Continuing a tradition they started in 2018, Aviva Canada has garnered a contingent to participate in this year’s Toronto Pride Parade on June 25. Taking the lead are Aviva’s CEO Jason Storah, and several members of the executive team, including Chief People Officer Danny Davies, and Chief Risk Officer Rahul Gumber who co-sponsor Aviva Pride. They are targeting 1,000 and will be marching alongside their teams from underwriting and claims, to distribution, their families and broker partners.
“For us at Aviva, it’s about action, not talk. It’s brilliant that our people, their families, and our broker partners can all join us in walking the walk, to show their support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community,” says Gumber. “We know we can’t do this alone. Together, we can foster a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone feels celebrated, valued and respected. In a world where it is still not safe for everyone to be themselves, this truly matters.”
This is the fourth year that Aviva Canada is participating in the parade, having taken a pause in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.
Beyond the parade: Aviva’s ongoing DE&I commitment
Aviva Canada has been focused on its diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy for several years, working on building a workplace where people can be themselves, without fear of judgement. Aviva has five people-led, executive sponsored DE&I communities that focus on: race and ethnicity, 2SLGBTQIA+, age, disabilities and gender.
These communities continue to make an impact within Aviva.
Take the 2SLGBTQIA+ community as an example. Aviva introduced all-gender washrooms in its offices in 2019. To help those who are transitioning, the insurer supported the people-led Pride community in developing transitioning in the workplace guidelines for its people and leaders, promoted education on pronoun awareness, and refreshed their policies and job descriptions for inclusivity.
When Jameson H. came out as trans in the workplace in 2017, he was petrified. Having little experience in the industry, but knowing its reputation of being somewhat conservative, he wasn’t sure how his employer, Aviva, would react. Would his transition be supported? Would his job be secure?
To his relief, his leader and colleagues were very supportive. “But that said, I never wanted another trans or gender diverse person to have the same initial fears I did, so I joined the Aviva Pride community as soon as it formed,” says Jameson.
For people like him, Aviva’s efforts mean one less worry, allowing him to use that energy to focus on work. “Aviva has become a place where more and more people feel comfortable coming to work as themselves. I couldn’t be prouder of all that Aviva Pride has accomplished,” says Jameson.
Inclusion is a core part of Aviva
Inclusion is engrained in Aviva’s strategy and lived day-to-day through their people at all levels of the organization, from senior executives to all other insurance professionals.
“Our inclusion strategy is working because our focus areas are clear, and we’re ruthless in our prioritization, which may seem ironic when talking about inclusivity,” says Davies. “We are focused on building a culture where everyone at Aviva can grow and succeed in their career by being themselves.”
Through building its talent pipeline, development of women and solid succession planning, Aviva Canada achieved 50/50 male-female split at the VP+ level, and 35% visible minorities in those roles, in 2020. Aviva knows that their work is nowhere near done.
“We need to do better as an industry,” says Davies. “Step up to make insurance a more diverse and inclusive sector. We are still very male dominated, and white, especially in senior roles – that’s far from the diversity of the customers we serve. For Aviva Canada, that’s one of our priorities and we will keep working at it.”