Company: New York Life
Innovation Title: DE&I Center for Awareness & Advocacy
Company Website: www.newyorklife.com
Year Introduced: 2021
To further advance New York Life’s diversity, equity, and inclusion platform, our Office of Diversity and Inclusion, established in 2006, expanded to the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center for Awareness and Advocacy (DE&I Center) in 2021. This evolution is much more than just a name change; it is a recognition that strategy and initiatives must go beyond engagement and education to play an active role in advocating for advancement of DE&I at all levels of the company.
The DE&I Center helps employees identify their personal goals and thrive in their career, supports managers in developing talent, and connects employees across the company, while continuing to foster the company’s inclusive culture. It’s a place where employees can go to better understand their strengths, get advice and guidance, and connect with colleagues. To achieve this, the Center is organized into two areas: advocacy, supporting employees and managers in their development; and awareness, continuing the extensive inclusion programming that has been built over the past 15 years.
Initial advocacy programming was launched at the end of 2021 and included a new development program for diverse Senior Associates and Associates. This program helps employees leverage their strengths and helps managers in furthering their inclusive leadership skills while supporting the development of their team member who is participating in the program. A new mentorship program for diverse Appointive Officers, pairs mentees with Executive Officer mentors and includes development programming throughout the year. In addition, all employees can sign up for monthly coaching sessions with a certified coach to discuss skills, capabilities, and overall career development. As well as networking programs to educate employees on the dos and don’ts of networking and provide opportunities to connect with colleagues to put into practice what they learned.
In less than a year, more than 1000 employees have participated in the DE&I Center’s new programming, with positive feedback all around. And, while the advocacy branch of the DE&I Center took off late last year and has hit the ground running since, the awareness branch has continued to roll out new programming that builds on the work done by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for the last 15+ years. Our social justice in action: let’s talk about community campaign has highlighted the various communities of New York Life, while encouraging employees to attend as many Employee Resource Group events as they can. Meanwhile, our Coming Together Courageous Conversation series, established in 2016, continues with company-wide sessions on timely topics and annual departmental campaign. These conversations focus on specific topics to discuss at the team level. 2022’s topic is Bridging blind spots, building on 2021 series, Color Brave vs. Color Blind. And our seven Employee Resource Groups continue providing meaningful events and development opportunities to employees across the company.
As the DE&I discipline advances, so too must New York Life’s strategy and initiatives to support all employees.