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Vani Karun, InspirASIANS Employee Resource Group and IT Program Manager

InspirASIANS Many Cultures United by Geography

Medica is creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture. To help guide employees along this journey, the organization has developed employee resource groups (ERGs). These are groups of employees who share a common diversity characteristic or life experience (e.g., gender, disability status, religion or belief system, ethnicity or race, sexual orientation, generation) or are supporters (which we call Allies) of an ERG.

InspirASIANS: Many Cultures United by Geography

Asians are not all the same, which is a great starting point for InspirASIANS – the ERG at Medica and Dean Health Plan for Asian/Pacific employees. InspirASIANS’ members represent Pakistan, India, China, North and South Korea, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and East Timor

(More broadly, the Asian/Pacific community represents the continent of Asia, which includes the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia – a total of 49 countries. In India alone there are more than 100 spoken languages.)

Looking inward

Even among Asians, there are cultural differences and perceptions, leadership styles and communications approaches -- particularly among U.S. born Asians and non-U.S. born Asians. Because there are many different countries and cultures in Asia, InspirASIANS members have spent a lot of time getting to know and understand each other better. We have shared topics such as favorite fruits and festivities. It has been fun and amazing to hear so many stories about all the different tropical fruits native to our countries, as well as the activities that people enjoy during their favorite festivities.

InspirASIANS creates a safe place at work to openly share both positive and negative experiences Asians face in the United States. We discuss employees' thoughts on the unique challenges facing Asian Americans in the workplace and come up with ideas on how we can create awareness about Asian culture through learning opportunities for our colleagues.

Looking outward

We engage in rich and educational dialogue about our professional and personal experiences as Asian Americans. By sharing these thoughts, we create an opportunity to influence Medica leadership. Our intention is to help us all understand how business decisions potentially impact members of Asian communities.

Minnesota's population is increasingly diverse. By embracing diversity and inclusion, we demonstrate to our communities that Medica is a trustworthy company focused on meeting their health care needs in culturally appropriate ways. InspirASIANS also demonstrates that Medica values and supports the diversity of its employees. We hope that Medica will become a preferred employer for Asian Americans.