Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are a hot topic in all industries, and we’ve been talking about this a lot lately in the credit union space too. The communities around us are becoming more and more diverse. Having a robust DEI program that is a part of the credit union’s strategic plan sets up an organization for future success in the form of membership growth, product and service innovation, and better risk management practices.
Before becoming global CEO of ViClarity, I led Coopera, consulting with credit unions on how to build strategies to meet the needs of underrepresented markets and raise their multicultural membership. Cultivating a team that understands the needs of their credit union’s members helps to spur development of products and services and builds a more inclusive financial landscape, which not only benefits underserved communities but credit unions themselves.
Now, as a leader at ViClarity—a global governance, risk, and compliance software and services firm—I’ve been working with my colleagues to focus on understanding the relationship between compliance and DEI practices to better serve our clients. With our credit union partners, we are seeing their financial inclusion work and compliance obligations intersect and overlap. Our own principles help us to understand that a diverse, well-rounded team positions us to successfully serve the unique needs of each client (and by extension, their members).
DEI starts with leadership
While every person in an organization has a duty and responsibility for the success of a DEI program, it all begins with leadership. An executive team and board that reflects their employees, members and community positively impacts the culture of their organization and the quality of business operations. Corporate governance is a critical component of DEI and a leadership team that fails to understand their role in it is likely to find their initiatives falling flat.
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