BD’s Network XYZ strives to bridge generation gaps, dispel age-related stereotypes, and embrace positive differences. The X, Y and Z in the network’s name represent three generations in the BD workforce. The X and Y are obviously Generations X and Y. The Z, less obvious, represents everyone that is part of neither Generation X nor Y. Why Z? Because “Network X/Y/Baby Boomers/Traditionalists” seemed too cumbersome!

If the Network’s motivation does not scream innovation, the vehicles used to achieve its goals might. They include:

Speed Networking: A twist on speed-dating; associates are invited to participate in a fastpaced, structured “meet and greet.”

XYZ Book Club: The book club meets monthly and is an opportunity for associates to meet colleagues with whom they might not otherwise interact and share perspectives on books they’ve read.

Onsite Events: XYZ seeks to identify topics that effectively engage all three generations and host on-site educational events. The first onsite event was a seminar on personal finance. Whether Generation X, Y, or Z, we all share the challenges of managing our finances. Associates of all generations found themselves commiserating with each other and sharing knowledge during this event.

XYZ Offsite Events and Happy Hours: These fun after-hours outings have included events such as bowling and rock climbing. Events are intentionally active in nature so that they will prompt conversation among participants. XYZ also organizes monthly happy hours at restaurants near the office.

Network XYZ began as a grass-roots effort, envisioned by BD associates who identified a need to bridge the generation gap. This group garnered support from Karen Graham, BD’s global diversity inclusion leader, and Executive Vice President William Kozy. With their endorsement and counsel, Network XYZ was launched.

Team XYZ, the associates who organize and execute events, is led by the Network’s founder, Sien Mittiga. Team XYZ is composed entirely of volunteers. Nearly all work associated with hosting and launching events takes place either during lunch or after hours.

The Network was awarded a modest first-year budget. Nearly all of the Network’s onsite events are produced at low or no cost. Offsite activities are funded by associates themselves.

Promotion of the initiative is achieved largely through digital (free) media and promotional materials. Network XYZ has a website on BD’s intranet which includes a current calendar of events. Team XYZ also has several members with talent in graphic/web design, allowing the Network to produce eye-catching promotional e-mails and digital displays.

The Network’s kick-off events attracted nearly 300 associates (from a total population of 2000), prompting more than 150 associates (of all generations) to sign up for the XYZ mailing list, and an additional 50 volunteered to help plan and execute events.

The Speed Networking reached maximum capacity (75 associates) the first day the event was advertised. Heavy demand for a regular schedule of speed networking opportunities prompted Team XYZ to explore scheduling repeat events.

Offsite activities have routinely attracted 20-100 associates, despite the fact that BD does not subsidize any portion of the cost.