3 Ways to Support your Asian Colleagues


3 Ways to Support your Asian Colleagues

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Nicole Peterlin

Director of Human Resources

In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Avenica has been looking inward and investigating ways we can continue to support our AAPI colleagues. While AAPI is a nifty acronym that’s inclusive of most Asian and Asian American identities, it does little to fully recognize the vast richness of the AAPI communities, which consist of around 50 ethnic groups, speaking over 100 languages! Given the expansiveness of AAPI identities, how can employers and coworkers help support AAPI folks in the workplace? Here’s a good place to start:

1. Refute the Model Minority Myth

AAPI folks can often be labeled as the “model minority,” which leads to false assumptions that AAPIs have triumphed over discrimination and are much more successful than other marginalized groups. This stereotype, and the individual stories retelling AAPI success, obscure the ongoing struggle for equality and equity in the workplace that many AAPIs still face today.

2. Create strong cultures of inclusion and belonging

In a recent Bain & Company study, feelings of inclusion in the workplace were dismally low, but ranked lowest among Asian women and men. It’s important that people leaders and individual contributor employees help make people feel welcome in physical and virtual spaces where work is done. Inclusion work includes minimizing microaggressions and the use of stereotypes and recognizing the inherent value of individual differences, especially within the AAPI community.

3. Include AAPI in DE&I

Too often, formal DE&I programs focus on Black and Latino communities, excluding other marginalized groups such as AAPIs. Ensuring there’s space for AAPIs in DE&I efforts and programming combats stereotypes, offers reasons for AAPIs to share their stories and experiences, and promotes greater representation of AAPIs in the workplace.

Benefits Basics


Benefits That Come With A Job: Terms You Should Know

Understanding and selecting the right benefit plan from your employer.

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Nicole Peterlin

Director of Human Resources

Benefits that come with a job can be overwhelming, or even underwhelming when accepting your first role. Every employer is different, but we asked our benefits experts at Avenica to answer some of our FAQs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits That Come With A Job

What is a co-pay?

A co-pay is a set amount you pay upfront for certain services or prescriptions. Co-pays apply toward meeting your out-of-pocket maximum, but not your deductible.

What is deductible?

A deductible is the amount your pay each year before your insurance starts to pay. If you have a $1,000 deductible you would need to spend $1,000 on medical care before your insurance begins to cover it.

How much comes out of my paycheck?

Typically, what comes out of your paycheck via payroll deduction is your premium cost. The actual amount of your premium will vary based on the plan, the carrier, the employer cost-share, and other factors. Most times these payroll deductions are made on a pre-tax basis, so you’re paying for them before any federal, state, or other taxes are deducted from your paycheck.

How much is “normal” to pay for benefits?

There’s not really a “normal” amount to pay for benefits. Premium costs are determined for each plan using a variety of factors and can vary widely. Costs may be determined using state and federal guidelines, member experience ratings, location, and costs of service providers, in addition to other factors.

To understand the overall cost of your insurance you can consider: how much you’ll pay for premiums, how much you’d have to pay to meet a deductible, and what a normal office visit or prescription might cost. These will help you decide which coverages might be best for you and your personal health needs.

Costs are also often offset by employer contributions — generally, employers don’t fully cover benefits for employees but do offer some cost-sharing. This means both you and your employer pay a portion of your health insurance premiums. It’s a nice benefit if the employer’s share of the cost is higher than the employee’s share!

What should I look for in a benefits plan when I am accepting a role?

Employers attract talent partially through the job and the compensation offered, but also through the benefits package – which typically includes medical, dental, vision, retirement, and other benefits or perks, such as life insurance, short and long-term disability insurance, or pet insurance. You might not need (or want) them all, but it’s nice to know what an employer is offering. It can be found in your official job offer or a question you ask the hiring manager during the interview process.

For medical insurance specifically, you might be interested in a low-cost, super basic health plan or you might be interested in a more comprehensive benefits plan for those “just-in-case” moments.

If you had healthcare needs that would require you to use your coverage more often (frequent prescription refills, regular office visits, etc.), then you’ll really want to pay attention to the out-of-pocket costs and deductible – you may be inclined to choose the plan that has a lower deductible or has a co-pay structure, rather than say, a High Deductible Health Plan.

Can I change my benefits or am I stuck?

Once you pick your benefits for the first time, you’re generally locked in for the duration of the plan year. There are some exceptions to when you can make benefit plan changes – these are called Qualifying Life Events (QLE’s). Examples of a QLE might be: losing coverage on a parent’s plan, getting married, getting divorced, having a baby, or gaining coverage through a new job. There are others, too, but these are standard life events that employees may experience throughout the course of a year that allows you to make corresponding mid-year benefit changes.

Outside of QLE’s, you generally have to wait until Open Enrollment – an annual period of time when plans are renewed, and employees are asked to re-evaluate and make changes for the next benefit plan year. Again, you’re locked into those elections than for the full plan year unless you experience a QLE and can make a mid-year change!

How much will I actually pay the doctor?

It depends on your plan and what you’re seeing the doctor for. Typically, preventive care visits (your annual physical or wellness exam) are covered at 100% – zero cost to you. If you’re referred for other tests and bloodwork, those elements of your visit may not be covered at 100% – you might have to pay out of pocket.  If you have a plan that offers a co-pay, then you typically pay the corresponding co-pay for that visit. If you have a co-insurance plan, then you typically pay the full cost of the visit or procedure. It really depends on what’s covered / what’s not covered under your plan and how things are coded by the medical provider. Reading the fine print is important.

Who can answer questions for me about my insurance?

Your health insurance carrier is a great resource if you want to talk about what’s covered or what’s not, and your HR department might be able to provide more detail as well. If you have benefits questions, ask the front desk for guidance on how to find out what’s covered.

What is co-insurance?

Co-insurance applies after your deductible is met – it’s your share of the costs of a covered health care service. For example, if you met your deductible, and your insurance plan pays 70% after the deductible is met, you pay 30% of health care costs between when your deductible is met and until your out-of-pocket maximum is met. The cost-share of the insurance plan’s responsibility and your responsibility is co-insurance.

What is an out-of-pocket maximum?

It’s the most you will pay for health care services covered by your insurance in a plan year. Once you reach your out-of-pocket maximum, your insurance pays 100% of any additional covered charges for the rest of the year.

What is preventive care?

Preventive care helps detect or prevent serious diseases and medical problems before they become major. This is different from diagnostic care, which is when your provider is looking for something specific to diagnose, often because of symptoms or based on results of a preventive test or screening.

Can I stay on my parent’s? Can I join my partner’s? Can I be on more than one plan?

Covered dependents can remain on a parent’s plan until the age of 26, which is when individuals typically age out of their parent’s plans and must seek coverage as an individual or join another plan.

You may join a spouse’s plan if you are legally married, and their plans allow for spousal coverage. You may be able to join a partner’s plan as a domestic partner — but this depends on the plan’s eligibility criteria. Each plan is unique, so I’d recommend always reviewing the plan documents or asking a trusted source like your carrier or the HR department for benefits questions.

While you can be on more than one plan, it’s uncommon. In instances where you are covered twice, the two plans work under what’s called “coordination of benefits.” This is where one plan pays as primary and the other pays as secondary. The pros and cons to this largely depend on the plans themselves, how they determine the coordination of benefits, and the costs to hold both plans.

Who can I include in my plan?

You can enroll qualified dependents onto your medical, dental, and vision plans. This could be your legally married spouse (or domestic partner, if eligible under the plan) and children.

If you’re looking for information on how to kickstart your career, contact Avenica or browse jobs today! We help our entry-level job seekers find positions that fit their expertise and career goals.

Make Working Remotely Work For You


Make Working Remotely Work For You

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Nicole Peterlin

Director of Human Resources



Regardless of your position, experience, or industry, working remotely can be challenging and stressful. It’s critical to strike the right balance of working at home and living at home, so we’re able to work together productively and effectively, while minimizing as much stress and confusion as possible.

To be the most productive at home, it’s all in the set up. Here are a few key ways to get your work from home arrangement set up to help you in being productive, balancing work and home priorities, and alleviating feelings of isolation.

Set up communication processes

This set up might be the most critical to get right for effectively working with others remotely. With phone calls, text messaging, emails, instant messaging, etc. there are a lot of ways to get your lines crossed. Create communication flows, norms, and expectations with your direct supervisor, peers, and direct reports that work for a variety of situations. Because people can’t just swing by your desk or catch you in passing, you’ll have to adjust the way you interact with each other, balance and rebalance communication flows, and find times in your day where you’re connecting with others and replying to emails. It might take a few rounds of adjustments to get right, but more communication and built-in processes can reduce confusion, minimize duplication of work, and ensure you’re connecting in meaningful and effective ways.

Set up a space

Designate a specific room or area to work from to create a mental and physical boundary between working and living. Being in the right space can help you be in the right frame of mind for being productive. Set it up ergonomically as best as you can to support your physical health and wellbeing.

Set up your tech

Ensure you have all the tech and equipment you need—work with your people managers, IT departments, or HR managers to ensure you have all your environmental needs met. Do you have (or need) a computer or laptop? External keyboard and mouse? A second display screen? Make it as close as possible to the in-office working environment you would create for yourself.

Set up a schedule (and stick to it!)

Get ready as if you were physically commuting to work—shower, get dressed, do your hair, eat breakfast, and then get to work.

Set timers and plan out your day—not just your meetings—on your calendar to ensure you’re managing your work time and taking enough breaks; take a bio-break, take a lunch break, make time to get up and take a lap around the house as if you were in the office.

Set up video capability

Embrace and prioritize virtual face to face calls. Not only will it help to break up some of the isolation and help to clarify any work-from-home communication confusion, it will help establish and foster strong relationships. We all know we don’t like the video feature, but if we do it together, who cares?!? Plus, just think of all the pets you’ll get to meet!

Set up boundaries

Create an end-of-day routine and stick to your “normal” work hours as much as possible. When you never actually “leave for the day,” it can be easy to just keep going.

Turn off the computer. Step away. Burnout is real.

It’s hard to draw a sharp distinction between work and home when you work at home—but committing to do work things during work times and home things during home times will help you maintain boundaries.

Whether by choice or by circumstance, remote work is on the rise and here to stay. The skills and work ethic required to effectively work remotely, like time management, discipline, organization, and self-direction, will always be valuable given the ever-changing landscape of the work and professional worlds. More and more companies are helping to better support remote employees, but it’s incumbent on individual employees to do what they can, as well, to be their most productive and best work selves.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please apply now to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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