Insurance giant AIG was joined by some giants of the sporting world last week as the New Zealand All Blacks and Black Ferns visited the company’s Sydney office (pictured).
The six players, including team captains Kieran Read and Fiao’o Fa’amausili, stepped away from the playing field to showcase their culinary talents, joining AIG staff for a cultural cooking class.
“I’d like to consider myself a bit of a master chef,” joked Black Ferns lock Eloise Blackwell. “I’m not too good at desserts or baking but I’m pretty good at main dishes.”
The Kiwi favourites donned aprons and pitched in to help cook a range of dishes from various countries – including Vietnam, Spain and Mexico – as AIG sought to engage staff while also promoting diversity and inclusion.
“We wanted to create an event today that was quite diverse and that everyone could participate in, whether you love rugby or not,” said Scott Bunting, AIG’s general manager for NSW and ACT.
“Diversity is really important for us at AIG, we’ve got over 350 employees here, and we want everyone to feel respected and valued and to have a voice,” he told Insurance Business. “We believe that creates better value for our business and better results for our customers.”
The event comes as AIG continues to collaborate with New Zealand Rugby on a global campaign dubbed ‘Effort is Effort’ which aims to promote the power of difference.
“The key message is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s what you bring and the value you add,” said Bunting.
Both Read and Blackwell were keen to throw their support behind the importance of diversity, saying their teams wouldn’t be successful without it.
“Diversity and inclusion is really important for us as a team,” said Read. “It’s really important to welcome everybody into the team no matter what their background is.”
Blackwell also added that it’s important to recognise, embrace and celebrate different cultures as they’re often incredibly special to individuals within a wider team.
“Since the start of the Black Ferns, we’ve been diverse and that’s probably one of the key things that makes our team so successful,” she told Insurance Business. “We have people from all different cultures and we’re able to come together with one common goal and that’s to play rugby and represent our families and our countries.”