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People & Culture

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Zurich’s Good NewZ faith-based ERG works to build bridges
Dec 20, 2021

Group collaborates with colleagues of many faiths and works with other ERGs at Zurich as well as community organizations to make a positive impact.

Good NewZ works with Community Leadership Fellows on the West Side of Chicago and helped provide the opportunity for several of its members to attend the Global Leadership Summit in August.

 

Zurich’s Good NewZ employee resource group (ERG) is finishing the year by celebrating the many religious holidays observed by Zurich employees throughout the year.  Employees of different faiths created videos describing their favorite religious holiday and their most treasured memories about family traditions and holiday celebrations. 

Underwriting Service Specialist II Sufia Khan created a video describing Eid Al-Fitr, which is a holiday that comes right after the holy month of Ramadan and is celebrated worldwide by Muslims. She loves that the holiday celebrations are full of joy as her family exchanges gifts, enjoys good food, and gathers with other family and friends.

Good NewZ also prepared for the Christian holiday of Christmas by holding weekly discussion groups where employees progressed through a study about the Advent season. December celebrations included employees sharing their favorite holiday songs and several different opportunities to support community charitable organizations.

Good NewZ is Christian-based and is Zurich’s only faith-based ERG, formed in 2018. The group collaborates broadly both within Zurich and beyond. Good NewZ has inspired an Interfaith Network group, where colleagues from different faiths work together to improve inclusion and belonging for everyone. Good NewZ also collaborates with the eight other employee resource groups at Zurich North America, which include the Zurich African Ancestry Alliance, LUZ (Latinos Unidos for Zurich), Emerging LeaderZ , WIN (Women’s Innovation Network), ZAAPI: (Zurich Asian American Pacific Islanders), PrideZ (advocating for inclusion of the LGBTQ community), AbilitieZ (raising awareness and support for disabled individuals)  and VETZ (Veterans Engagement Team). Good NewZ also frequently supports community organizations.

Community work on Chicago’s West Side
One such group is Community Leadership Fellows, which seeks to provide leadership development training to future community leaders on the West Side of Chicago. Through the collaboration with Good NewZ, several community leaders were able to attend the Global Leadership Summit in August.

“Good NewZ established a long-term relationship with community organizations on the West Side of Chicago, and especially the Austin neighborhood, in 2019,” said Julia Oltmanns, Outreach Coordinator for Good NewZ. “When we learned that they were looking for leadership development for the Fellows who go through the program, we thought that the Global Leadership Summit would be perfect.”

Collaborating with PrideZ
Good NewZ has focused on building bridges and increasing collaboration between ERGs during this past year. The ERG issued a statement on faith and the LGBTQ+ community regarding its commitment to “continue an open and inclusive dialogue about the intersection of faith and LGBTQ+.” The statement explained that “love, compassion and care will be our guiding principles in these conversations.” Good NewZ and PrideZ jointly hosted an event entitled “Beyond the Blame Game” in order to begin this important conversation. Good NewZ subsequently hosted a panel discussion where participants shared personal experiences and reflected on the need for greater care and support to be shown in the midst of transition or coming-out situations.

“We truly wanted to reject the way this topic is discussed online as an ‘us vs. them’ scenario, and instead lean in to learn about personal stories, build empathy, and explore how we can all love others more consistently,” said Lois Bushard, co-chair of Good NewZ.

Conversations on racial reconciliation
The ERG used a similar approach when it decided to lean into conversations about racial justice and equality. For 18 months, Good NewZ has hosted a monthly conversation on racial reconciliation that it calls the Be the Bridge Circle. In 2022, that group will shift to focus on a study regarding diversity and inclusion from a faith-based perspective. Good NewZ also jointly hosted a session on “Faith and Work in Black America,” which included panelists from the Common Good magazine, with another ERG, the Zurich African Ancestry Alliance.  

Good NewZ collaborated with several other ERGs this year as well as employees of different faiths. In 2022, the group looks for the Interfaith Network at Zurich to increase their efforts and look for further opportunities to educate all employees on faith inclusion as an aspect of diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging in the workplace.

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