Employee Voices

Advancing Together Toward a Brighter Future

Learn how the PAVE ERG creates a sense of belonging for employees, providing them with a forum for cultural expression and enabling them to grow in rewarding careers.



Read time: 5 minutes

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community represents many distinct ethnicities and nationalities, each with their own cherished traditions and rich histories. Through the Pan-Asian Voices for Excellence (PAVE) employee resource group (ERG), employees whose roots extend to this vibrant region are encouraged to embrace their heritage while growing in their careers at McKesson.

During AAPI Heritage Month in May, PAVE is honoring the trailblazers and innovators within this vital community. Uniting under the theme of “Advancing Together,” the ERG is celebrating the ways PAVE members harness the power of diversity and uplift one another to achieve better health outcomes for all.

We asked two advocates of PAVE to share how the ERG champions their career development and empowers them to impact patients, their colleagues and people of all backgrounds.

Ram CheruvuAfter practicing as a pharmacist for 13 years, Ram Cheruvu channeled his passion for leadership in a new direction as part of the human resources group at McKesson. Today, Ram is manager of executive and high potential development, designing and delivering experiences and programming that help leaders thrive within the company.

Vishal DegwekerFueled by a desire to make a positive difference for those in need, Vishal Degweker is part of the IT team at McKesson and is an active leader in PAVE. In his current role, Vishal supports the IT applications and operations for one of the largest practices in The US Oncology Network, which is supported by McKesson. He’s served on the PAVE national board since 2022, where he’s responsible for expanding membership and engaging employees.

What inspired you to participate in the PAVE ERG?

Vishal: PAVE is an excellent platform to support the community. I'm passionate about community volunteering and helping the underprivileged because I experienced hardship growing up in India. My father worked in a factory and supported our family on a small salary. Even though it wasn’t easy, he made sure we went to a good school. I came to the U.S. for a better life for my family and, now that I’m able, I want to give back to society. I feel good about being part of PAVE and volunteering with local organizations like the Montgomery County food bank, participating in blood donation and toy drives, and fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Ram with his family

Ram with his family.

Ram: I joined many of McKesson’s ERGs as a new employee because I enjoy learning about different traditions and expanding my worldview. PAVE was an obvious choice because I fit within that demographic. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from India and I'm proud of my background. I want to pass along to my children the best of what our culture has to offer, but that becomes more difficult with each passing generation. Through PAVE, I’m able to meet like-minded colleagues who are working to preserve their culture across generations.

In what ways has PAVE helped you develop and advance in your career? 

Vishal: PAVE helped me unleash my potential. I’m a quiet person and an introvert, so I found it hard to network within my team and organization. PAVE helped me gain confidence and gave me immense visibility. The ERG provides plenty of speaking opportunities for members, so I started participating and contributing to various programs and getting feedback on how I could improve. Because of that, I started getting noticed by senior leaders. Ultimately, networking opportunities I’ve had, and connections I’ve built through PAVE, played an instrumental role gaining me a promotion to my current role.

PAVE, in collaboration with other ERGs, also has a robust mentorship program to help employees grow their careers at McKesson. I’ve been on the program’s committee for four years and have benefitted from it as a mentee, and I’ve also been able to give back and contribute to the growth of others as a mentor.

Vishal staffing a PAVE event

Vishal staffing a PAVE event.

How has PAVE helped you connect with and understand your colleagues?

Ram: There are similarities and differences across Asian cultures, and having that cultural sensitivity is powerful. PAVE offers us events and avenues to learn about the many Asian traditions and understand the nuances between them. During one virtual event, I was enthralled as I watched a PAVE leader and her mother making dumplings together. It was so interesting to read the comments in the chat from people who grew up in Asian cultures where they eat dumplings, and how meaningful it is to them.

One of the most memorable experiences related to my own culture was around Diwali, which is the largest festival in India. PAVE hosted an event at our headquarters in Las Colinas, Texas, and I was working in the on-site pharmacy at the time. The familiar and distinct smell of Indian food wafted into the pharmacy, and I just had to visit the event. I met other PAVE members and we connected over wonderful Indian food, which is an important part of our culture.

What does it mean to you to be part of PAVE, and how has it impacted your experience at McKesson?

Vishal: I feel at home in PAVE – like I belong in this community and at the company. When we celebrate the heritage month or Diwali, I can give others a glimpse of what my culture is about and connect to my roots. And when I meet leaders from Asian backgrounds in PAVE who are growing at McKesson, I feel like I can achieve that, too. When you hear the stories of others from your community, you get inspired and motivated to take the first step. That’s why I encourage my colleagues to join PAVE.

Ram: It gives me a platform to express my cultural background, which is a significant part of my identity. The fact that we have dynamic and thriving ERGs, including PAVE, is a testament to the values we have at McKesson. I feel comfortable bringing my full self to work every day and sharing my culture within PAVE and in my day-to-day work. I’m proud to be a part of a company that supports open-mindedness and diversity.