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At Work

Celebrating our stories: How a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion starts with understanding

In 2019, Protective President and CEO Rich Bielen signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, demonstrating Protective’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  

As part of our commitment to the pledge, Protective participates in Days of Understanding, an annual CEO Action coalition-wide movement. The celebration aims to address potential bias in the workplace and help foster a culture of inclusion and understanding.

During the first Days of Understanding in 2020, each Protective office had a dedicated space for a mural where employees were able to share something they wanted others to know about them. Additionally, team members were invited to explore resources and learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion through a continuous learning platform available to Protective employees. 

In 2021, the Days of Understanding celebration continued virtually due to the pandemic. Protective hosted candid virtual conversations that allowed employees to explore challenging assumptions, broadening perspectives, enhancing objectivity and overcoming stereotypes. Employees were also encouraged to commit to promoting a culture of inclusion by signing Protective's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Pledge. 

Protective's 2022 Days of Understanding will focus on becoming better protectors. Protector can mean a lot of things to different people — whether protecting someone else's rights as an ally, championing DE&I or just putting yourself in a better position to learn. Weekly conversations throughout the month will include topics such as understanding equity, addressing intersectionality and privilege, disrupting the status quo and breaking stereotypes, and the importance of being an ally. 

Sharing our stories

Each week throughout the Days of Understanding, Protective employees volunteer to have their stories featured online. The weekly features provide an opportunity for employees to voice their unique stories about what inspires and defines them or has had an impact on their life.

New Business Operations Director Vee Richetti Bryant was one of the first team members to share her story during the inaugural Days of Understanding.Vee is a native of the Dominican Republic and a marathon runner in training. She describes herself as adventurous and active. Her motto is, “You only live once.” Vee is most proud of earning her MBA while working full time and still putting her family first.

"I find value in perseverance, failing forward and never giving up on whatever I set my mind to," she says.

The stories our employees shared made a powerful impression.

Vee heard from coworkers who related to her story. She not only enjoyed sharing about herself but was excited to learn about others.

“Sharing our stories helps us to see others not only as coworkers but as human beings with a personal story,” she says. “This leads us to be more authentic around one another, empathetic, accepting and kind, which leads to an overall improved workplace."

It’s true — one study found that feeling included can lead to more innovative and team-oriented employees. The same study cited the benefits being aware of individuals’ similarities and differences can have on working relationships. 

Having candid conversations with our team members and colleagues is a powerful way to drive change and build strong, inclusive teams. It’s a practice we can do every day, and that’s why we continue to share our employees’ stories throughout the year. 

Want to see more employee stories? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to meet our protectors. 

Learn more about Protective's DE&I journey.

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