February is Black History Month

February 1, 2023

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By Shaunte Clemons – VP, client services and Khaleedah Francis – business development director

In the U.S., February marks Black History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements of Black Americans and a meaningful opportunity to raise awareness of the central role of Black men and women in the history of our nation.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated February as Black History Month. (Other nations, including Canada, UK and Netherlands, also dedicate a month to the celebration of Black history.) As co-chairs of Sedgwick’s Black Colleague Resource Group (our version of an employee resource group — more on that below), we are proud to lead the organization and join millions across the country in observing Black History Month.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Sedgwick’s participation in Black History Month and other cultural observances is an important element of our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) journey. We recognize that embracing DEI is the right thing to do; it’s an extension of our core valuescaring counts philosophy and emphasis on strong environmental, social and government (ESG) practices. Our DEI commitment reflects who we are and the broad spectrum of organizations and individuals we serve.

At Sedgwick, DEI is focused on the diversity of all people and their experience; helping everyone feel welcomed, valued, respected and heard; and the power of equitable opportunities. Diversity is multidimensional. Some facets, like ethnicity, gender and generation, are well known and “above the surface,” but they also include things “below the surface,” like diversity of thoughts, skills and experiences. Each person is unique, and at Sedgwick we celebrate those differences — regarding them as a key source of our collective strength.

Building on the company’s longstanding tradition of promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I), we’ve more recently adopted an emphasis on equity. As opposed to equality, where everyone gets the same thing, equity means everyone gets what they need for fair access to resources, opportunities and advancement, which levels the playing field. This idea is firmly embedded in our people practices and policies — such as talent acquisition, performance management and training and development — and supports the personal and professional growth of our colleagues.

In order to develop innovative, industry-leading solutions and demonstrate empathy and understanding for our clients, consumers, claimants and colleagues, we must attract, retain, develop, and engage top talent that mirrors the diversity in our society. Celebrating Black History Month is one of the ways we showcase our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all.

Employee resource groups

In addition to embracing diverse populations and creating great experiences, offering employee resource groups is another way that we advance our DEI strategy. Colleague resource groups or CRGs, as we refer to them at Sedgwick, are global, cross-functional and colleague-led. Our CRGs aim to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive work culture that is aligned with our guiding principles, values, goals and business practices. CRGs contribute to Sedgwick’s success by raising DEI awareness; cultivating engagement and belonging; and building a community where colleagues can learn, grow, and thrive as their most authentic selves. Our CRGs focus on four key pillars: professional development, business engagement, community outreach and membership engagement.

Sedgwick recently launched a Black CRG, which we are privileged to co-chair. The group (whose seal is shown below) is designed to help colleagues expand their networks, build relationships across differences, and sharpen their professional and leadership skills. During our virtual roundtable kickoff event, we explored some of the challenges facing people of color and others in the workforce who don’t necessarily gravitate toward traditional methods of organizational networking — especially with the added barriers of a remote or hybrid environment. The influx of feedback we received has shined a light on the importance of networking groups in a large organization like ours, where people may feel the need for connection. It’s been gratifying to see that the messaging and efforts of our Black CRG are resonating with colleagues! We want them all to feel welcomed, valued, respected and heard, so they can perform at their best and continue to grow. Our hope is that the Black CRG can provide greater cultural understanding and opportunities for organic mentoring to help our colleagues advance in their careers. We aim to be more than an affinity group; we want to be a resource for the company in bringing DEI to life in our workplace and fostering talent, empathy, acceptance and inclusion.

Opportunities for all

February is not only Black History Month, but also Insurance Careers Month. The overlap, though probably coincidental, aligns nicely with the emphasis of our Black CRG on talent development and attraction. The claims and insurance industry as a whole, and Sedgwick in particular, offers abundant opportunities for fulfilling and stable careers and the chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others every day. Our Black CRG and focus on DEI initiatives are here to pave the way toward bright futures for people of color and others — current and prospective colleagues alike.

This Black History Month and throughout the year, we pay tribute to and support our Black colleagues at all levels of the Sedgwick organization. We proudly celebrate the achievements of Black men and women and their lasting contributions to our company, industry and communities. Both of us are grateful to work for an organization like Sedgwick that promotes diversity, inclusion and creating equitable opportunities for all.

Special thanks to Seti Eftekhar, Sedgwick DEI manager, for her valuable contributions to this blog.

Learn more — explore opportunities for a meaningful career at Sedgwick, check out the National African American Insurance Association and Black Insurance Industry Collective, and visit BlackHistoryMonth.gov

Tags: Black History Month, careers, caring, Caring counts, caring culture, colleague resource groups, CRG, culture, DEI, Diverse, diversity, Diversity & Inclusion, Diversity in the workplace, Diversity matters, employee resource groups, ESG, Helping people, inclusion, inclusivity, workplace, Workplace diversity