“Diwali is a time for new beginnings,” says Ajay Aggarwal, a member of the U.S. Bank Asian Heritage Business Resource Group (BRG).
The group – which spans the globe through a virtual chapter as well as local chapters in Seattle, Southern California and the Twin Cities – is a way for employees to stay connected, learn about their colleagues, give back to the community and contribute directly to business results.
U.S. Bank is proud to celebrate Diwali alongside the Asian Indian community, and stay involved all year long, through community involvement and the work of our employees, who volunteer more than 100,000 hours every year.
Ajay Aggarwal, Irvine, CA: The Asian Heritage BRG is great resource for my development and growth. I get the opportunity to connect with my fellow employees at a personal level. Overall, our BRGs are a great asset to U.S. Bank, allowing people to learn about other cultures and areas of the business all in one. These groups also give employees the chance to meet one-on-one with higher-level management.
Kulveer Sangha, Seattle: The BRG aligns with our core value: We draw strength from diversity. Not only does the BRG give an opportunity for all Asian Heritages but also for allies to understand more about all of the Asian cultures. It also helps promote our values of diversity and inclusion to our customers.
Neha Stringfellow, Hamilton, OH: The biggest joy of being part of this BRG is to be part of U.S. Bank’s diversity and inclusion efforts to make all employees proud of their cultural heritage and comfortable bringing their full selves to work. All our BRGs are very important. They create employee engagement by fostering an inclusive environment in which employees from all backgrounds feel like they belong and have an important part to play in the U.S. Bank family. They create awareness about different cultures, helping employees understand one another, and our customers, better. And, we’re able to leverage the BRGs as a resource to drive growth for the company.
Aggarwal: I’m proud of all the events I’ve been part of. Celebrating Lunar New Year earlier this year, for example. When all our BRGs come together, it shows that U.S. Bank is a real part of the communities that we serve. Different communities feel more comfortable doing business with us when they see that we are the same as they are.
Stringfellow: I’m proud of all the BRG events I’ve had the opportunity to be part of, too. I am really looking forward to the Diwali events organized by the different chapters of the Asian Heritage BRG this year. I am thrilled that not only does U.S. Bank acknowledge Diwali, but we celebrate it. It gives me a huge sense of validation and pride to be part of this wonderful organization.
Sangha: I celebrate every year with my wife and her family. We set up a Rangoli (designs made with colorful rice or flour) to bring good luck. Our house is also full of candles because Diwali is the festival of lights.
Aggarwal: Diwali is Hindu festival of lights – a festival of new beginnings. Many people use the holiday to start new ventures, or even new thought processes. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends – we prepare Indian food and enjoy with family.
Stringfellow: When I lived in India, I used to celebrate Diwali with my family and friends with huge Rangoli, my mom’s amazing food, tons of fireworks and by decorating my parents’ house with lights and traditional lamps. My favorite Diwali was 2011. That year, I was able to travel to India for Diwali with my husband (who is not Indian) and introduce him to the authentic Indian Diwali. My husband participated in making a huge Rangoli that he still proudly displays on his social media profile page seven years later!
Story by Arielle Goldberg of U.S. Bank. Learn more about how the bank celebrates Diwali at usbank.com/diwali.