelle Herndon, Director of Diversity & Community.

Michelle is leading our efforts to assess and improve company practices and policies, ongoing company-wide training, mentorship opportunities, giving initiatives, and internal communications.

Michelle joined BRG in 2011 as Director of Events for Balena. She has since navigated the events world as part of the opening team for Dutch & Doc's and most recently The Hoxton. Before joining BRG, Michelle had an illustrious career including time spent in HR staffing as well as diversity and inclusion training for Limited Brands. Outside of BRG, Michelle spends time as a professional lifestyle coach.

BELONG

Safe, welcoming & thoughtful spaces.
Working with all facets of Boka Restaurant Group to ensure we are providing safe, welcoming and thoughtful spaces for our teams, with a focus on BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ communities to thrive:

Providing mentorship through authentic conversations, building relationships, providing ongoing professional coaching and resources

Leading conversations with our bipoc/ lgbtq+ community to feel safe and heard within their environments

Working with our leaders to create better work environments, communication and understanding of each other for their teams

Collaborating with the human resources support team on the ongoing development of policies and practices on how they can impact bipoc and the lgbtq+ communities

Establishing a diverse team of human resources and restaurant leadership to lead employee conversations/ investigations when sensitive issues arise

Facilitating exit interviews with employees to candidly share their experiences and acting on their feedback

REACH

Implement recruiting, professional development & career development opportunities.
Implementing more recruiting, professional development and career development opportunities for BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ community in all positions, including leadership roles.

Working with leaders of the dei field to create custom diversity training for company leaders and company-wide

Ongoing participation in dei programs to further our internal education and professional development

Educating and developing pronoun usage as well as identity training

Leading orientation and trainings for all new brg managers to set the expectations for creating safe, welcoming, and nurturing spaces for our teams

Developing intentional partnerships with schools and community organizations that serve bipoc and the lgbtq+ communities for recruiting and educational partnerships

GIVE

Partnering with community organizations.

Partnering with community organizations that support BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ communities for the Boka Gives initiatives to provide financial support and resources: View our Boka Gives page for more info.

BRG's COMMITMENT
TO EQUITY & INCLUSION

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We, as Boka Restaurant Group, try to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and show up for our people. We constantly think of ways to uplift and support our teams, particularly minorities, People of Color and the LGBTQ+ community. Our efforts are focused on the following:

Working with all facets of BRG to ensure we are providing safe, welcoming and thoughtful spaces for People of Color/ LGBTQ+ community to thrive: 

Providing mentorship with People of Color/ LGBTQ+

Leading conversations with People of Color/ LGBT+ within the company as situations occurred where facilitation was needed to help people feel safe and heard within their environments

Facilitating meetings with BRG Leadership to create better work relationship/environment and communication, understanding of each other for their teams

Collaborating with the HR team on policies and practices on how they can impact people of color and in the LGBTQ+ community

Participating in all exit interviews with employees sharing their experiences

Working with HR team and Restaurant Leadership to lead employee conversations/ investigations when sensitive HR issues arise


Developing and facilitating identity and diversity trainings for all BRG members: 

Working with leaders of the DEI field to create custom Diversity Training for company leaders and company-wide

Attending various DEI programs (LinkedIn, Courageous Conversations, Taft, McKinsey) to further education and professional development

Educating and developing pronoun usage as well as Gender Identity within BOKA and establishing a clearer understanding of pronouns

Leading orientation and trainings for all new BRG managers to speak on culture and expectations for creating safe, welcoming, and nurturing spaces for our teams


Implementing more recruiting, professional development, and opportunities for People of Color and from the LGBTQ+ community in all positions, including Leadership Positions:

Developing intentional partnerships with schools and community organizations that serve People of Color and those in the LGBTQ+ community for recruiting and educational partnerships:
- Washburne
- Center of halsted
- Greater chicago food depository

Identifying Boka Alumni with new positions and opportunities to bring them back to the company


Partnering with community organizations that support People of Color and those from the LGBTQ+ community for the Boka Gives initiatives to provide financial support and resources: View our Boka Gives page for more info.

We know this these are small steps and we have a lot of work to do. We encourage you to leave feedback and hold us accountable as we roll out long term plans to weave racial equity into the fabric of Boka Restaurant Group. Please email us directly at community@bokagrp.com.⁣⁣