21st Annual Black Employee Network Conference helps employees grow
Dallas, Texas, August 28, 2010 – Union Pacific Railroad employees learned how to maximize their potential and further their careers at the 21st annual Black Employee Network (BEN) conference in Dallas, August 26-28. With the theme Building on Generations of Leadership, the conference celebrated the leaders who helped the network grow since it was established in 1979 by a small group of employees in Omaha.
The conference opened with remarks from Jim Young, Union Pacific Chairman and CEO, and an awards ceremony that recognized employees for supporting core initiatives including safety, teamwork, leadership and community service. Keynote addresses were provided by two experts in diversity, inclusion and workforce development. Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, award-winning newspaper columnist and associate professor of English education and anthropology at Columbia University, discussed the importance of self-empowerment and raising the bar of African-American leadership to a new level. Kirby Resource Group Founder Tan Kirby Davis, who has helped roll out company-wide diversity educational programs across the country, shared her insights on climbing the career development ladder.
"Our goal is to energize employees and provide information that will help them grow personally and professionally," said Byron Willis, BEN conference chairman and general director of emerging markets for Union Pacific. "The BEN Conference also gives us an opportunity to discuss how Union Pacific can continue providing a diverse and supportive workplace."
Career development workshops and networking events provided valuable opportunities that helped boost attendance at the three-day conference to more than 300 employees. "The BEN Conference is an opportunity to receive advice from and connect with colleagues who already have successful careers at Union Pacific," said David Rose, manager of operating practices and president of the BEN Fort Worth Chapter. "Receiving their guidance encourages us to continue improving our skills and helps us grow."
In addition to hosting its annual conference, BEN chapters host regular activities that help Union Pacific recruit, retain and advance the careers of Union Pacific's African-American employees. The independent chapters also organize volunteer activities and raise funds for a scholarship program, which has provided more than $350,000 in scholarships to high school and college students since 1980. BEN has more than 500 members in Chicago, Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, North Little Rock, San Antonio, Shreveport, St. Louis and Omaha.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.