How are our employees taking action to make LS&Co. a more diverse and inclusive workplace? Our DE&I Champions series sets out to answer exactly that. Hear more below from Bria Cheng, our Lead Tailor at the Market Street store in San Francisco.
Share something that we wouldn’t know about you just by looking at you.
I grew up with a single mother and an incarcerated father. I am a first-generation professional. I have no college degree. The corporate world was the most foreign place possible for me.
Growing up, my dad told me that I would have to work 10 times as hard as most people because I am Asian, Latina and a woman. His advice helped me get to where I am, but these worries about exclusion have made me too cautious to be my authentic self. I was taught not to rock the boat.
As I got deeper into the matrix of Levi’s, I felt encouraged to show up as my whole self. I love seeing how many people at Levi’s show up as themselves and celebrate their differences.
I am slowly letting go of my internalized fears — my fears of not being accepted, my fears that my beginnings would determine my success.
I finally joined the Inside Out Employee Resource Group (ERG). Now I feel proud to say I am Asian, Latinx and queer.
Why is DE&I important to you?
I started my journey at LS&Co. five years ago on the sales floor as a stylist. Amazed by the talent in our store’s Tailor Shop, I knew I wanted to be a part of it somehow.
Lacking a formal design degree, the best trait I thought I had to offer was my willingness to learn. However, I was lucky to have leaders who recognized the opportunity to foster new talent. Diversity, equity and inclusion are three very essential topics for me. In my role as a leader, I seek out valuable traits and experiences, looking beyond degrees. I make a commitment to develop potential that I see, as others have done for me.
What is your call to action for your fellow LS&Co. employees and leaders?
Amplify the voices of others and support them in moments of courage. It is important for our actions to show our commitment to what we value, such as “Use Your Voice” and authenticity.
Be mindful of who is speaking in meetings and take note of who takes space. Seek out the input of others who may have been excluded.
You can support them in their moments of courage by amplifying their ideas. Endorse the original voicer’s idea and give them credit. When people know they are being heard, they will feel more encouraged to speak up.