What does every successful organization want to do today? Attract the best and brightest talent within their industry. This also means there has to be diversity of thought, culture and ideas.
This month, Sodexo received the Asia Society’s “Honor for Distinguished Practice” for 2012 Best Company in Promoting Asian Pacific Americans into Senior Leadership Positions. I am especially proud since 80% of the award was determined by the responses provided by Sodexo’s Asian American employees.
I have been so fortunate to have worked for the same company for many years; this has given me the advantage of building a large network and knowing the business from a variety of aspects. Over time I have connected with many colleagues that have not been born and raised in the United States, who have sought out opportunities to connect through common work/projects and social events.
Through these common connections we helped set up a network group within Sodexo called PANG (Pan Asian Network Group). The idea being, we share a common culture or heritage and there are others that want to know more about it. As we networked and thought about the many ways we hoped to interact, we discovered we wanted to learn from each other’s experience, to share, as well as to give back to our great organization and we also wanted to have fun together as a group.
We began hosting an annual event to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which initially started as a social activity where we shared our common cultures.. But we quickly realized it was also a great opportunity for us to provide a value to the membership in ways which help them be successful overall. There is no doubt that we have evolved through many years of celebrations. This month is celebrated with career enriching workshops, guest speakers that share their journeys to success, cultural sharing of food, fun and more.
With many of us being first generation immigrants, our community is important to us. We believe in hard work and making progress, and we feel strongly about giving back – both to our company and to our communities. PANG has been one of those many opportunities where we take from it what we put in. It helps us continue the dialogue around diversity and inclusion; it allows us to support workshops that are geared to improving the areas that we may not be comfortable. Above all, PANG assists in sharing who we are, where we have come from and what we bring to the table, which adds value to our communities and the organizations in which we work..
Mohamood Bhatia is a senior vice president of finance for Sodexo and a member of PANG.