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. This month’s featured champion is Amy Yang, managing director, Greater China. Amy shares the power of diversity as a competitive edge for business and her lived experiences that drive her to continue being a beacon of light for others to feel seen, heard and valued for who they are.
Q: Share something we wouldn’t know about you just by looking at you.
I took a seven-month sabbatical 10 years ago to travel the world solo and live in the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. This adventure was 200 km (about 124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, which led me to get lost in the rustic villages between the sky and the massive lavender fields.
This trip forever changed my life. I traveled alone without much careful planning beforehand, which translated into many surprises, good and bad, almost every single day. I learned to embrace these surprises, which were magnificently splendid and amazing — and occasionally shocking, scary and even frustrating at times.
I learned to laugh wholeheartedly with strangers and stayed cool when being laughed at sometimes. Most significantly, for my own personal growth, I’ve learned to smile in all circumstances and appreciate differences in many forms. What was most unexpected was meeting my soulmate in Burgundy, who became my husband three years later. We are now living happily together in Shanghai.
Q: Why is DE&I important to you as a leader?
I have always been passionate about DE&I because of my personal and professional experiences. Before my current role in Shanghai, I lived and worked in the U.S. for more than a decade. As an Asian woman, I spent a decade fighting for the equal rights and dignity of minority groups such as women, Asian heritage groups and the LGBTQIA+ community — working to ensure we have equal opportunities to progress professionally and to break the bamboo ceiling.
DE&I can help us create a magnetic workplace where we can attract and retain the best talent. It allows us to build a sense of belonging in the workplace where all our employees can be their authentic selves and feel fully accepted for who they are. DE&I is an important enabler to unleash fast business growth. It makes us stronger, more innovative and more empathetic to differences, which could translate into a competitive edge to outpace the competition.
When we expand from “core to more,” — more consumer segments, more subcategories or more channels and markets — our diversity mindset and muscles enable us to stay relevant and to innovate and design products that best resonate with diverse consumer groups in diverse markets. As proved by research, diverse teams nurture innovation and are more productive.
When different people with different skills, backgrounds and outlooks on life work together, there’s no limit to what they can create.
Q: What is your call to action to your fellow LS&Co. employees and leaders?
To borrow the tagline of our LGBTQIA+ employee resource group in Greater China and East Asia Pacific, the BeYou Alliance: “Be Proud, Be Bold and Be You.”
It is my sincere hope that every employee is proud of their own differences, whether they be gender, geography, cultural roots, sexual orientation or anything else. As leaders, let us create an environment where all employees can be their most authentic and best selves in the workplace.
Let us encourage each other to be bold and to step forward, to lead and never hold back. Let us help more people in the workplace thrive through more inclusive working environments that provide fulfilling careers. I have no doubt that we can all work to cultivate environments of openness and transparency where everyone feels heard, valued and supported together!