May 17, 2023

Spotlight on our ERGs: Asian American Professional Association (AAPA)

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are an important part of company culture. They help build community and engage different perspectives with the goal of encouraging positive change within and outside of the company.

In our Spotlight series, learn about ERGs across Henkel North America, that include over 1,000 employees, and are helping to build an inclusive environment and spirit of belonging. Together we are advancing our DEI priorities.

Learn more below about our ERG: Asian American Professional Association

logo Asian American Professional Association

Henkel’s Asian American Professional Association (AAPA) ERG aims to create a meaningful network of employees who are of Asian descent, have friends and family who are, and want to learn more to be better allies.  The ERG seeks to positively impact Henkel’s culture by creating a sense of community, while also helping employees achieve their professional potential by providing opportunities to help them grow and learn both in and out of the office.

The Asian American Professional Association is important to advancing Henkel’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts by creating a sense of belonging and community for its members which ultimately improves employee morale, retention, loyalty, and overall organizational culture. The ERG is also helping drive awareness and bridge cultural differences.

Despite members being dispersed across multiple locations in North America, the AAPA is able to create a sense of community by regularly hosting in-person and virtual activities, such as local food and clothing drives, guest speaker events, book clubs, trivia tournaments and virtual food festivals. One of the group’s key team building activities is participating in the annual Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The event celebrates Asian and Pacific Islander cultures through traditional music and dance, art activities, food, and martial arts. Last year, the Henkel team won first place in the boat competition.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated each May and this year, the theme is “Advancing leaders through opportunity.” To Jennifer Manuel, co-president of the Asian American Professional Association, advancing leaders through opportunity can mean several things:

Jennifer Manuel

It can mean creating opportunities through networking, mentoring, and facilitating connections throughout the organization or providing opportunities for personal and professional growth through learning events. The AAPA is always looking to provide these various avenues of leadership opportunities to our community.

Throughout the month of May, the ERG will be hosting multiple events for the Henkel community such as a panel discussion on the importance of advancing leaders, allyship, and belonging at Henkel and storytelling event that will culminate at the end of the month.

Bikash Rajkarnikar

We are an incredibly complex community. We have a very broad range of diversity within the Asian community, including a variety of languages, religions, histories, cultural influences, politics, climates, foods, and socioeconomics. We invite everyone to join our ERG to learn, grow and be allies for each other.



Watch the winning Henkel boat crew gearing up for the 2022 Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival in Hartford, CT.

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Henkel team members

Henkel team members sharing their medals after competing in the 2022 Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival in Hartford, CT.

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Henkel team members

Henkel’s AAPA led a volunteer activity for employees and family members at the Open Doors Shelter in Norwalk, CT, a non-profit dedicated to addressing the causes and complexities of the homeless and working poor. The team organized a donation drive, distributed clothing and hosted a cookout for community members.

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videolink panel discussion

In celebration of Asian Heritage Month, AAPA leaders hosted a panel discussion to share how their personal journeys have shaped them as business professionals and their approach to allyship and inclusion.