In these difficult times, we are all living and working in new ways.
Our new 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.
A Day in a New York Life: Sarah Choi
Sarah Choi is an Assistant General Counsel at New York Life. She works in the Office of the General Counsel’s tax unit. Sarah is also a co-chair of the Asian Pacific Circle (APC) Employee Resource Group (ERG). As well as helping its members to develop their professional skills and networks, the group aims to build a stronger Asian Pacific community within New York Life, and raise awareness of the community’s challenges.
Sarah lives in New Jersey with her husband and their adopted Korean terrier, Hobie. Here, she shares her typical working day.
Up to speed and down to work
I’m not a morning person but I always start my day with a glass of water. I feel like I need to replenish. Then I make breakfast, just something simple like eggs.
Once I’ve gotten up to speed on my emails, I review the daily updates from accounting and law firms to check for interesting tax developments. My work covers everything from product to federal and state tax work. I interact with people from many different areas of New York Life, which helps gives me a holistic view of how the company operates.
Company culture and community spirit
I’ve been with New York Life for six years now. The culture is amazing. Everyone is very collegial and cooperative. Working from home though, I really miss the interaction with my co-workers. I try to regularly catch up on Zoom with my mentors and people I used to get lunch with. I also value speaking with fellow members of APC .
It helps just to check in to make sure everyone in our community is doing okay. We are having small group discussions where people can share their feelings and personal experiences. We also organize larger events with outside speakers to get a different perspective on national issues. It has been a trying time for the community because of the rise in anti-Asian hate and violence. Some colleagues have been yelled at or spat at in the street. We’re all still processing that.
[Find out more: New York Life takes action to support the Asian American community.]
In May, we’re celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a bunch of virtual events. We would like to be stronger allies to the other ERGs and we’re co-sponsoring events with groups such as The Women’s Initiative. We’re also profiling our members on our internal website– their cultural traditions, the foods they enjoy, and more.
Personally, the group made me feel at home at New York Life right from the start. I advise anyone to get involved. We’re all very friendly and welcoming. In fact, I met one of my closest mentors through the ERG.
Taking a break
To take a break and get some air in between meetings, or at lunchtime, I walk our dog, Hobie. We adopted her from Korea. She’s a terrier mix but we don’t know exactly what she is - we’re thinking about doing a DNA test! Hobie is the nickname of a Korean snack. Talking of food, lunch is usually leftovers, or something simple like a salad. I’m trying to be healthy and I like to stay active. I’ve been riding my Peloton lately, which is fun.
Reading and watching
After work, and cooking dinner, I like to read. Every year I try to set my own personal goal of how many books I’m going to read. I’m currently reading Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. I’m not watching much TV now because I’ve been bingeing too much! I found a rich trove of Netflix documentaries. I most recently watched Seaspiracy. I also liked The Queen’s Gambit.
Hopes and dreams
I look forward to seeing my family and friends again. My husband is a doctor so we’ve both been cautious with meeting other people. We got married last year but we only had a very intimate ceremony. We’re planning to do something bigger when we can.
I love my ERG group and I love my work. I want to continue developing with the company, be a stronger employee, and be a better mentor to others.
The Asian Pacific Circle (APC) Employee Resource Group (ERG) aims to foster an appreciation of Asian Pacific American culture at New York Life, and to empower and develop its members to achieve excellence across the company. Previously known as the Asian Network Group (ANG), it was renamed to better reflect the diversity in its mission and to be more inclusive of the cultures that it represents. The new name is also more consistent with the name of the group’s heritage month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrated in May. The “Circle” in its name reflects the interconnectedness of the APC’s members.
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