Byline: By Nicole Hudson
Here In America, we are a melting pot of people. We represent different races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities, political affiliations, and faiths. As companies explore how culture and diversity work together, it’s increasingly clear that they reflect perspectives that exist today.
Right now, in boardrooms across the country, conversations about the word “diversity” are happening more often.
Our focus should always be on inviting a variety of perspectives into our companies to foster differing experiences and skills that will generate growth. It can be difficult to get this effort off the ground.
In our interview with Wykeeta Peel, New York Life’s Corporate Vice President, we learned about her experience working in the insurance industry to “bridge those gaps; in her own words We asked her about her experience, her achievements, and her main takeaways.
Can you share why you joined New York Life as a Corporate Vice President and your vision for the company in the future?
WP: As an African-American woman who works 1n the insurance and financial Industry, 11 was important to me to work for and represent a company that’s committed to fostering an environment that embraces cultural differences. I’m here to bridge that gap in how people interact and relate to one another while embracing each other’s differences, which creates a more inclusive overall environment.
My vision for the future is to continue to foster an environment where everyone is treated fairly and with respect. I’m fostering an environment where everyone is embraced for their cultural differences, creating a more dynamic work experience for all. I also envision a workforce that is truly representative of the communities in which we live and serve.
What are some of your greatest achievements and success stories from your tenure so far?
WP: I’ve had the pleasure of working with our field offices to create women-centric events, which increase the awareness and opportunity for women insurance and financial advisors. I’ve also doubled the number of women managing partners within the last five years. seen over eight percent growth in the number of women MDRT agents, and achieved a five percent annual growth in the number of new women agents.
What would you offer to companies and leaders as to the reason why the work you do matters so much?
WP: Diversity and Inclusion are key to the growth and success of any company. An executive leadership team that supports programs and resources for a culturally diverse workforce sets the tone and influences how the workforce sees itself as an integral part of an organization’s overall success.
One issue that arises in workplaces often is dealing with social or cultural differences. Part of this may stem from a lack of understanding or respect Examples of this can include refusal by an employer or manager to allow an employee to observe their faith by taking time off for any faith· related holidays, or discrimination against a gay or lesbian employee because the manager or another employee disagrees with their lifestyle.
Integrating Diversity is More that Hiring Well
“Diversity and inclusion is not an HR strategy; it is a business strategy. Research also shows that teams that operate in an inclusive culture outperform their peers by a staggering 80 percent”
The dual working relationship of culture and diversity are used every day to create deeper ties to an organization by understanding its employees, which ultimately yields a better experience for its customers. Employee satisfaction is always a strong incentive for more satisfied customers, better productivity, and increased morale. Diversity helps companies build a stronger culture that touches every aspect of their business.