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AECOM hosts Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) week in Asia

AECOM hosts Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) week in Asia

 March 01, 2022

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March sees International Women’s Day so it's a timely opportunity to share valuable experiences such as AECOM’s inaugural Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) Week launched in August 2021 for its employees in Asia. Led by Regional Chief Executive for Asia, Ian Chung, ED&I Week was in recognition that AECOM’s Asia team is operating in one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world. 

Calling for everyone’s active support to driving this important culture, Ian Chung said: "This is a new annual event we are launching internally, dedicated to our employees across the region. We believe ED&I is fundamental in giving everyone the opportunities to excel and thrive in both their professional and personal lives."

In the below video Ian welcomes everyone to the ED&I Week in Asia and shares key messages about the importance of ED&I.   

Co-organizers of the program, Shirley Tan, AECOM Vice President of Human Resources, Asia and Chair of Asia ED&I Steering Council, and Patrick Chao, Senior Vice President of Asia Operations and at the time Co-Chair of Asia ESG Council invited all colleagues to: "Join us in making quality time this week to elevate Equity, Diversity & Inclusion for each other and our communities. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how the diversity of our Asia Region team enriches each other’s work. Let’s include and empower everyone to contribute their best."

Equally important was the message of commitment from AECOM’s Asia leadership team to continuously drive equity, diversity and inclusion in the interests of every employee’s professional development and growth. 

A major focus of the week-long program was educating and engaging by sharing personal perspectives and experiences, through transparent and open communications by sub-regional AECOM leaders and a cross-section of staff from different locations, business lines and personal backgrounds.

Building an inclusive team from the top


AECOM Asia leaders shone the spotlight on how the building of inclusive teams is impacting and being impacted by global dynamics beyond the company and industry.

Peter Yung, AECOM Vice President for Taiwan, said: “For me, equity, diversity and inclusion are the key elements for a team to succeed. At AECOM, we strive to create an inclusive workplace that values all employees and supports their growth. We aim to cultivate a culture where people are empowered to express themselves freely and given equal opportunities to grow in their careers."

Ju Heng, Senior Vice President for AECOM in Mainland China shared further insight, commenting that: “Equity, diversity and inclusion are more important than ever before. Although mega-trends such as globalization, urbanization, individualism and technology revolution increase diversity in the workplace, equity and inclusion do not naturally follow — they must be driven by people’s commitment to make them happen for each other.”

The impact of the global pandemic on work and the workplace was addressed by Patrick Wong, Sub-Regional Leader for AECOM in Southeast Asia at the time:* “As the global pandemic has opened up a new world of remote working and social distancing, workplace inclusion has taken on a different angle.” He encouraged employees to consider how to create an inclusive workplace in this new paradigm.

Avinash Misra, Chief Executive of AECOM in India** summarised: “I believe diversity is equivalent to strength. Because of our diverse workforce, we are able to provide innovative solutions to our clients by pushing everyone to look at things from different perspectives. The key is not only to bring people together with diverse points of view but also to embrace differences.”

Further ED&I related articles and resources were made available to help employees find out more, topics included skills for inclusive conversations and ways to become a better ally.

Sustained growth and success starts with a sense of belonging 

Linda Bao, an AECOM Executive Director in Mainland China Sub-Region reflected: "As a female leader, I am honored to experience the culture of AECOM which embraces ED&I. It is truly gratifying to take a leadership role in a company which promotes ED&I and builds an inclusive workplace. I was one of the female leaders who participated in the leadership panel talk and shared my personal experiences of self-belief, resilience and development. I was impressed by the questions raised by participating colleagues, reflecting their immense passion and willingness to grow. I am happy to see AECOM attract talent from diverse backgrounds as that will in turn create more possibilities for us in being an innovative organization."

Dr Thomas SK Tang, Executive Director, Land Supply / Municipal, for AECOM in Hong Kong said: "The nature of our work often involves collaborating with colleagues in overseas offices and reaching across cultural boundaries in order to meet client needs. It is important to build up the team spirit such that each team member is informed of what the other teammates are doing, and how we can help one another. We have communication tools but nothing replaces a close working relationship within the team based on mutual respect and inclusivity. We need to open our minds and appreciate what is valuable in the differences in our cultures, experience, and current circumstances. My advice for teams and individuals who want to achieve success is to learn how to respect, listen and be empathetic."

Building an open-minded and sharing culture

AECOM Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Week

Shirley Chen, Executive Director, Landscape Architecture, Urbanism + Planning in Hong Kong explained how she is helping to build diverse and inclusive teams through more knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Cultural diversity and inclusivity are very much strong and apparent in AECOM's Urbanism + Planning team in Hong Kong. Team members come from different nations with different cultures, ways of thinking and practices.

"We encourage all leaders and managers to be open-minded to their members’ ideas and suggestions and have decision-making in line with our core values. Inclusivity is an important value to our business line. We value and embrace various voices and opinions from the team and offer different opportunities for our colleagues to grow," said Shirley. 

"Part of developing our competencies means making our services diverse, creative and flexible, as clients expect high quality and unique designs for each project. The diversity of our teams plays an important role in delivering our work. To ensure efficient and harmonious teamwork, we listen to everyone’s ideas, embrace cultural differences, and apply flexible management."

In addition to hiring based on technical experience, Shirley's team at AECOM seek people who are positive and open to helping build a diverse yet inclusive team culture. They launched the “Sunburst Program” to enhance interaction among colleagues and provide them with an opportunity to share ideas, exchange knowledge, connect with other teams, and have fun past work hours.

Connecting and creating learning opportunities

AECOM's ED&I week also highlighted the Asia region's CONNECT program that aims to provide a platform for young professionals to connect and create learning opportunities that will enhance their knowledge and support their career progression.

"Since we began the CONNECT initiative two years ago in Beijing, AECOM CONNECT has established itself as a sort of extension to our brand. The philosophy behind this program is very simple: to informally gather our colleagues to learn from each other, and expand that reach externally to clients, other disciplines, strategic partners and future leaders within our professions," explained Wilson Qian, an AECOM Associate in Urban in Mainland China. 

"But most importantly, we hope we can use this initiative to connect to the community that we serve, and ultimately to the people who use the services we help build. Our hope is that this program continues for a long time, and together with our ED&I initiative, we can further strengthen the values that make us AECOM and help us deliver a better world."


And, as International Women’s Day 2022 draws closer, it is apt to round up this retrospect with Womentoring, which was communicated during AECOM Asia’s ED&I Week in recognition that gender balance has yet to be achieved for the infrastructure industry in the region, and as a commitment by AECOM to provide more structured opportunities and support for the career development of women in the organization.

The Program will provide female AECOM employees in Asia Region with a network of senior female leaders who will draw from their own experiences to provide counselling, coaching and more exposure to new areas of the business. The program will also support and build female communities within the organization, recognizing that women may face different challenges and may have unique needs in the workplace.

Embracing different worldviews and respecting others

Shirley Tan closed the inspirational week with a message to colleagues: "It has been wonderful celebrating the Asia Region's ED&I Week. We take this opportunity to thank all our Asia region colleagues and their co-workers for such a warm response. The heartfelt anecdotes and experiences shared by you only reinforce our commitment to lead our industry by embracing different world views and respecting people for who they are. We request you to keep facilitating us in advancing ED&I-focused opportunities and help us in enriching the communities we live and work in." 

AECOM concluded the week by asking its people 'What can you do next?' and encouraged employees to share their MyInclusion@AECOM story to help celebrate the Asia region's diverse community and to encourage a more inclusive culture within AECOM.

Work for a company that has a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion

AECOM empowers its employees through a workplace environment where people feel they belong and have the support to realize their full potential.

Thrive in a rewarding career with AECOM. Search their latest job vacancies.

*Effective October 1, 2021, Patrick Wong took up a new role at AECOM leading Corporate Strategic Initiatives for Asia Region.
**India was a sub-region of the AECOM Asia region in FY21.


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