May 31, 2023
Celebrating inclusion: Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May is Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which celebrates the cultures, traditions and contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans to the United States.
This month, a national AAPI LEAN (Lockton Empowered Associate Network) group was announced. Called ASPIRE, the group promotes a collective mission and supports individual Series efforts to celebrate and share information about countless cultures.
In addition to a yoga event to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month, the Pan-Asian Associate Network and the Achieving Racial Equality LEAN hosted a virtual speaker event with Connie Chung Joe of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California (AJSOCAL). The speakers shared their personal experiences as members of the Asian-American community, including racism and hate crimes, allyship and being intentional in learning about and supporting the AAPI community.
Associates across the U.S. continue to celebrate and share their culture through events, experiences and conversations.
Catch up with some members of our AAPI community at Lockton to hear about Life at Lockton from their perspectives and how they celebrate their heritage year-round.
Genevieve Lodevico – Senior Account Manager
I have been with Lockton since 2010, and in that time, there have been a lot of changes and growth within the company. Since I started, Lockton has always been a company that focuses on its people and culture. It’s been interesting to watch how that mentality has evolved as the company has gotten bigger and the world around us has changed. Today, I still feel that Lockton puts a lot of emphasis on its Associates. Even with as big as we’ve gotten, that small company feels still lingers, and that has a lot to do with the Associates and the people around me. We carry on that culture. I think it’s what I love most about being at Lockton.
I am fortunate to work at a company that values not only my work ethic, but my life ethic. I am thankful that Lockton gives me the time and space to balance the two. I’ve gone through major life events – like getting married and becoming a mother – while working for Lockton, and my team has supported me through all of them. When asked, “Why Lockton,” I have to say it’s because of the people I work with – the support I get from them and from the company so that I can feel fulfilled both professionally and personally. If I didn’t get that work-life balance, I wouldn’t be here. So, I’m grateful that Lockton gives me that. I’m grateful that my fellow Associates see me, all of me.
Why are LEAN groups so important?
When I started, the only LEAN group we had in the Los Angeles office was Women In Leadership (WIL). We didn’t have the other LEAN groups, even though the Los Angeles office is really diverse. So, when it was announced, in the summer of 2020, that the Pacific Series was going to launch the Achieving Racial Equality (ARE) group, I was whole-heartedly on board. The social/racial atmosphere during that time was highly charged. Many Associates were looking for a place to turn that energy into action. Since Lockton puts such focus on its people, it would be remiss for Lockton to not provide the platform for our Associates to channel that energy into positive outlets. So, I’m glad that Lockton gave us that platform.
Why is diversity and celebrating diversity important in the workplace?
As a Filipina woman, the world looks much different to me than it does to my White counterparts. ARE provided me with a safe space to voice my concerns, my frustrations and my worries. It gave me a community within my workplace that I didn’t know I needed. I love my heritage, and where I came from, but the world around me sometimes does not. I see Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in the insurance industry all the time, but I rarely see them in executive positions. Why is that? I love what I do, but it’s disheartening to not see myself reflected in those high-level positions.
I believe this is why bringing light to diversity and inclusion is so very important. There is diversity within our company. Here in the Los Angeles office, I see it every day. What I don’t see is that diversity trickling upwards. It becomes very muted the higher up you look. By having both local and national LEAN groups, Lockton is taking the necessary steps to provide its Associates with the voice we yearn for. Since I’ve joined ARE, I‘ve met with more Lockton executives in those four years than I did the previous nine years. And what’s great is that every one of those executives came to our meetings with open minds and listened to what we had to say. Our goal is literally our name – Achieving Racial Equality. The only way to reach our goal to is have open discussions with the people in charge. It’s a process, but the process has been started, and the LEAN groups are there to ensure it keeps going.
How can we continue to learn about and celebrate and support AAPI heritage all year, not just in May?
Highlighting events, like we are in May for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, also keeps the narrative going. When we first started, the information sharing about the month was very superficial. As the years have gone by, we are digging further and further into what it means to be AAPI. We are showcasing these to our Associates so that we can share our experiences. We’re providing ways for our Associates to support each other’s communities – to be allies. You don’t have to be an Asian American or Pacific Islander to support our cause. Allyship is a big part of the equation. You can support by showing solidarity with our plights, or by supporting an AAPI-owned small business in your community, like eating at an AAPI restaurant. There are plenty of things you can do throughout the year to support them. This goes with any BIPOC community.
Nick Le – Producer
I’ve worked at Lockton for 12 years. I started as an intern when I was a junior in college at the University of Houston. The support that Lockton has given me, and really the freedom to choose my career path internally every step of the way, has been an incredible journey.
You don’t have that type of support from top to bottom elsewhere. I have support from our executives, fellow producers, service teams, and everyone else here at Lockton. I have the constant support and guidance to make my career decisions on my own.
What does Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
AAPI Month is great because you can highlight the contributions the AAPI community has provided to the U.S. and our communities. The biggest thing is that it’s a great way to celebrate and share our heritages with people within our office. The celebrations are always positive and it’s great to be appreciated and celebrated.
How has your heritage impacted you professionally and personally?
I am extremely proud of my background. I’m a first-generation American – both of my parents were born in Vietnam. Growing up and watching my parents navigate raising a family and building a successful, independent insurance agency while being immigrants to the U.S. taught me hard work, determination and drive to be successful. That was taught to my brothers and me growing up. It was important to see how hard my parents worked. That level of determination and drive to where they got to be, and where I am now, is how I continue to navigate my career within Lockton.
How can we continue to learn about, celebrate and support AAPI heritage all year, not just in May?
Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival are great ways we can continue to learn throughout the year. Lockton provides freedom to Associates to create events and share our cultures and heritage. It’s up to the groups to want to put them together and share. There will always be bits and pieces of something we do internally.
Why is diversity and celebrating diversity important in the workplace?
Diversity of thought is really important. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and ways of thinking. Diversity allows us to continue to learn from different people and can give new perspectives to all Associates. I attended one of the most diverse universities in the U.S. (Go Coogs!) which provided me with a great opportunity to learn, educate and collaborate with peers of diverse backgrounds. This should be something that can be replicated/embraced in the workplace.
What do you hope to achieve with your involvement in the ASPIRE LEAN group?
It’s nice to share and collaborate with Lockton Associates across the U.S. within the AAPI community. Learning about what they’re doing in their offices, what we do in our offices and how we can grow within Lockton – it’s nice to have that sense of community across the U.S. We’re going to continue to be positive and do what we can to create a positive environment for everyone at Lockton.
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