June is Pride Month. To honor the occasion, we gathered insights from three members of PIMCO’s employee resource groups (ERG) around the world to get their perspectives on the importance of inclusivity in the workplace. These employee-led groups strive to foster a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture.
EVP, head of Latin America and the Caribbean
Ally of PIMCO PRIDE and PIMCO Women
Why are visible allies important?
Active allies are critical in creating an inclusive work environment that is welcoming to all employees. To arrive at better outcomes, we need a range of ideas and perspectives from all employees.
As an ally, and a manager, I want to create an environment where employees feel comfortable being their authentic selves. Being authentic at work creates stronger and better relationships, which contributes to greater trust and a more positive working environment. The past year has certainly blurred the lines between work and home for many, and provided an opening to bring more of one’s self to work. When leaders bring their full selves to work, we live our values and encourage others to do the same. This is particularly important for LGBTQ+ colleagues who, at times, may not have felt that they had the space to do this.
What does being an effective ally mean to you?
Being an effective advocate and ally has meant recognizing blind spots, addressing unconscious bias, and educating myself and others on the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. For example, we must keep in mind how the intersectionality of overlapping identities (e.g., being Hispanic and gay) can create a highly differentiated and complex set of lived experiences. It is an ongoing learning process that impacts us all personally and professionally.
Outside of work, I have advocated for curiosity and respect for all others in my kids starting at a young age by speaking openly and leading through example. One of the reasons I care so much about allyship and advocacy is that I want to set a strong example for my children. Given my own intersecting identities as a woman and Hispanic, and an upbringing where gender norms were reinforced from a very young age, this has involved deliberate conversations and constant re-examination of my own biases.
Chee Yang Lam
EVP, head of Asia Operations and Trade Support
ERG steering committee lead – APAC, and PIMCO PRIDE Ally
Why did you become a PIMCO PRIDE ally?
Learning is the first step to becoming an effective ally. I first learned about the pain an LGBTQ+ person goes through when a colleague from the New York office visited Hong Kong in 2018. While getting to know each other, he shared events from his life with me. I could relate to his pain. I’ve been discriminated against because of my race and country of origin. It exists in many forms and often those forms intersect in one person, who may, for example, be gay and be a minority. My colleague’s stories brought to mind my own, reminding me that this is not an experience I enjoyed and not one that I want people around me – including friends, family, and colleagues – to have. No one deserves to be made to feel “other” because of their sexual orientation or any other innate characteristic.
What benefits has a culture of inclusion brought to your department?
As a manager, we built a winning team by creating an encouraging and inclusive environment for our group in which they can be more secure, happier, and more productive. This requires commitment, but we believe it is both morally right and a good business decision. The results speak for themselves. Our productivity and employee retention have increased.
VP, account manager
PIMCO PRIDE Member, London
How do you view the importance of intersectionality at PIMCO?
PIMCO’s leadership in fixed income would not have been possible without a culture that embraces diverse points of view and values authenticity. Openness is one of PIMCO’s core values; being fair and open-minded is how we face and overcome challenges. We approach diversity in a holistic, intersectional way, aiming to remove siloes across different groups, as each of us has multiple layers. Intersectionality is a way of understanding how and why every individual’s view of the world is different, which requires awareness of our biases along with the willingness to understand each other’s perspective and experience. In PIMCO PRIDE, we realize that social identities are multifaceted and we work closely with different groups to strengthen a culture that enables everyone to be their authentic self.
Learn more about PIMCO’s Inclusion and Diversity initiatives.