August 17, 2021
It’s been a year since LendKey came together as a company to open dialogue on racial equality and social injustice after the murder of George Floyd. Since that time, LendKey has launched several Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and we remain committed to speaking up and being part of the change. We believe that a diverse and inclusive team is critical to creating a welcoming and respectful work environment, driving innovation, and meeting the company’s goals.
LendKey also strives to partner with organizations who are committing to fight inequality and better serve underrepresented groups within the industry and beyond. This summer, LendKey partnered with leaders from the African American Credit Union Council, National Association of Federal Credit Unions and Navy Federal Credit Union to discuss their respective organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. During this roundtable discussion, panelists shared how events of systemic racial injustice have changed the way their organizations approach DEI and how credit unions and their partners can collaborate to be more impactful.
Reflection Drives Change
Renee Sattiewhite from African American Credit Union Council hosted the DEI panel discussion to discuss what changed in the panelist’s companies considering recent events of systemic racial injustice.
“As we started to reflect on the events that were happening, and we looked at our Navy Federal culture and our mission as an organization – diversity, equity and inclusion has always been a mainstay [at Navy Federal Credit Union]. But we felt it was more an opportunity to put rigor around the things we were doing… we thought it was really great to look in the mirror.” – Tynika Wilson, Navy Federal
“[Having these truthful conversations at LendKey] established the foundation for us to really open up as a company and to educate ourselves. It changed the culture a little bit – in a real positive way and created more intimacy. Which I think is really important [for our team] to trust their colleagues.” – Vince Passione, LendKey
“Letting people know that these discussions are safe, open, and encouraged with no repercussions. It forces people to learn from their colleagues, learn their backgrounds, and we can all come together at a diverse time. It’s a strength.” – Anthony Demangone, NAFCU Services
The secret sauce to success in an organization
One of our core values at LendKey is truthful. We believe that the truth is always your best defense and that honesty will allow us to grow stronger together. Early in the discussion about hosting a panel around DEI, LendKey focused on how to involve top companies within the financial industry to speak openly about how their companies were addressing these difficult topics, how they personally have been impacted and what action looks like to them.
During the discussion, the panelists spoke of their personal journeys and realizations throughout the course of the last few years and how the industry has changed when it comes to addressing employee’s mental health and standards of communication.
One of the points reiterated throughout the discussion was that each company grew to have direct conversations with their colleagues. As each company approached and encouraged this open dialog, it was a test of their company culture to stay truthful, open, and respectful. Panelists summarized the efforts into three key areas: awareness, education, and communication.
- Are you an inclusive leader and do you recognize unconscious bias?
- Do you have the training needed, are you equipped to have these difficult conversations, or do you need to find a partner to assist?
- Reflect and take meaningful action and address the struggles across all spectrums.
Diversity is good for business
As our panelists shared, these conversations are just the beginning of change and part of ongoing efforts to keep diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of every decision. Each of these organizations are proud to hire, embrace and and support people from all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and cultures. Creating a diverse and inclusive team builds a healthy company culture, increases employee retention, and drives innovation.
- People bring diverse backgrounds for unique ideas and perspectives to the business
- Increases the spectrum of skills across all departments and positions within the company
- Removes limitations and empowers the workforce
- Creates highly engaged employees bringing their authentic selves every day
- Higher performance and results
- Increases likelihood of attracting and retaining employees thereby reducing business costs
Watch the DEI Panel Discussion