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Connecting Culture to Innovation: How GoHealth Employees Celebrate Their AAPI Heritage

The words "AAPI Heritage Month" in bold, stylized font

Every May, the U.S. celebrates the rich fabric of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander culture and the contributions that generations of AAPIs have made to American history, society, and culture.

Since 1978, AAPI Heritage Month has honored the indelible role that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have played in changing American culture.

In alignment with the 2024 theme for AAPI Heritage Month, “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation,” GoHealth asked some team members to reveal how their cultures have influenced their personal and professional undertakings, how their identities have encouraged them to be more innovative, empathetic thinkers, and what this month means to them.

Advocating For a More Equitable Future

Senior Manager of Learning and Development, Myra Reynolds, who has worked at GoHealth for 10 years, believes her Filipino heritage provides a unique perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion within her role.

“My cultural values and beliefs about work influenced my professional attitudes and behaviors. The culture we have in Learning and Development and at GoHealth influenced me that you can do anything if you believe in yourself and you persevere.”

Perseverance for the sake of a more equitable future takes on many forms. Of the nearly 20 million Asian Americans in the United States, about nine million are part of the workforce. And that number is estimated to almost double by 2060, according to a recent McKinsey report. With three grandchildren of her own, Myra believes that advocating for change and representation within the workplace will undoubtedly benefit future generations of Asian Americans.

Advocating for representation and change within the AAPI community also happens outside of work with Myra’s ongoing support of Compassion International, a charitable organization that aims to release children from poverty.

“Through sponsorships and donations, Compassion International empowers local churches to provide individualized and holistic care to children in poverty, so they are free to learn, grow, play, and dream,” Reynolds shares.

Her choice to support others within the AAPI community links back to GoHealth’s core value of integrity, which guides her to do what is right, especially when no one is watching. For Myra, integrity involves consistency between words and actions – it’s essential because it shapes your character.

Professional Growth Through Community

As a QA Analyst III on GoHealth’s Connect Team, Salman Patel recognizes the value of hard work and collaboration, something that is deeply ingrained in his worldview as an Indian American.

Salman, who was born in India and moved to the United States when he was just three, deems his professional success a direct result of the cultural values instilled in him at such a young age.

“My culture puts a lot of emphasis on hard work, loyalty, and being honest. These traits have helped me get to where I am today in my professional life,” he says.

In Salman’s case, his greatest motivators also happen to be his older brothers.

“My older brothers have been a big part of who I am today. Being the youngest, I always had someone to ask questions when the road ahead wasn’t always clear,” he shares.

In the same way that his brothers were a reliable support network, Salman hopes to inspire the next generation of AAPI professionals: by showing them what hard work can get you and how it can get you to where you need to be.

Leading the Way for AAPI Excellence

Senior Director of Machine Learning Andrew Kang oversees the development and deployment of scalable and robust machine learning solutions, including the collection of key data points for GoHealth’s PlanFit technology. He thinks that doing the right thing in the right way is worth the effort. Much of his resiliency and motivation to do more for the benefit of Medicare consumers is driven by his experience as a Korean American.

With both sides of his grandparents leaving their lives behind to immigrate to America in search of a better life, Andrew learned the value of sacrifice and what it means to be resilient. He saw firsthand how respect and humility pay dividends in your relationships with others.

From an early age, Andrew was motivated by his mother’s entrepreneurial spirit, citing her as a major inspiration for his own professional endeavors. His mother graduated early from college to start her own business, which eventually evolved into a fashion line sold in major department stores with showrooms in Los Angeles and New York.

Kang elaborates, “I remember vividly the time I went with her into her New York showroom and watched as she negotiated with suppliers, reviewed designs with her employees, and talked strategy with her salespeople.”

While paying homage to the many AAPI voices before him who have blazed trails, cleared obstacles, and made a difference, Andrew is also grateful for the continued inclusion of more Asian Americans across a multitude of industries today.

“The AAPI community has a rich history of innovation in technology, science, and medicine,” Kang shares. “I find heartening the diverse spectrum of innovation we are seeing today from the AAPI community in fields like journalism, arts, film and music, which are enriching the culture and further broadening the definition of the AAPI experience.”

Overcoming Adversity Through Personal Development

Personal and professional barriers present themselves regularly, but Kevin Montes, a top-performing Medicare Senior Account Executive, shares how his own cultural background allows him to identify and overcome adversity.

“Growing up in the Philippines, I was surrounded by people who poured their hearts into their work, whether it was a small business or a professional career. We are no strangers to adversity,” Kevin answers. “I had to learn early on that setbacks were just temporary roadblocks on the path to progress. Adaptability is key to staying ahead of the game. When you want different results for yourself, you must start moving differently. Old keys don’t open new doors.”

The path from professional adversity to ingenuity is not always linear, however. From Kevin’s perspective, you must be willing to love your career or craft unconditionally – regardless of the challenges that lie ahead.

“The journey consists of being terrible at something, failing, getting better, learning, starting a new journey, starting over,” he said. “When you fall in love with the journey, everything else takes care of itself.”

Montes’ personal philosophy for career engagement, development, and follow-through speaks to his acumen within the Medicare industry, where he builds long-lasting relationships with Medicare consumers by helping them understand their coverage options, compare plans, and make informed decisions to meet their unique healthcare needs.

The collective perseverance of the AAPI community, including stories of determination and success serves as a guiding light for Kevin, driving him to reach new heights and contribute to the ongoing narrative of empowerment and involvement.

One essential way that he stays involved with the AAPI community is by tapping into local, professional resources like the Chicago Asian Network (CAN), which educates, collaborates, and stimulates dialogue amongst Asian American organizations, programs, and institutions. Additionally, CAN serves as a liaison to corporations and businesses that wish to effectively engage with Asian American leaders, organizations, and the community.

As these AAPI employees have shared, perspectives driven by cultural identity and community support are powerful, irreplaceable tools to further drive innovation. Through each personal testimony of collaboration, resilience, and empathy, and how it serves our personal and professional development, we inch one step closer to a more equitable future for all – including the Medicare consumers we serve.

About GoHealth

GoHealth is a leading health insurance marketplace and Medicare-focused digital health company. Enrolling in a health insurance plan can be confusing for customers, and the seemingly small differences between plans can lead to significant out-of-pocket costs or lack of access to critical medicines and even providers. GoHealth combines cutting-edge technology, data science, and deep industry expertise to build trusted relationships with consumers and match them with the healthcare policy and carrier that is right for them. Since its inception, GoHealth has enrolled millions of people in Medicare plans and individual and family plans. For more information, visit GoHealth.com