In these difficult times, we are all living and working in new ways.
Our new A Day in New York Life series offers you 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: Wendy Wong
Wendy Wong is Managing Director and Head of Enterprise and Strategic Partnerships at New York Life Investments. Right now, one of her main initiatives is to help create a suite of Dual Impact Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)1, which are meant to address values-centered investment needs, which are slated to include from heart health (currently available in the IQ Healthy Hearts ETF), to gender equality to clean air. Each strategy would be designed in alignment with a leading social good partner. In this role, Wendy is responsible for all aspects of working with the social good partner, which includes product design and development, all the way through launch and marketing of the ETF, and initiatives to give back to communities.
But that’s not all Wendy does at New York Life. She’s also a co-chair of The Women’s Initiative (TWI), the company’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) for women and allies. Over the last year, in addition to leading TWI company-wide, she’s worked closely with the CEO of New York Life Investments, Yie-Hsin Hung, to expand women’s network programming and organize initiatives tailored to employees on the investment management side of the business.
Here, Wendy shares her typical day, working at home.
A running start
I try and get a run in most mornings, that's how I like to begin my day. I run outside all year-round, no matter the season. With two kids, if I were to wait ‘til the evening, well, I'm just out of gas and out of time! Since I don't have a commute right now, I can meet up with friends and be a bit more social with my running, while staying safe. It’s my time to unplug and catch-up with friends. Keeping a routine with running has been hugely helpful for my mental well-being during this time.
Before I start my work day, I try to spend a little bit of time thinking about what's ahead of me and what key things I want to get done that day. It doesn't always happen. But I find that when I don’t take that time to jot down my top priorities, I just turn on my computer and start checking emails right away and I get sucked in. All of a sudden, I’m down a rabbit hole, I’m doing this, and I’m doing that. Then, at the end of the day, I feel I was really busy, but was I productive?
Going with the flow
When it comes to breaks and lunchtime, I tend to go with the flow. With the kids, it depends on when their breaks are. And, frankly, how involved I need to be with lunch! The best case scenario is that I made a nutritious, delicious dinner the night before and and the kids can just microwave the leftovers. But that doesn’t happen a lot, unfortunately. Most days my husband and I need to help them forage for something to eat.
The most rewarding part of the day
The work I do with TWI is really interesting. For most of us, our day-to-day interaction is often only with people in our immediate business unit. But because these employee resource groups span all of New York Life–I have an opportunity to get to know people all across the company, which has been really rewarding. We all work in different areas, but we have a shared purpose and enthusiasm in TWI.
Working with the TWI team to put together programming and events for women and our allies is extremely gratifying, because it's a different way of being productive, having impact and giving back to the community beyond my normal day job.
We’ve spent the last year helping employees think about how to adapt to a virtual environment. How do you network? How do you establish relationships? How do you develop personally and professionally, all in remote environments? Early last summer we did a seminar on the best practices of video conferencing. At that point in time, that was a new skill for all of us, although we’re certainly all used to it now!
Relaxing at the end of the day
During the winter, I was doing a ton of baking. I’ve had to make a concerted effort to scale back, because when you’re not going anywhere, all those baked goods stack up at home. And then you eat them! I’m still baking, just not as much.
The Women’s Initiative (TWI)
The Women’s Initiative seeks to help members succeed in their current roles, adapt leadership and interpersonal skills to an evolving workplace environment, and prepare for future aspirational roles, while fostering a sense of community and belonging.
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