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A Glimpse at ERIE’s Affinity Networks

At Erie Insurance, one way that we deliver on our promise to be a great place to work is to promote and celebrate diversity.

Our affinity networks are voluntary, employee-led organizations formed by employees when they express a desire to start them. The networks are supported, funded and endorsed by ERIE and have a sponsor from ERIE leadership who is actively engaged in the network. Our affinity networks have grown and evolved over time, but they each strive to build a culture of inclusion.

Affinity Networks at Erie Insurance

At ERIE we have nine networks designed to foster diversity awareness. Many of them have earned recognition from the Global ERG Network. Hear from our employees what their affinity network means to them.

Women’s Affinity Network

Our Women’s Affinity Network (WAN) aims to break down gender barriers and promote understanding of gender differences all while creating confident, effective female leaders at all levels of ERIE. Through development workshops and mentorship programs, WAN encourages women to feel empowered and set goals they may not have considered before.

“When I began my career in insurance 23 years ago, there were only a handful of women in claims and fewer female mentors and role models. I love seeing more women seeking careers in previously male-dominated fields and want to be able to support and encourage other women to do the same.” – Nanci Smilie, litigation specialist, Wisconsin Branch

Asian Pacific Affinity Network

Our Asian Pacific Affinity Network fosters Asian cultural awareness among all ERIE employees. Educational events such as a speaker series and cooking tutorials allow employees to connect with one another and learn about Asian Pacific culture. An employee favorite event is our annual Diwali celebration, celebrating India’s “festival of lights.” APAN members share Indian food, cookbooks and crafts kits and engage with other ERIE employees for cultural performances. 

Coming from a different background, I value diversity and inclusiveness and always look for ways to be part of it, celebrate it and contribute to it. When we first introduced Diwali to ERIE, I talked about it with great pride and honor with my daughters, who are still learning about India and its culture. This year my kids asked if they could invite their classmates home to celebrate Diwali and partake in the festivities. My children said it was the most memorable Diwali because we were able to share the celebration with people from different cultures and backgrounds. -Vidhya Suvarna, IT manager

enABLEd Affinity Network

Our Network for Adaptive Behaviors Leading to Education on Disabilities, or enABLEd, raises awareness and understanding of neurological, learning and physical differences.   The network introduces new skills to ERIE employees that create positive wellness — intellectually, spiritually, physically and emotionally. Activities include educational workshops, 15-minute breathing exercises and a virtual art exhibit.

“I want to help change the perception of mental illness. I believe we can end negative stigmas and put to rest stereotyping if we educate ourselves and others. This affinity group will ‘enable’ us to educate others, access creative learning opportunities and foster an inclusive work environment. I am super excited and proud to be a part of this movement.” – MJ Dore, customer service director

Veterans Affinity Network

Our Veterans Affinity Network brings together veterans, their family members and supporters. The goal of the group is to assist them in the workplace at ERIE through career mentoring and coaching, resume review and advice, and collaborative efforts to honor and celebrate those who have served. The group hosts events to commemorate the All Services Day Celebration, Flag Day and Veterans Day. 

“From mailing care packages to putting wreaths in cemeteries, VAN provides opportunities for employees to serve the men and women that sacrificed for our freedom. I am incredibly honored and grateful for the opportunity to be part of VAN’s leadership team.”  – Debbie Clem, claims and litigation manager

Generation Connection Affinity Network

ERIE employs individuals of every generation, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z – and each generation is shaped differently through historical events and values of that era. Generation Connection brings a lens to these differences and how we can learn from one another to bridge the generation gap.

“We hope to influence diverse thinking to span generations.In preparing for our upcoming general membership meeting and listening to a panel discussion about the value of knowledge transfer, it struck me that one of the key benefits was the discussion itself and how that acted as a catalyst. We’re looking to incorporate more experiential activities into our network to help deepen the confidence and support skills of teams members. ” – Cathy Gilham, IT analyst

African American Affinity Network

Our African American Affinity Network helps to educate employees on the culture and heritage of the Black community. The network offers a safe space to discuss current issues facing many African Americans and offers various discussion panels and events during Juneteenth and Black History Month.

“I love being a part of EAAN because it provides a great outlet to discuss issues that concern African Americans inside and outside of Erie Insurance. We’ve built a strong and supportive family and we’ve seen the power of these conversations translate into diversity improvements for the organization.” – Fred Johnson, vice president and Wisconsin branch manager

Dignity and Respect Affinity Network

Our Dignity and Respect Affinity Network promotes inclusiveness through fostering an environment where diverse cultures, opinions and lifestyles are met with understanding and dialogue. Their D&R Trust Series helps employees understand what it means to meet in the middle of differing opinions and identifies strategies to work through differences.

“I’ve learned so much about myself and others, I’ve made many new friends and connections, and I’ve been grateful to help further our mission to make dignity and respect a ‘built in’ part of our company culture – it’s been one of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences I’ve had at ERIE!” – Sharon Trevino, workplace planning services manager

Pride Alliance Affinity Network

The mission of ERIE’s Pride Alliance Affinity Network’s (EPAAN) is to create an environment where every employee can be comfortable sharing their authentic selves, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Members provide competency training around what it means to be an ally and provide LGBTQIA+ resources for employees.

“As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I am passionate about and proud of the work that EPAAN does to promote equality visibility at ERIE. EPAAN’s competency training, Pronoun Project partnership and work on the HRC Corporate Equality Index allow ERIE to continue creating a more diverse and inclusive work environment for all employees.” – Cody Empey, product development specialist

Hispanic American Affinity Network

ERIE’s Hispanic American Affinity Network (HAAN) cultivates a community (una comunidad) that champions Hispanic and Latinx heritage to foster diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging across ERIE. The network hosts educational enrichment, professional development and community service events like National Hispanic Heritage Month which is leveraged to elevate awareness of and appreciation for Hispanic and Latinx communities.

“Being part of HAAN has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at ERIE. I have met really nice and interesting people throughout my journey, and it has made me realize how the power of being different can still unite us to become better individuals. Plus, I love sharing my culture and learning from other people’s traditions.” – Sonia Puerta-Miller, project manager

Diversity & Inclusion at ERIE

Treating others with dignity and respect has been at the heart of ERIE’s values for nearly a century, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) has been a formal department at ERIE for more than a decade. While our nine employee affinity networks provide a platform for employees to celebrate and educate one another, other programs like our DEI Awareness training and Employee Resource Groups allow us to ensure and protect an even more inclusive workplace.

Learn more about ERIE’s DE&I team and programs or join our team and help contribute to making ERIE a great place to work.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of January 2024 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.