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Balfour Beatty Hosts Virtual Fireside Chat and Panel Discussion for AAPI Heritage Month
May 26, 2021
DALLAS – In observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Balfour Beatty hosted a virtual, fireside chat to discuss important issues and challenges facing our AAPI employees. The conversation took place on May 25, 2021 and included AAPI employee panelists who shared personal stories regarding the recent Asian targeted violence and other national systemic issues and raised awareness on how workplaces and teammates can be strong allies and advocates.
The company-wide event was broadcast to Balfour Beatty’s 4,300 US employees, and featured guest speaker, Thear Suzuki, global client service partner at Ernst & Young and member of the 2019 Presidential Leadership Scholar class. Suzuki is a 25-year professional services veteran and an active leader for various AAPI- and DE&I-affiliated boards and nonprofits. During the fireside chat, Suzuki shared the impact mentors have in her professional development along with her experience as a young child coming to the US as a refugee having survived the Cambodian genocide, known as the Killing Fields.
Recently, Suzuki’s personal biography and portrait were featured in President George W. Bush’s book of portraits, “Out of Many, One.” She comments, "When asked how I felt seeing my portrait for the first time, I felt seen and that I haven’t always felt seen."
“We are proud to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and the important contributions AAPI communities have made to history, culture and within our company,” said Eric Stenman, president of Balfour Beatty US. “This year’s event encourages our team members across the country to join and engage in important dialogue to understand perspectives on hatred, racism, and to educate ourselves on the harsh realities our communities face with the ultimate goal of understanding what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes and foster empathy as we continue to learn from one another. As a people-first workplace, we want our culture to be a place where everyone’s voice matters, and everyone has the equal opportunity to contribute. Balfour Beatty is a company who values everyone and celebrates our differences, and it is a true privilege to work with diverse teammates to foster critical conversations, raise awareness and learn and implement improved ways for inclusion and equity for everyone.”
In addition to hosting the AAPI fireside chat, the company recently sponsored 16 team members of AAPI heritage to join the Texas Women’s Foundation’s POWER Leadership Forum hosted by Orchid Giving Circle to discuss strategies for growing their careers, building leadership skills and making an impact in their communities to inspire change.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Balfour Beatty to host the AAPI fireside chat. In the process, I was able to get to know their teammates and culture. This is a company very focused on creating a people-first workplace and isn’t afraid to have vulnerable conversations to raise awareness to important issues and take action to ensure their workplace is one where everyone feels valued,” said Suzuki.