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Learn About Empow[HER], a Women’s ERG at Cox

Empow[HER] ERG - Rachelle Petusky 03152024

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are a catalyst for community and representation at Cox. Three Empow[HER] ERG leaders share how this group helps make Cox a place where women can thrive and achieve their life ambitions.

Rachelle Petusky feels passionate about empowering women around her at work because she knows what it’s like to face career challenges on your own.

“When I pivoted into market research, there were fewer women in that field and I would hear people telling me, ‘Well, I don’t know if that’s really what you want to do,’” she said. “And so I’ve always had the mindset of proving them wrong with my actions and achievements.”

She certainly did. Rachelle is now a strategic planning director at Cox, where she’s been promoted six times in the span of 13 years. One of the ways she’s paying it forward to other women is as co-chair of Empow[HER], Cox’s ERG for women and allies.

“We’re trying to help women across the business find a space where they can have conversations, talk about challenges and find allies who are willing to share their experiences and advocate for us,” she said.

Here’s a closer look at how Empow[HER] helps create moments of meaningful connection, support and understanding for women at Cox.

Having courageous conversations at work

Work isn’t always the place we expect to feel comfortable having certain tough conversations — even when it’s something that deeply affects us. But that’s exactly what Empow[HER] sets out to do with its Courageous Conversations Series.

It began as an open forum to give people space to process the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022.

“We wanted people to come in and tell us how they felt about that ruling and what emotions they had, whether it was anger or the opposite,” said April Okrusch-Billat, Empow[HER] ERG co-chair and sales support manager for Cox Business. “We wanted them to know it’s okay to talk about it.”

That overall concept was so well received that it’s become a key part of the ERG’s annual programming. Courageous Conversations held throughout the year cover all kinds of topics based on member feedback, from navigating work challenges to women’s health issues to financial wellness. Someone from the ERG usually begins the dialogue by sharing their own experience and then opens the floor to anyone who wants to speak up and add to the conversation. The sessions are virtual so that members can join from all over the country, but they’re not recorded so people feel comfortable sharing spontaneously in a private space.

This Women’s History Month, Courageous Conversations are centered around learning how to advocate for yourself and others in your life.

April, who first joined the ERG as a way to expand her network across the country, says that having these candid conversations has helped her grow as a leader.

“Courageous Conversations is my favorite thing that we’ve done — and the most impactful, too,” she said. “I've been a leader for almost 10 years, but being exposed to these types of meetings and topics with the ERG has made me 10 times better.”


Bringing together women and allies and senior leaders

The ERG also has its own mentorship program, called Mentoring Circles. Each circle consists of small groups who meet on a monthly basis. 

“We’ve really evolved that program; we’re even launching a new platform to better match people,” ​​Rachelle said. “It’s a good opportunity to not only network and meet people across the business, but also talk about how you can advance your career and overcome any challenges you face.” 

Beyond Mentoring Circles, Empow[HER] hosts panel discussions featuring senior leaders across Cox. These events are often an opportunity to gain wisdom from their experiences.

“For example, we really want to hear from somebody who’s been a frontline contributor who got to the next level to become a lead or a supervisor, said Amanda-Jane Borowski, Empow[HER] ERG co-chair and  a senior manager of talent acquisition at Cox.That feels so important.”

Amanda-Jane has also had the opportunity to lend her expertise in talent acquisition to help ERG members in their own careers.

“I moderated a recruiting panel for internal employees that was so welcomed,” she said. “And I have done a couple of training sessions with teams to help them.”


April Okrusch-Billat, Amanda-Jane Borowski and Rachelle Petusky.


A holistic approach to supporting women 

Empow[HER] isn’t just about lending support at work. The group aims to help women succeed in all aspects of life, especially in areas where women have historically been marginalized, including financial literacy and healthcare.

For example, ERG leaders meet with the Cox benefits team to talk through how women are supported through benefits offerings and how these can continue to evolve.

One of Cox’s newest employee benefits is access to specialized menopause support through Gennev. The ERG planned an event to help raise awareness of how women can make use of this new benefit.

“One of our male sponsors said, ‘We need to talk more about these topics that have been labeled taboo in the workplace so that women don’t feel uncomfortable when they have a hot flash in the middle of a meeting and need to step away,’” Rachelle said.

The ERG also holds sessions to help educate women about their existing coverage options, including fertility treatments, mobile mammograms, the financial support to go out of state for access to a procedure not offered locally and more.

“We amplify the information about benefits that Cox provides and expands to women,” Amanda-Jane said. “I just feel very passionately about helping people know what’s out there.”

For Amanda-Jane, being involved in a community, whether it’s through Empow[HER] or any one of Cox’s other ERGs, is part of what makes Cox a special place to work.

“I have definitely felt more relaxed as an employee at Cox with being part of an ERG. It just reminds you how many people of every type there are supporting other people,” she said. “Curiosity and support and understanding of others opens the circle wider so that we embrace more people and have more people come in.”


Learn more about Cox’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity and explore jobs at Cox! 


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