Mental Health & Inclusivity: This ERG Lives It!

Life@BARK
3 min readDec 2, 2022

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What ERG are you a part of?

I lead the Inclusive Canine ERG. Inclusive Canines aim for a positive, inclusive, and accessible environment for all employees with varying abilities. Our main objective is to end the stigma on mental health and disabilities in the workplace through advocacy, education, and awareness.

Tell us what excites you / makes you passionate about the ERG you are a part of at BARK

As an individual who lives with a disability, I am excited I have the chance to support our employees who live with a disability. Additionally, providing education to those who are interested in learning more or learning how they can support individuals within this community is something I am very passionate about. Ending stigma is only possible when we can understand each other and learning how to support each other is a key part. The Inclusive Canine ERG not only supports accessibility, but also, mental health. These two things go hand in hand and it is such an honor to be able to support our employees with both topics. Having the chance to ensure that members of our organization have the resources they need to support their physical and mental health is exciting and a reward in itself.

Tell us some ways you feel your ERG made a change, whether it was in the company or in the community.

The Inclusive Canine ERG supports education regarding mental health and accessibility within our company. We’ve done so by inviting educated partners in to speak with us in company-wide meetings. These meetings allowed our employees to ask questions in a safe space so they can better understand accessibility and mental health; whether that is by learning how to support the community, themselves, or accessibility and mental health within the workforce. In doing so, we create an open conversation which gives our employees the tools they need to recognize burn-out, discrimination, and more. We’re creating a more inclusive workplace and we’re hoping to change industry standards when it comes to employees’ health and well-being. The Inclusive Canine ERG is still new but we have big plans and high hopes. Together, we can make a difference.

What are some exciting ways you celebrate your community?

We love to highlight and bring awareness to conditions individuals live with everyday such as EDS, anxiety or ADHD, to name a few, through educational posts in our Slack channel. With our educational posts, we start conversations and celebrate those who live with such conditions. On top of our educational posts, we conduct 2–4 events per month. These events vary and they give our employees a chance to come together and celebrate each other whether it is through a relaxing event to reset for the upcoming week or a conversation where we talk about our personal experiences.

Speaking of Canines… Tell us about your dog!

I have a 10 year old Pomeranian-terrier mix named Gizzy. He hates all mail and loves cucumber slices. He wants everyone to pet him at all times.

Katie, we are so grateful for your passion in advocating for our employees. And we will pet Gizzy ANY time.

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