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Securian Financial

Securian Women and Allies Network: Champions of gender equity

The employee resource group advocates for gender equity and diversity in our workforce and community

As we celebrate women and understand their contributions and obstacles in American history each March, our Securian Women and Allies Network (SWAN) celebrates its own history.

SWAN is one of our six employee resource groups (ERGs), which have a critical role in continually helping to build diversity, equity and inclusion into our company’s culture and ultimately helping us be a better company.

Spotlight on Securian Women and Allies Network

SWAN works to increase gender equity and diversity by fostering an environment that supports, educates and empowers all women at Securian Financial and in the broader community. The group champions a culture where women are respected, promoted and encouraged to achieve their highest aspirations.  

The evolution of SWAN itself reflects attentiveness toward women’s preferences and finding new ways to support them.

  • Part of the group began in 2013 as Inspiring Women in Technology (IWiT) to support women in technology-related roles and later all STEM-related roles at Securian Financial. 
  • Women RISE was formed in 2019 after the success of Lean In discussion circles at Securian that provided support, resources, education and networking opportunities to help women achieve their goals. 
  • Finally, in 2021 the two groups merged into SWAN to support all women in all roles. And the term “allies” in the name means SWAN has a place for everyone with a passion for its mission.

Goals

SWAN strives to provide a safe place for women to speak freely, create more awareness and educate all Securian employees about the importance of gender equity advocacy. The group provides programming that helps women achieve their goals, gain leadership skills and network.

“Two of my favorite things about being involved with SWAN are the amazing community I have found and the way we help drive diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the company,” says Jennifer Wolf, SWAN executive sponsor and second vice president, Investment Law, Securian Asset Management, a Securian Financial subsidiary.

Securian women and allies network members

Key accomplishments

SWAN has hosted a variety of events that support Securian employees and our community.

  • Book clubs: Open to all employees, these clubs facilitated discussion based on the books Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, How Women Rise by Marshall Goldsmith and Sally Helgesen, and Radical Candor by Kim Scott.
  • Networking events provide opportunities to meet and learn from colleagues across the organization.
  • Women’s History Month events featured guest speakers and volunteer opportunities to support awareness of gender equality issues and provide learning opportunities, including a discussion with WomenVenture CEO LeeAnn Rasachak. 
  • Community sponsorships and volunteerism: SWAN supports multiple organizations in our community, including Minnesota Aspirations in Computing and YWCA. In 2021, Securian sponsored the first high school intern in Enterprise Technology through the Aspirations high school intern program. SWAN also hosted a successful winter coat drive and food basket packing event for the YWCA alongside our Securian Multicultural Network.

“The Lean In and How Women Rise discussion groups gave me the courage to make my career goals known,” says Alison Lehman, SWAN co-chair and Compliance senior manager at Securian. “When a retirement was announced in my department, I reached out to the head of our department to express my interest in re-defining that role and what I thought the team could become. He recommended I submit a written job proposal. In the end, he and the hiring manager liked the direction I wanted to take the team and hired me to be the team’s next leader.”

Defining DEI at Securian Financial

Long-term priorities around diversity, equity and inclusion help us be a better company while delivering on our purpose: helping our customers build secure tomorrows. Key components of Securian Financial’s DEI program include:

  • Top-level support through the DEI Council, which is led by our CEO Chris Hilger and Chief Diversity Officer Dexter Davis.
  • Educational programming to help our employees understand and engage in DEI topics through awareness, equity, inclusion, allyship and cultural competence.
  • Diversifying our talent pipelines through recruiting, hiring, employee development and retention efforts.
  • Actively seeking diverse businesses as part of our supplier diversity program to help our supply chain reflect the communities and customers we serve.
  • Community giving programs that directly support underrepresented members of our communities.

Employee resource groups that support underrepresented populations and help create a more aware, respectful and inclusive workplace.

Building a culture of DEI

Employee resource groups are integral to our DEI program and company’s culture.

Read how ERGs work

Jennifer Wolf and Alison Lehman are Securian Financial employees and therefore have a financial connection to Securian Financial. Their statements were given freely.

DOFU 4-2022
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