The newest employee resource group (ERG) at Newfront has come together to do exactly what its name implies: Amplify AAPI. By uplifting and supporting one another, the group of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and allies are giving voice to our community while continuing to build on Newfront’s foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“Being part of a community that relates to the challenges I had growing up and being able to share stories is such an amazing opportunity,” said Heidi Clubb, a co-lead of Amplify AAPI and Senior Account Manager at Newfront. “It wasn’t until I was an adult where I realized there were many people who were in the same boat as I was. I wasn’t alone after all. I just didn’t know where to find fellow friends and colleagues with a safe space to connect.”
Amplify AAPI joins six other ERGs at Newfront, all with a common theme to help employees find a community that not only creates a sense of belonging, but also provides an opportunity to support the professional development and growth of its members.
“In the AAPI community, many of us were taught not to speak up or to blend in so that we can assimilate into the American culture,” said Vivian Le, the founder of Amplify AAPI and Benefits and Wellbeing Manager at Newfront. “These innate characteristics may spill into our workplace.
“Amplify AAPI was created to break the barrier and uplift our voices, our members and our allies.”
As a fellow co-lead of Amplify AAPI, I have already experienced the power our members have to amplify our voices, which gave me the courage to take on a leadership role and to introduce our ERG to the entire Newfront community at a Town Hall meeting on May 4.
“I am inspired to see the diversity of AAPI cultures and life experiences being shared,” said Winnie Van, Executive Sponsor of Amplify AAPI and Chief Legal Strategist at Newfront. “In the sharing and allyship, there is power, compassion and greater community. This ERG looks to further amplify and elevate its members and Newfront.”
Honoring Our Diversity During AAPI Heritage Month
The May launch of Amplify came at a pivotal time for the community as we honor our diverse cultures and share our experiences during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“When the ERG was approved, I felt very honored, humbled, a sense of belonging, and proud to be an employee of Newfront,” said Alaine Gallanosa, an inaugural member of Amplify AAPI and Senior Client Representative at Newfront. “Celebrating this month is important to me because it also reminds us to be proud of who we are and how our culture and values have contributed to our success in life.”
Throughout AAPI Heritage Month, Newfront is featuring Amplify members to help showcase their views and the community’s diverse cultures, including Andrew Pham, Senior Business Analyst for the Wholesale Benefits division at Newfront, who said: “I’m a proud first-generation Vietnamese American. Growing up in Hawaii where there’s a large population of Asian Americans, I was able to share my Vietnamese culture as well as embrace other cultures."
As Amplify AAPI continues to build momentum, we hope to provide a deeper understanding of the collective cultures and experiences within the AAPI community through educational programming, holiday celebrations, workshops and more.
“When there’s a holiday, we want to bring the cultural celebrations to all,” said Heidi, whose parents immigrated from Hong Kong. “Traditions in my family were all based on the Lunar calendar, which all symbolizes family, which is the heart and soul of my life.”
Celebrating and Educating with Amplify AAPI
The broad diversity of the AAPI community encompasses more than 20 different countries with more than 40 different ethnic subgroups. However, there is one common thread that seems to bring us all together: the celebration of food.
“My favorite memory growing up in a Vietnamese household was all about the food,” Vivian said. “There are so many memories I have with my family and the dishes we had together. Food brought us all together while we created memories laughing, storytelling, and being silly together.”
Our shared love of food inspired a kickoff event in May on making Cantonese dumplings – a class that is sure to spark curious (and perhaps competitive!) discussions about the diversity of dumplings within AAPI cultures and throughout the world.
Many in the Newfront AAPI community also came together in 2021 to provide support for one another amid a spate of hate crimes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those fears continue for many of us, and we know our allies often feel as helpless as we do when we witness or are a victim of racism.
To launch our educational series, Amplify AAPI is also building on that foundation by planning Bystander Training to Stop Anti-Asian/American and Xenophobic Harassment, a powerful workshop that is geared toward helping the entire Newfront community better understand how to respond safely.
“I’m really looking forward to this Bystander Training, which will empower not only myself but others and allies in the AAPI community,” said Chastity Wilson, a co-lead of Amplify AAPI and Account Manager at Newfront. “I want to be prepared to stand up for what is right.”
We’re excited to bring to more opportunities to share and learn about one another's cultures, and through it all, we know the entire Newfront community will be right there beside us as we uplift one another and Amplify AAPI.
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