Amplifying DE&I and Black Professionals in Relocation with CRC President Erica L. Burton

To celebrate Black History Month and facilitate critical conversations about DE&I and representation, we sat down with Erica L. Burton, the first Black President of the Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago (CRC).

When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DE&I, the value that representation can bring to an organization is invaluable and necessary. DE&I is not just an industry buzzword, it represents tangible action items that cultivate belonging and opportunity while enhancing business performance. Now more than ever, critical conversations are happening around DE&I, especially through Black History Month where amplifying Black voices and DE&I is key to moving the industry, and society, forward.

We sat down with Erica L. Burton, CRP, Client Account Manager for Chase, to get her perspective about her role as the first Black President of the Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago (CRC), and learn more about what this means for representation of Black professionals in relocation and the path forward for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

WERC: You’ve had quite an accomplished career already in relocation! What inspired you to take this career path?

Burton: Honestly the path found me. I have been working within the banking industry for just over 20 years. I started my career as a Mortgage Processor, then switched positions to become a Relocation Processor which led to me managing a Relocation Closing Team for about 5 years. Through this position, I learned further about the relocation industry, which became my passion. An open position for a Client Account Manager became available, and that was the path I chose. I have since managed the Midwest accounts for our firm for the past 8 years. In this role, I love the relationship building and being a trusted advisor for my clientele.

WERC: Describe your experience as a Black, female professional in the industry?

Burton: I noticed almost immediately that most of my industry peers do not look like me. I attended one of my first regional ERC conferences, and realized that I was the only minority in a room of 225 other attendees. I have always felt welcomed by my industry peers, but I would love to see more diversity within the relocation space.
I have since been able to connect with other female and black professionals in the industry who have shared similar experiences when they entered the industry. I am also proud to say that plenty of people welcomed me to the industry and continue to support me as a black professional.

WERC: You are the President of the Corporate Relocation Council (CRC) of Chicago, making you the first black professional to hold this position in the 40 years since the organization began. What does this accomplishment mean to you?

Burton: It is still hard to believe that I am CRC President, but it shows that we are making positive strides in the industry and allowing ourselves to diversify. The accomplishment proved to me that if you put yourself out there, volunteer, and utilize your resources within an organization like CRC, you will receive the support of your peers, no matter what color your skin is. It is truly an honor to lead this esteemed organization, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I feel tremendous support from our Board, and our membership, and love bringing my perspective to the organization.

WERC: Where do you see diversity, equity, and inclusion in CRC and/or relocation going over the next few years, especially for Black professionals?

Burton: There continues to be a real opportunity for organizations like CRC and Worldwide ERC® to diversify their membership and leadership base. I am seeing more and more Black professionals being hired into key mobility, human resource or leadership roles, and seeing those thought leaders then engage and participate in larger numbers in these organizations has been refreshing. I would love to challenge these diverse leaders to further participate and step into leadership roles within our industry associations, and help navigate the conversation to ensure further equity and inclusion. I can tell you from experience that their participation is what will drive this change, and I look forward to the day when I walk into a relocation conference or meeting, and do not even notice I am one of a few minorities in the room.

Erica L. Burton, CRP, is a Client Account Manager at Chase and President of the Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago (CRC) and can be reached at erica.l.burton@chase.com.

Keep the Conversation Going!

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