Company: Genentech
Innovation Title: Belonging at The Table
Company Website:
Year Introduced: 2021

Executive Summary

What makes this program or initiative unique?

Tamicka James, head of D&I for Genentech’s largest business unit (Commercial, Medical and Government Affairs), established and hosts an internal video program called, “Belonging at the Table,” which can be described as the Rachel Ray show meets D&I. The producers pair food—something most everyone loves—with discussions about “belonging” with top chefs who each have powerful stories and backgrounds. Specific Genentech employees are handpicked from the robust network of employee resource groups to participate and ask candid questions to the chef, such as, “I struggle with coming to work and being my true authentic self. I feel like I’m fighting stereotypes every day; how do you show up as your authentic self?”

What was the purpose or goal?

The goal is to foster a sense of belonging, which is one of Genentech’s 2025 Diversity and Inclusion commitments, because Genentech believes that diversity and inclusivity are business advantages. Tamicka’s approach to diversity with her workforce is based on the idea that ‘Belonging Begins With You,’ meaning we all have an important role in building a sense of belonging with colleagues through both daily interactions and strategic plans.

What are the benefits and positive changes of this program or initiative?

Each episode features a different chef and is filmed at restaurants across the U.S. The show taps into people’s affinity for food, exploring a wide range of cultures and talking through diversity topics that are critical, yet aren’t discussed often in the workplace. By addressing these topics head on and allowing the chefs and employees to share personal, emotional stories, employees build a deeper understanding of other people’s perspectives in a way that’s memorable and meaningful and shifts their interactions and behaviors in a sustainable way versus a one-time conference room training session.

What are the indicators or metrics that demonstrate the innovation is effective?

This program targets “Fostering Belonging,” one of three of Genentech’s D&I 2025 Commitments, by advancing an inclusive culture through new insights and unique approaches. As a result of this program and other innovations, Genentech has been recognized as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity.

How is it driving growth and if so in what areas?

The program targets and lifts up Diversity Network Association (DNA) groups, the employee resource groups that represent a variety of affinities from the disability community to veterans to the next generation of leaders. The DNA groups have grown, with over 13 groups and hundreds of sub-chapters.

Who does it impact?

Belonging at the Table is available to Genentech CMG’s 6,000 U.S. employees, in addition to the remaining ~7,000 employees at Genentech who can view it on the company portal. It lifts up underserved communities by allowing employees the chance to have meaningful conversations about how to belong and include others. For example, employees have a safe space to connect with people who have similar experiences and can ask questions like, “Going through my childhood looking white in a bilingual elementary school in New Mexico, I’ve often felt outside of my community because of my lighter complexion and how people react when I share my ethnicity. I’m anxious when I think about joining or about attending Latinx events today. How can I feel more comfortable?”