By Herschel Herndon, Chief Diversity Officer, Thrivent
I joined Thrivent, a Fortune 500 financial services organization, as Chief Diversity Officer in December of 2019. I was honored to bring my years of experience in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), honed through previous leadership roles at five other industries, to Thrivent. When I made the decision to join Thrivent, it was because they are a purpose-driven company, and I felt I could use that energy to leverage diverse talent and community relationships and enable Thrivent to expand markets.
Thrivent is focusing on expanding our talent by working with national search firms that specialize in diverse slates of candidates and by partnering with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to recruit for internships and longer-term opportunities. Thrivent is also creating strategic developmental opportunities for employees by utilizing organizations such as McKinsey & Company’s Black Leadership Academy to help accelerate the progression of Black leaders. Both executive-level and mid-career Thrivent professionals are participating in the program tracks.
These are just a few of the ways Thrivent intends to acquire and leverage diverse talent.
We need the best talent, and talent that reflects our markets, so we can provide customized services to our clients. Accordingly, we’ve added sales enablement roles that assist field sales staff to open new markets and better attend to underserved market segments across the country.
It is important that Thrivent continues to strengthen its understanding of the problems and needs in the communities we serve, so we can help solve real problems and provide real opportunities. With this in mind, Thrivent plans to develop ways to provide real support on the journey towards financial clarity – which is essential for wealth development, which in turn bolsters opportunity and equity.
This holistic approach to DEI would not be possible without support at all levels. I am grateful for the overwhelming support from individual contributors to the board of directors. This type of engagement is unique in my experience and will help propel us even further in our efforts.
We’re committed to this important work, demonstrating that Thrivent is a great place to work and do business – where we can all make the most of all we’ve been given. We’re focused on developing high-performing teams where everyone can bring their best while being themselves. We know diversity and inclusion will drive high levels of trust and respect within and across teams. Diverse and inclusive perspectives help make our organization innovative and competitive so that we can attract the best talent and experience transformative, breakthrough growth as we serve diverse communities.
Thrivent is driven by the idea that humanity thrives when people make the most of all they’ve been given. This is why building diversity and inclusion into the fabric of the organization is so important. Through its DEI efforts, Thrivent strives for a legacy of driving broad institutional and societal change.