At Erie Insurance, one way that we deliver on our promise to be a great place to work is to promote and celebrate diversity.
Our affinity networks are voluntary, employee led organizations formed by employees when they express a desire to start them. The networks are supported, funded and endorsed by ERIE and have a sponsor from ERIE leadership who is actively engaged in the network. Our affinity networks have grown and evolved over time, but they each strive to build a culture of inclusion.
Affinity Networks at Erie Insurance
At ERIE we have eight networks designed to foster diversity awareness. Hear from our employees what their affinity network means to them.
Women’s Affinity Network
Our Women’s Affinity Network (WAN) was recently ranked the 14th top affinity network in the country. This network aims to break down gender barriers and promote understanding of gender differences all while creating confident, effective female leaders at all levels of ERIE. From development workshops and mentorship programs, WAN encourages women to feel empowered and set goals they may not have considered before.
“When I began my career in insurance 23 years ago, there were only a handful of women in claims, and fewer female mentors and role models. I love seeing more women seeking careers in previously male-dominated fields and want to be able to support and encourage other women to do the same.” – Nancie Smilie, litigation specialist, Wisconsin Branch
Asian Pacific Affinity Network
Our Asian Pacific Affinity Network provides Asian cultural awareness to all ERIE employees. Educational events such as the speaker series and cooking tutorials allow employees to connect with one another and learn about Asian Pacific culture. An employee favorite event is our annual Diwali celebration, celebrating India’s “festival of lights.” Members of the network cook homemade Indian food to share with their colleagues and teach ERIE employees the Thiruvathirakali, a traditional dance of southern India.
“Coming from a different background, I value diversity and inclusiveness and always look for ways to be part of it, celebrate it and contribute to it. When we first introduced Diwali to ERIE, I talked about it with great pride and honor with my 6-year-old daughter who is still learning about India and its culture. This encourages her to talk about our culture and share it with her friends."- Vidhya Suvarna, IT analyst
enABLEd Affinity Network
Our Network for Adaptive Behaviors Leading to Education on Disabilities, or enABLEd, raises awareness and understanding of neurological, learning and physical differences. The network introduces new skills to ERIE employees that create positive wellness — intellectually, spiritually, physically and emotionally. Activities include educational workshops, 15-minute breathing exercises and a virtual art exhibit.
“I want to help change the perception of mental illness. I believe we can end negative stigmas and put to rest stereotyping if we educate ourselves and others. This affinity group will ‘enable’ us to educate others, access creative learning opportunities and foster an inclusive work environment. I am super excited and proud to be a part of this movement.” – MJ Dore, customer care operations supervisor
Veterans Affinity Network
Our Veterans Affinity Network brings together veterans, their family members and supporters. The goal of the group is to assist them in the workplace at ERIE through career mentoring and coaching, resume review and advice, and collaborative efforts to honor and celebrate those who have served. The group hosts events to commemorate the All Services Day Celebration, Flag Day and Veterans Day.
“Being able to honor those who have served all of us, enabled our free culture and further celebrate the very diversity and inclusion that affinity networks and employee resource groups were created for is truly special.” – Kirk Rexford, IT supervisor
Generation Connection Affinity Network
ERIE employs individuals of every generation, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z – and each generation is shaped differently through historical events and values of that era. Generation Connection brings a lens to these differences and how we can learn from one another to bridge the generation gap.
“We hope to influence diverse thinking to span generations.In preparing for our upcoming general membership meeting and listening to a panel discussion about the value of knowledge transfer, it struck me that one of the key benefits was the discussion itself and how that acted as a catalyst. We’re looking to incorporate more experiential activities into our network to help deepen the confidence and support skills of teams members. " – Cathy Gilham, IT analyst
African American Affinity Network
Our African American Affinity Network helps to educate employees on the culture and heritage of the Black Community. The network offers a safe space to discuss current issues facing many African Americans and offers various discussion panels and events during Juneteenth and Black History Month.
“I love being a part of EAAN because it provides a great outlet to discuss issues that concern African Americans inside and outside of Erie Insurance. We’ve built a strong and supportive family and we’ve seen the power of these conversations translate into diversity improvements for the organization.” – Fred Johnson, Wisconsin branch manager
Dignity and Respect Affinity Network
Our Dignity and Respect Affinity Network promotes inclusiveness through fostering an environment where diverse cultures, opinions and lifestyles are met with understanding and dialogue. Their “Common Grounds” presentation series helps employees understand what it means to meet in the middle of differing opinions, and identifies strategies to work through differences.
“I’ve learned so much about myself and others, I’ve made many new friends and connections, and I’ve been grateful to help further our mission to make dignity and respect a ‘built in’ part of our company culture – it’s been one of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences I’ve had at ERIE!” – Sharon Trevino, workplace planning services supervisor
Pride Alliance Affinity Network
ERIE’s Pride Alliance Affinity Network’s (EPAAN) mission is to create an environment where every employee can be comfortable sharing their authentic selves, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Members provide competency training around what it means to be an ally and provide LGBTQIA+ resources for employees.
“As I have a passion for educational training, I joined EPAAN to help build LGBTQIA+ competency training. The competency training that EPAAN will provide to ERIE Employees allows ERIE to continue creating a more diverse and inclusive work environment.” – Cody Empey, processing operations supervisor
Diversity & Inclusion at ERIE
Treating others with dignity and respect has been at the heart of ERIE’s values for nearly a century, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) has been a formal department at ERIE for more than a decade. While our eight employee affinity networks provide a platform for employees to celebrate and educate one another, other programs like our DE&I Awareness training, Employee Resource Groups and DE&I Leadership Council allow us to ensure and protect an even more inclusive workplace.