DE&I all about “bringing humanity into the workplace”

Liberty Mutual VP looks forward to “truly phenomenal” Dive In event

DE&I all about “bringing humanity into the workplace”

Insurance News

By Bethan Moorcraft

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion is all about bringing humanity into the workplace.”

Those are the words of Mariana Fagnilli (pictured), a human rights and international law attorney, who joined the insurance industry in August 2020 to take the role of vice president & director, global office of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) at Liberty Mutual.

DE&I has always been a topic close to Fagnilli’s heart. Prior to joining Liberty Mutual, she worked in the banking, telecommunications, and healthcare industries, leading the development and implementation of advocacy and DE&I strategies. One of her biggest accomplishments is the creation and execution of health equity programs in the United States and European healthcare systems. Getting people access to healthcare, she said, was a cause “near to her heart,” and relates to her goal of “bringing humanity into the workplace”.

“Working within corporate America, I saw this opportunity in DE&I to bring it all together. DE&I is nothing if it’s not really built into the DNA of an organization - that’s why I do what I do,” said Fagnilli. “And I think companies are also starting to realize that and take action.”

Liberty Mutual, a US-based diversified global insurer, is a gold sponsor for Dive In 2021, the global festival for DE&I in insurance, taking place in a hybrid format from September 21-23. Returning for its seventh year, the theme of Dive In 2021 is active allyship, and the educational sessions will touch a vast range of topics from LGBTQ+ to neurodiversity, generational differences, the work-life balance, mental health, and more.

“I think the Dive In festival is truly phenomenal in that it’s an opportunity to bring industry competitors together behind shared objectives,” said Fagnilli. “DE&I is something that we all need to do better at for the sake of our industry, our employees, and our customers. At Liberty Mutual, we see this as an opportunity, we see the need, and we’re very excited to work with Dive In to bring everyone together and help build a better industry for all.”

This year’s Dive In theme of active allyship “speaks to” Fagnilli, who said that allyship is crucial for the successful integration of DE&I – in other words, “humanity” – into the workplace.

Active allyship is something that Liberty Mutual has been pushing for some time. In 2017, the insurer launched a program called Men as Allies, with the intention of encouraging more male employees to engage with employee resources groups (ERGs) and become champions for colleagues across the whole spectrum of DE&I. The insurer has developed other allyship programs within its Pride at Liberty ERG, which represents the LGBTQ+ community, and within its race and ethnicity collaboration.

“This year, we’re taking this a step further to build allyship within other dimensions of diversity,” said Fagnilli. “Our intention is to understand how underrepresented groups have been left behind and what we need to do […] to build a better culture – a culture of inclusion, a culture where everyone feels counted, a culture where we can talk openly about topics that sometimes we don’t talk enough about.

“It’s important to understand that we all come to work in the same physical space, but we don’t all have the same work experience – and that’s not because the company culture is different; it’s because we all have different life experiences. Active allyship programs can really open our eyes, open our hearts, and build more human connections, which will help us to advance conversations in a way that will build equity across different practices and systems within our organizations. We’re focusing on allyship at Liberty Mutual because we believe it lies at the centre of what we need to achieve with DE&I.”

Since the first ever Dive In festival in 2015, the insurance industry has made great strides with DE&I, moving steadily from awareness to action across more and more areas of diversity. Allyship has been, and will continue to be, key to this progression, according to Fagnilli.

“Allyship plays a key role in DE&I,” she said. “If we don’t listen, if we don’t lean in, if we don’t understand and start championing each other, or give people a voice who, historically, may not have had a voice or a seat at the table, then we’re going to miss the opportunity to develop successful and sustainable organizations for the future. Insurance organizations are social enterprises; DE&I is at the core of who we are, but it’s a work in progress. We all have work to do, personally and as organizations, and I cannot wait for Dive In because I know we’re going to share best practices across the board, we’re going to learn, connect, and come together to build a better industry for everyone.”  

Find out more and register for this year’s Dive In Festival now.

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