Originally published 7/02/2021
Our “Day in a New York Life” series offers a look into the daily lives of New York Life’s employees, particularly those who are giving their time and expertise to our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that welcome all employees and help foster a diverse and inclusive workplace and are aligned with New York Life’s mission, values, and goals.
Here we meet ERG Program Manager, Sam Moreno.
Sam Moreno is a Senior Associate in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at New York Life. Sam is an advisor to the company’s seven ERGs, working closely with the ERG leadership teams to deliver value add business impact through programming, events and communications. Sam lives in Yonkers, New York, with her fiancée, Dominic.
Making an impact
I’ve been with New York Life for six years now. When I started, I was on the agency side of the business. I truly enjoyed working closely with the agents at the Greater New York General Office and realized that my passion was really being of service to others, and that I wanted to contribute to something bigger within the organization. That’s why I joined Human Resources (HR) after two years. But what got me into DE&I was getting involved with the ERGs. A good friend of mine at the time encouraged me to join the LEAD (Latinos for Excellence, Advancement and Development) ERG. I thought it was a great opportunity not only because of my Latino decent, but because I wanted to learn more about this community and its challenges. I wanted to help and be a apart of that dialogue.
Joining LEAD was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life! The ERGs have provided me the opportunity to really elevate myself and grow with the company. Working in a space where I have the ability to contribute to the impact of something much bigger than me is the best job and makes me a better person everyday.
From a membership perspective, the ERGs foster a safe space to come together, to feel a sense of belonging, somewhere you can go just to be able to say, “Everyone, this is how I'm feeling today.” That includes me! I pride myself on being a Dominican woman, and when I first joined LEAD, I immediately felt part of the community. They were like a family.
I’d recommend that all employees get involved with the ERGs, for two main reasons. Firstly, they offer great professional development and network opportunities. You meet so many different people, from so many lines of business across the company, so you can really market your personal brand and learn from others while doing so. And secondly, ERGs serve as a place for employees to cross-collaborate as well as learn and grow with these communities—“we’re stronger together.” It’s empowering to see how the ERGS have evolved that messaging since being virtual, and we always remind employees that everyone is welcome to join, and emphasize the importance of allyship.
The ERGs are so important to New York Life. They foster the company’s inclusive culture, raise awareness of the challenges that the groups’ communities face, and help to further evolve New York Life’s diversity and inclusion strategy. For me personally, the most humbling part of being ERG Program Manager is seeing people step up in leadership meetings, both to share their feelings and to ask for help, and then seeing others step up to help them. That’s the kind of space that the ERGs create. They’re an extension of our culture at New York Life, an expression of how we operate. Our work cannot be done alone. We show up, stand up, create space for each other, and stay connected.
Our “Day in a New York Life” series shows that as a company we’re not only focused on diversity but the humanity side of things. The series highlights the dynamic of diverse people playing dual roles, and how they’re showing up– for the company and their communities as well as their for their families. At the end of the day, we are all human—we’re moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, caregivers, spouses, etc. We all go through so much in our daily lives, but we can still step up, make an impact, and be of service to others. Now that’s something to be proud of.
“It’s been a challenging year for all employees because of the pandemic and social justice reckoning that has occurred in our country, which has disproportionally affected our diverse colleagues,” says Kathleen Navarro, Senior Vice President, Head of Talent Management, and Chief Diversity Officer. “The ways our ERGs have stepped up has been incredible; they quickly adapted to the virtual environment, and have hosted some of the most impactful programming I’ve seen in my more than 25 years at the company.”
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