New York Life

Company: New York Life
Innovation Title: New York Life Cultural Ambassador Program: Fostering Inclusion and Belonging
Company Website:
Year Introduced: 2021

Executive Summary

In 2021, New York Life created the Agency Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion division, which will forge the partnership between the Agency (our field force) and The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center for Awareness and Advocacy.

What makes this program or initiative unique?

Agency DEI’s first major initiative took shape in 2022 with the creation and rollout of its Cultural Ambassador Program, which is being piloted in several field offices across the country. The goal of the program is to strengthen cultural competency and advocacy for inclusion and belonging in New York Life’s more than 100 general offices (GOs) across the country by appointing agents in each office who in partnership with their local managing partners will further advance company DEI objectives at a local level.

What was the purpose or goal of the program and the benefits?

The Cultural Ambassador program will position our GOs at the forefront of key DEI initiatives and further advance company DEI objectives on a local level. The impact the program will have in increasing cultural competency will assist in deepening relationships with our colleagues, clients, and the communities we serve. The Program will also align our values of humanity and integrity at New York Life, with our processes, behaviors, and everyday interactions which will encourage more interest in an agent career and boost retention.

Who does it impact and how is it driving growth?

The Cultural Ambassador role is an appointed position, acting as an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the GOs across the country. They facilitate alignment between company objectives, local management efforts and field force implementation, forging an environment of continuous learning and building cultural competence in the workplace.

Cultural Ambassadors are appointed by the Agency Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion division for a term of two years, and undergo continuous training in DEI core concepts. The goal of the term limit is to create development opportunities for other DEI advocates in the GOs and to allow for broader perspectives. The term limits also expand the population of agents who receive formalized diversity training from Agency DEI and can serve in this leadership role.

What are the indicators or metrics that demonstrate the innovation is effective?

The Agency Diversity, Equity & Inclusion division continues to build its foundation and programmatically operationalize the strategic pillar of cultural competency in our GOs. The training program has received positive feedback from participants. It encourages introspection and the examination of biases, fostering a greater awareness of potential blind spots. This self-awareness is seen as a valuable aspect of the program. Additionally, participants have shared that they believe the program not only aligns with the institution’s values but also has the potential to attract a broader pool of candidates, which can ultimately benefit the institution by expanding its client base.