Board members from three credit unions recently shared nine steps that have helped their boards pursue their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals, which they have been focusing on for more than five years.
Step 1: Start the conversation. Begin with broad conversations about the value of increasing diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, gender identity, and other characteristics.
“At the board level, there has to be an acceptance of diversity,” says Sheila LaBarbera, board member at $1.4 billion asset Greylock Federal Credit Union in Pittsfield, Mass. “If you don’t recognize that some type of transformation is happening—whether it’s the community or the membership you serve—then it’s disingenuous and people can see through that.”
Step 2: Name your “why.” Credit union leaders should be able to explain why they are pursuing DEI. This is a commitment to making large-scale, enterprise-wide changes in all areas of the credit union, including talent evaluation, governance, member service, product delivery, and vendor selection. Reasons for setting DEI goals may include:
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