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Working to Make a Difference in the Fraternal Community Through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarships

Bobbi Larsen
Bobbi Larsen
Education Consultant

In December 2021, the Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice team was working on the renewal of one of our clients. They challenged us, asking what we were doing in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). We shared the DE&I strategies Holmes Murphy was implementing at the corporate level, but they pressed, “what are you doing for our organization and our community?”

Specifically, what is the Fraternal Practice doing for our clients. That led to some soul-searching for us.

Our clients include:

  • all nine of the historically African American fraternities and sororities (NPHC)
  • all 20 of the organizations that are a part of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American fraternal community (NAPA)
  • 16 members of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO)
  • 10 organizations affiliated with the National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC)
  • many other culturally based fraternities and sororities who are not part of one of those umbrella groups

The membership of other client organizations also includes students of color. If the Fraternal Practice team wasn’t poised to help bring diversity into Holmes Murphy, who in our company was?

We realized we were perfectly positioned to introduce the world of insurance to the members of our client organizations — undergraduate students of color who had already demonstrated leadership and a commitment to their communities, who may be seeking career opportunities that would let them use those skills, and who could better reflect the communities in which Holmes Murphy operates.

Our first step was working with a doctoral intern, Stacey Milner M.Ed., who was a member of an NPHC sorority and very familiar with fraternal organizations. She was charged with laying the groundwork for pipelines from our client organizations to Holmes Murphy and the insurance industry at large. Who is the best contact at our client organizations to spread the word about our opportunities? And how can we get those students to engage with Holmes Murphy through our Intern and Brainery programs?

Our most visible point of outreach was the inaugural Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice Scholarship. We wanted to provide support for minority students from client organizations, introduce them to the field of insurance, and provide value for our client organizations, just as the client I mentioned in the first paragraph had challenged us to do.

The First Recipients of the Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice DE&I Scholarship

The results were fantastic. Over 500 people started the scholarship application process — establishing an initial connection for us to build on in the future. Twenty-nine candidates completed the process. Students submitted a resume, transcript, letter of recommendation, and answered essay questions. Our inaugural Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice DE&I Scholarship recipients were announced during a Zoom call that featured Amanda Vander Ley, VP of Human Resources, Audriana DeBuse, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant, and Ashley Brooks, Human Resources Business Partner, who were able to share information about Holmes Murphy, our internships, and the Brainery program with all the scholarship applicants.

We are happy to announce that we have now distributed $1,000 scholarships to 10 undergraduate minority fraternity and sorority members as part of Holmes Murphy’s commitment to advance DE&I initiatives within the organization and industry.

We’d love to introduce you to the recipients:

  • Brianna Barnes, Alpha Delta Pi of Coastal Carolina University. Brianna became familiar with Holmes Murphy serving as Treasurer of her chapter. We appreciate her commitment to paying the bills.
  • Jordan Brown, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jordan seeks to be an actuary — he enjoys understanding risk.
  • Juan Diaz, Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc. of University of Idaho. Juan included a touching story in his application about the way insurance protection has affected his family.
  • Aaron Kermally, Delta Sigma Pi of Southern Methodist University. Aaron is an African American Muslim whose parents are from East Africa. He ties insurance to everything that goes into the day-to-day life of a human and seeks to help people every day.
  • Theron Labrie, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. of University of Colorado – Boulder. Theron is a leader in the BIPOC and the CU community.
  • Kenan Moore, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Zeta Delta of University of North Carolina Charlotte. Kenan is a member of 14 student organizations, including the National Association of Black Accountants.
  • Kendall Nether, Kappa Alpha Psi of Loyola Marymount University. Kendall participated in the student committee that forged the #BlackAtLMU student organization.
  • William Ortiz, Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. of University of Florida. Willie is an ambassador for the broader Hispanic community on campus.
  • Samuel Raheem, Kappa Alpha Psi of University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Samuel is a triple-jumper on the University of Illinois track team.
  • Ryan Taneja, Phi Gamma Delta of University of Central Arkansas. Ryan launched the Mimi Taneja Purple Initiative non-profit in honor of his mom.

As part of the Holmes Murphy culture of who we are, we state on our website we are “passionate in challenging our employees to think differently about our future.” A client challenging our Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice created space for us to look in the mirror, to stretch ourselves, and to create pipelines and serve others. And we will Celebrate.Fully. and continue to listen, do the work, and continue to try to make an impact for our clients.

P.S. If you’re a fraternity or sorority member looking to apply for our DE&I scholarship for the 2023-24 school year, we’ll be communicating more on that in the Spring on our social media channels. Stay tuned!

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