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WCS x JTI: ERG Growth and Community Development.

Updated: Apr 23

We delve into our partnership with JTI, where through their WCS Annual Membership we've provided content production, event delivery and consultancy to support the growth of their global PRIDE Employee Resource Group.

A gif showing the JTI and We Create Space logos against a hot pink background, followed by a flash of images of WCS speakers at JTI's Pride Summit and filming content for JTI, as well as graphic resources and an event flyer for a webinar.


As part of the LGBTIQ+ Inclusion pillar at JTI, they were looking to develop strategies, professional development opportunities and LGBTIQ+ inclusive policies in order to create workplaces which are inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions - embodying their values of being a people-centric organisation where employees can be themselves everyday.

Core Challenges

As a large international company, JTI recognised the need to distil a key priority for their PRIDE ERG and build a growth strategy that would encourage global awareness and participation. Creating a sustainable and ongoing safe space for ERG members was paramount, as well as finding fresh ways to drive engagement and create new PRIDE ERG chapters across the 127 countries they operate within. We Create Space developed a four-pronged strategy to address JTI's goals, focusing on Wellbeing & Community Building, Regional Development & Chapter Growth, Diversity within Diversity and Expertise & Thought Partnership.

“We reached the conclusion that the well-being of the LGBTQ+ community was the number one priority... We are employees for employees, we are not the corporation. And sometimes members of the LGBTQ+ community can be protected by the corporate policies. Saying there is no discrimination here and having it very beautifully written in a document is nice. But then when you actually live it, in the day-to-day work, it's it's completely different. So what we wanted to create was this safe space for the employees to be to be able to approach us in a different way.” - Edgar Martinez (he/him), Senior Legal Director and Global PRIDE ERG Co-Chair at JTI

A graphic created for JTI by We Create Space on how to be a more positive, informed and active ally.


Wellbeing & Community Building

  • Full event programming covering intersectional topics like LGBTQ+ Parenting, Trans Allyship, Living as HIV+, Intersex Awareness and Hidden Disabilities.

  • Showcasing internal Queer Leaders as part of our My Ally & Me content series.

  • Sponsorship and attendance at our Pride & Beyond Queer Leadership Retreats in 2021 and 2022.

Regional Development & Chapter Growth

  • International Pride ERG Summits in person to build community and provide upskilling.

  • Regular global virtual events to encourage the development of new ERG chapters.

  • Who Am I? Leadership training to encourage and enable ERG succession planning.

Diversity within Diversity

  • Supported with the creation of PRIDE ERG's "Women of Pride" sub-group to encourage more women to join the ERG and engage with events.

  • Sponsorship of our intersectional glossary to encourage continued learning and development amongst members.

  • Showcasing internal Queer Leaders as part of our Through My Lens content series exploring the intersection of LGBTQ+ and Disability.

Expertise and Thought Partnership/Leadership

  • WCS consultancy and strategy development to long-term goals and action plan.

  • Bespoke content creation covering topics like being trans in the workplace.

  • Regular consultancy sessions to track the progress of initiatives.


  • More local chapters of PRIDE ERG have been created each year across the globe.

  • Increased participation by women employees across PRIDE's chapters.

  • Continued Senior Leadership involvement and public support, including a new commitment to ensuring Pride is celebrated 365 days a year.

  • Higher levels of ERG community engagement and participation.

  • JTI's PRIDE ERG placed on the 2023 Global Diversity List and has been named a Top 10 LGBT+ Employee Network.

  • Won Gold from the Internal Communications and Engagement Awards for Best Internal Communications Campaign.

  • JTI Germany has received the Global Equality Standard (GES) certification from Ernst & Young, one of the first global DEI awards allowing companies to assess the extent to which DEI is embedded throughout their global operations.

  • Jen Polzin (Board Assistant Germany & Global PRIDE Co-Chair) and Rene Staebe (Corporate Communications Manager) both placed on the 2023 Top 100 LGBTQ+ Future Leaders List.

"I think of my role as making sure that the company lives by the promises they made. We are trying to expand our ERG presence globally to know what the markets need, you can imagine the type of challenges as an international company operating in 127 countries, which is why we have been a partner with We Create Space since 2021 " - Edgar Martinez (he/him), Senior Legal Director and Global PRIDE ERG Co-Chair at JTI


While you're here...

Did you know we consult with Businesses, ERGs and Change-Leaders providing bespoke corporate solutions? Through consultancy we design shared learning experiences, produce DEI insights and craft bespoke content that support individuals with strengthening their roles as change-agents within their communities and organisations. Find out more here.

We also organise FREE community events throughout the year! We offer a variety of ways to get involved - both online and in person. This is a great way to network and learn more about others' experiences, through in-depth discussion on an array of topics. You can find out what events we have coming up here. New ones are added all the time, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up to date!


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