Celebrating Our Asian American and Pacific Islander Colleagues
At Merck, embracing diversity is key to cultivating an inclusive environment where everyone can contribute their most innovative ideas. During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month and beyond, we celebrate and take inspiration from our global workforce while embracing and encouraging allyship.
Through the work of our Asia Pacific Association (APA) employee business resource group (EBRG), we seek to serve the needs of AAPI community members around the world as they help elevate our work and drive our organization forward. Going further than traditional employee affinity organizations, EBRGs connect colleagues and provide opportunities for business insights, talent development and social action.
“We believe cross-cultural understanding is not only good for employees but also good for business,” said Moushmi Culver, vice president, head of manufacturing strategy & business development, and executive sponsor, APA EBRG. “That’s why our APA group is so active in terms of community outreach and support, talent development, social responsibility, and business integration, where we can effectively leverage diversity and provide insights to drive our company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
In their own words, some APA members share why this EBRG community is important to them:
Moushmi Culver, vice president, head of manufacturing strategy & business development, and executive sponsor, APA EBRG
The last 2 years of challenges — the pandemic, social injustices and catastrophic events — have taught us the positive impact that our community can have on each of us. APA has helped in many ways, including educating us on social issues, providing support with career development, informing business insights and, most importantly, connecting us with each other. These connections – in a group that has so much geographic and cultural diversity within itself — are especially important now.
Radhika Balasubramani, director, global science, engineering and commercialization organization, and global co-lead, APA EBRG
Born and raised in India and a woman of color in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field, I became the first in my family to achieve many milestones. This included moving to the U.S. to pursue my graduate degree and the first to work in a corporate environment. However, integrating into a new society and trying to be my authentic self can be challenging, especially while navigating a career and work culture.
APA EBRG provided me with a safe space and a sense of belonging with a community of people who shared similar cultural backgrounds, professional experiences and challenges. At the same time, we are constantly seeking ways to enhance cultural competency – being aware of one’s own identity, cultural beliefs and values, finding commonalities, learning about the different cultures of our colleagues and celebrating our differences. We do this by organizing various cultural events, providing insights for our business, implementing professional development initiatives, like our mentoring program, and actively pursuing efforts to give back to the community. As an EBRG leader, I take great pride in knowing that I’m able to indirectly enable the career progression of our members and influence key business decisions to serve our global population.
Richard Huang, associate director in Shanghai, China, supply chain management, and global co-lead, APA EBRG
As a second-generation, American-born Chinese, I had only “known” the culture through my upbringing but never experienced it firsthand. So, when I decided to pursue an assignment at our company in Shanghai, I was scared. But, I followed advice I received early in my career and have applied to all aspects of my professional development and decision-making ever since: Do what scares you the most.
When I first arrived in Shanghai, I experienced culture-shock, but it then evolved into an enlightening and fulfilling experience. I have not only learned more about my heritage but also how I can use my diverse experiences and skills to make a meaningful impact on the business.
Now, with my unique geographical position, I’m able to help broaden our EBRG’s reach and support the community and business in the Asia Pacific region. We look forward to building a diverse and social community of future leaders and bring forth the greatest opportunities and growth in individuals, organizations and the business.
Learn more about the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Progress Report.