In fall 2020, AlixPartners’ Asian Leadership, Insights, and Growth Network (ALIGN) employee resource group was excited to launch its Asia Insight Series to highlight each of AlixPartners’ Asian offices. Every hour-long event featured a mix of history, economic development trends, analysis of key industries, AlixPartners office tours, and, as Southfield-based Senior Vice President Sonal Odedra described, “the little nuances that every place, every city, has.”
The Asia Insight Series, which had more than 1,000 attendees, reflects AlixPartners’ approach to building global communities—a belief that there are many access points to better appreciate a culture and bridge a difference, especially in an interconnected business world.
ALIGN’s presentation on Seoul kicked off with a 5,000-year history of the Korean peninsula, an analysis of Korea’s economic evolution since 1960, a breakdown of the corporate governance structure of Chaebols, Korea’s business conglomerate system, and commentary on the global impact of K-Pop. The series garnered so much attention that the firm established an exchange program with several US and Europe-based consultants transferring to Asia.
Additionally, events that AlixPartners co-hosted with Toyota and General Motors provided a forum to share perspectives on the model minority myth and corporate responsibility in the face of racism, as well as an opportunity to network. For ALIGN, it was an opportunity to frame a cultural issue around how racism impacts a global business like ours and how we can all participate in nurturing inclusive work environment.
“Many of our client companies are fully on board with these D&I initiatives, and I think the event was a great example of how we can engage in active dialogues with ERG members at our client companies while expanding our professional and personal network,” Senior Vice President John Baik said.
AlixPartners prides itself on being a one firm-firm that shares a distinct corporate culture and a set of core values across its offices. We staff our projects with experts from around the world depending on client needs, a practice that was supercharged when the firm shifted to nearly 100% virtual working during the pandemic.
ALIGN wants to make it easier for our people to work together, wherever they’re located.
“Each country has its own way of doing business which can bring a lot of little challenges,” Shanghai-based Managing Director Stephen Yu said. “ALIGN shines a light on these issues, which I think really helps our people collaborate globally."
Stephen, who was the firm’s first person promoted to Managing Director in Shanghai, added that ALIGN has helped his colleagues in Asia make connections across the firm, which has led to more interesting assignments and development opportunities and has supported their career progression within the firm. Facilitating connections was particularly valuable during the remote period and helped new joiners feel a sense of belonging even though they hadn’t met their colleagues in person.
In EMEA, ALIGN has focused on developing a stronger ally network. Philipp Bächtold, a Senior Vice President based in Zurich, joined the employee resource group after working with several ALIGN members on a client engagement for a global automotive company. Now, Philipp serves as ALIGN’s local leader for the Zurich office.
Philipp explained that allies are especially important in countries like Germany and Switzerland with smaller Asian populations, as these relationships help to build awareness of cultural differences.
“We’re focused on how we can be more constructive to build bigger platforms for our Asian colleagues both here in the DACH region and globally,” Philipp said.
Across AlixPartners’ global network of more than two dozen offices, ALIGN is giving our people the tools to incorporate cultural interconnectedness and appreciation into their work, both to advance our clients’ business goals and their own careers