Diversity and Inclusion in the Americas

Kristin Leayman
Olympus Corporation of the Americas (OCA)
Diversity&Inclusion Manager

The Americas are a melting pot, where people of diverse backgrounds live together to form the society. Olympus' employees in the Americas are also ethnically diverse and they respect everyone's personality, individuality, culture, religion, nationality, and human rights as they work to create new value.

Five years ago, Olympus Corporation of the Americas (hereinafter "OCA"*1), which oversees Olympus' operations in the Americas, set up OCA-authorized networks for Diversity and Inclusion (hereinafter "D&I") called CANs (Colleague Affinity Networks) in 17 affiliate centers. At present, there are 12 Affinity networks and all of the CANs have management as their owners to support D&I activities.
Society has a tendency to focus on the negative aspects and vulnerability of social minority groups. The Olympus Group, on the other hand, strives to comprehensively understand their background cultures and characteristics in order to achieve great awareness and unexpected discoveries that contribute to the Group's management philosophy.

The management philosophy of the Olympus Group consists of "Our Purpose" and "Our Core Values." All of the activities carried out by the CANs are the practical implementation of our core values, such as "Integrity," "Empathy," "Long-Term View," "Agility," and "Unity". Such activities have started generating new synergy through stronger mutual understanding and respect as well as broader communication ranges. They also discover unnoticed individual talents, promoting the right person to the right position, leading to the revitalization of human resources.

CANs Activities

Diwali Collage

Filipino Culture Day

Mexican Holiday Celebration

Japanese Culture Day

Mexican Culture Day

Wreaths across America

Interview with Female Leader

I would like non-native speakers of English to have "confidence".

For this article, we interviewed the female leader who set up the 11th networks for CANs activities.

Yasuko Shusa
Olympus Communication
Technology of America (OCTA)
Exploration & Alliance (E&A) Manager

CAN program established: ES&L (Empowering Speech and Language)
Leader: Yasuko Shusa, OCTA*2 E&A Manager
Chieko Furumi, OCA, Carlos Huaman, OCA
Owner: Chikara Abe, President of OCTA

As the E&A manager of OCTA, I'm giving my best every day in the "Silicon Valley." What kind of impression do you have of Silicon Valley? Many people probably have the impression that it is open, free, welcoming to anyone, quick and easy for networking, flooded with information, full of young people, always creating innovation, etc. However, it is actually a "village community." Although you may find this unexpected, the people living here place great importance on human connections. So, if you want to obtain quality information here, you have to gain qualifications and credentials as a villager as well as improve your communication skills on a daily basis and make an effort to network.
Based on my experience, I have always felt the importance of improving my communication skills. The primary objective of the ES&L CAN program is to help non-native speakers of English gain "confidence" in themselves. Olympus' National Service Center, located in San Jose, has about 700 employees. Since I started participating in D&I activities, I have learned that many of the workers at the Service Center don't speak English as their first language and that 26 languages are spoken. As I'm Japanese, I also understand the hardship caused by language barriers. For this reason, I have a strong desire to help everyone gain confidence in themselves as a non-native speaker through experiencing opportunities to express their own ideas and thoughts to others in their own words with enthusiasm. When I first arrived in the US, I used to think it was a disadvantage that English was not my first language. Now, however, I realize that being Japanese is part of my individuality, which enhances my own value. I have also started believing that gaining "confidence" makes people feel positive and stimulates communication with others, which starts a cycle of positive outcomes.
Since I started participating in CAN, I now understand what specific operations are carried out by OCA, OSTA*3, OSSA*4, and other organizations outside OCTA. I feel that easier communication among our different organizations also improves our operational efficiency.
When CSR was first introduced, everyone was asking, "What is CSR?," "What are CANs?," etc. However, once people actually try such activities, everyone's attitude changes and they are glad that they participated. While we may have just made the first step into D&I, I feel strongly about its potential.

*1 Olympus Corporation of the Americas:Regional business center in U.S., Canada and Latin America

*2 Olympus Communication Technology of America, Inc.:Research and development on communication and network technology

*3 Olympus Surgical Technology America:Development, manufacture and sales of medical devices

*4 Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas Corp.:Development and manufacture of Ultrasonic testing (UT), Eddy Current Testing (ECT) instruments and X-ray Fluorescence Analyzers in U.S.