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Inspiration Personified: Amy Lee

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Wunderman Thompson executive assistant on celebrating and championing diversity

Inspiration Personified: Amy Lee

Wunderman Thompson are the inspiration experts.​ Because of this, we know that inspiration doesn’t come from any one place, but rather it should be drawn upon from a diverse and inclusive culture. ​

This allows us to see things differently, to reject conventional thinking and to push the boundaries of creative bravery.​ The emergence of hybrid working environments has meant that finding opportunities for meaningful connections and a sense of belonging are more important to protect and nurture than ever before. 

In this new environment, it’s imperative for businesses to actively build a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcome, valued, and heard. Our Business Employee Resource Groups are just one way we bring people together and provide a positive forum for development, education and idea exchange around a common interest. 

We now have 20 of these groups across the Wunderman Thompson network devoted to topics such as AAPI, Sustainability, Marginalised Ethnicities, Disability, Women and more. They’re a key component of what makes Wunderman Thompson inspiration experts, and ensure that their core values are reflected in every aspect of the company. 

In 2022 the company added Business to the existing ERG program, which creates more opportunities for the diverse voices of employees to directly impact their work. This is just one way we’re putting inclusive experiences at the heart of our business to help drive growth for our clients, and something we’re passionate about sharing to inspire the wider industry. By incorporating these groups, we take ownership and responsibility for creating culturally competent work that drives conversation to enrich our culture and wider society.

Here are thoughts from their members on what inspired their creation, and how they use them to inspire change from their corner of the world.


Name: Amy Lee

Title: Executive Assistant

City: Seattle 

Business + Employee Resource Group / Affinity: Family Style



Q> Please include a short intro to introduce yourself and your role?

Amy> Hi! I’m Amy and currently live in the Seattle area. I’ve been with Wunderman Thompson for five years and I am one of our executive assistants. I am a member of Family Style, our Wunderman Thompson AAPI B+ERG. I joined Wunderman Thompson with no prior agency experience and had never thought about building a career in advertising, but I fell in love with our people and the work we do. 


Q> What made you crave more cultural inspiration at work?

Amy> I grew up in a large bi-racial Asian-American family that celebrated and championed diversity. For me learning about and being inspired by people and hearing their stories has always been the norm. I’m thankful to work with people and for an agency that encourages me to share who I am. Being a member of Family Style has also helped me bring more of myself to work by providing opportunities for me to share and talk openly about parts of my Asian heritage and traditions that I had not in recent years.


Q> What is the purpose of your group? What is the change you are trying to achieve? 

Amy> Our group’s purpose is to uplift Asians of all backgrounds. We adopted the name Family Style because we wanted our members to look at us like family – someone you can call anytime and who has your back. Our motto is “There is always room at the table” because we also wanted our group to be inclusive of all Asian backgrounds. 

First and foremost, Family Style is meant to be a community for our Asian employees, but we also want to share our cultures with the larger Wunderman Thompson community. We’ve hosted events and Fireside Chats in the past to inspire our colleagues. We’ve also contributed to client work specifically looking to combat the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes.


Q> Why is your group important to the culture of Wunderman Thompson / the wider industry? 

Amy> We came together as Family Style in in the middle of the covid lockdowns and as anti-Asian sentiments and hate crimes rose. At the time there was not a collective place for our Asian employees to share and raise concerns. Our group was born from a desire to create a safe space for us to connect and support each other, but also prompt and take action when needed. 

One of the greatest contributions I think our group can make is to be a voice for the Asian community, not only at Wunderman Thompson but within our industry. The Asian community is often thought of as soft spoken and as Asians many of us have grown up being encouraged not to stir the pot and make too much trouble when problems arise. However, with the rise of anti-Asian rhetoric and hate crimes I believe it’s more important than ever for our communities to break that mould and speak up and act. I hope our group is able to continue to be a voice for Asians and also create space to celebrate and share our heritages with others.


Q> What’s been the best part about being involved in your group? 

Amy> My favourite part of Family Style is meeting new people and the friendships that I have developed. I always come away from our meetings with a new movie, book recommendation, playlist to listen to, or food or restaurant to try. Being a part of Family Style has also given me the chance to share more of myself at work and to find others who can relate and understand some of the Asian traditions and experiences I have.


Q> What happens when you get together?

Amy> We laugh and share what we’re listening to, watching, or reading. Sometimes we’ll have meals together - I’m hoping for more chances to get together in person this year with some of our members. While there’s many serious topics we could discuss, our real goal is to have fun together and get to know each other better to build a stronger community. 


Q> How has your group inspired change, both within Wunderman Thompson and the wider industry? 

Amy> Think here about what other employee resource groups learn from the work you’re doing!

We’ve been able to speak up as a group and raise concerns when there has been a problem. One example is continuing to make sure our Asian co-workers feel safe commuting because of the rise in crimes and violence against Asians, specifically in NY. We partnered with Wunderman Thompson to raise funding to provide an emergency safe ride for our group members should a need arise. 

We’ve also created opportunities within Wunderman Thompson to share about our cultures and heritages through events such as our Diwali celebration last fall, inviting speakers for Fireside Chats such as filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura, hosting an event with Parks Finest Restaurant, and more. The goal of our events is to inspire people by sharing stories from our communities and having fun while doing so. 


Q> Why is community important to you and what makes a good workplace community?

Amy> I believe a good community is a place where people feel safe to share openly and honestly, find space to grow both personally and professionally, and ultimately, it’s a place where we find belonging. It takes time to build a strong community and at times it won’t look perfect, but the process is ever evolving. A strong community grows together and creates space to welcome all. 

I feel thankful to be a part of Family Style and our B+ERGs. Being a part of them has given me an even greater sense of community and belonging within Wunderman Thompson. These groups have provided support, mentorship, and opportunities for me to grow in my career while being able to contribute to work and causes I’m passionate about.

 

Q> What is your advice for other agencies who are looking to foster a sense of community among employees, and expand the work they are doing internally to effect change for their clients/the industry?

Amy> The most important thing agencies can do is create space and time for employees to take part in things like B+ERG meetings. It’s taken time for me to get comfortable and confident enough to share more about myself at work. It’s also taken a couple years for our group to grow and we’re still working on building it up. Authentic and enduring growth can’t happen without creating space and time for people to start to build trust. 

Being a part of our groups has also reminded me that when pushing for changes we won’t always get it right, but we have to start somewhere and take the time to really listen and learn with compassion for each other when we might get it wrong. 


Q> How can these groups impact the wider industry?

Amy> I’ve heard a lot of talk in recent years about bringing our whole self to work and building a culture that fosters authenticity. For me, these groups help provide a place to put those desires into action by creating space for people to share openly and honestly with others who have shared experience or may be going through the same challenges. I’ve personally learned a lot from our group members, and I think it’s made me a better co-worker and expanded my views.

Part of our jobs is storytelling and the more stories we are exposed to the better we will understand people and our clients’ needs. Our groups can also provide a place for allies to ask questions and learn.

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Wunderman Thompson Atlanta, Tue, 24 Jan 2023 11:25:00 GMT