Based on recent events, Athene recognized the need to identify opportunities to support employees and our community develop and broaden awareness of how inequity and racism affects our lives and our community. Athene is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and we believe as a company and community, we are stronger when we stand together.
In response, Athene became a corporate sponsor of the inaugural 21-day Equity Challenge in October 2020, with Kristi Burma, EVP of HR, serving as a member of the Equity Challenge Steering Committee. The program was designed to help individuals learn more about the biases and inequalities that exist in our communities and come to a common understanding as we begin to address these issues.
Grant Kvalheim, CEO & President Athene USA, sent an invite to employees challenging them to participate in the 21-day Equity Challenge. Once registered, participants received an email each of the 21 days with links to articles, videos, and podcasts with a different topic such as: Understanding Systemic Racism, The Effects of Racism, Understanding Bias & Privilege, Housing & Redlining, Wealth & Income, Justice System, LGBTQ+ , Immigrants & Refugees, Disability, Healthcare, Allyship and more.
In addition, each week participants were invited to join a “Courageous Conversations – Stronger Together” discussion facilitated by a member of the Athene DE&I council. During the discussion participants furthered explored the material, debated questions, and shared personal experiences to begin having uncomfortable conversations around inequity and bias in the workplace and community.
We had over 300 Athene employees from all business locations register and participate in the 21-day equity challenge and we conducted 5 separate “Courageous Conversations – Stronger Together” discussions each week of the program. We are now working on Day 22 and beyond – how to keep the conversation and action going.