Synchrony: Writing the Next Chapter of Diversity and Inclusion

by Curtis Howse and Michael Matthews

(l to r) Curtis Howse, Executive Vice President & CEO of Payment Solutions, Synchrony and Michael Matthews, Chief Diversity & Corporate Responsibility Officer, Synchrony

By Curtis Howse and Michael Matthews

As a premier consumer financial services company, Synchrony has long been a leader in advancing diversity and inclusion (D&I), both within our company and in society. One of our core beliefs is that this effort is too important to remain static – it must continually evolve, becoming ever more rigorous in its execution and sustainable in the long term.

That’s why the company is taking the next step in our journey, elevating diversity and inclusion to one of our eight corporate strategic imperatives, with Board-level accountability. With this decision, the company is treating D&I the same way we would any other business imperative. This commitment applies new structure and focus to one of the most vital issues of our time.

The catalyst for our evolving path forward was the demand for social justice that emerged in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many others. We knew that our efforts had to go even further.

Diversity and inclusion at Synchrony is infused throughout, from the boardroom to the call center, championed by our CEO and President. We believe that writing this next chapter requires expanding the number of business leaders with the authority, and mandate, to drive action–and who now have D&I as part of their remit.

More than two dozen men and women are part of a new task force led by our President, building stronger alignment to our business platforms and operational divisions. Many are executive sponsors of our employee groups or Diversity Networks, of which a majority of our workforce are actively engaged in helping cultivate a culture of inclusion.

Together with our fellow leaders, we are applying agile 
principles, concentrating on three pillars:

  • Workforce development and inclusion: Increasing diverse employee talent at all levels of the workforce and strengthening an inclusive culture and well-being for all.
  • Financial growth and wellness: Advancing financial 
opportunities, growth and wellness among diverse communities 
and businesses.
  • Racial equality and social reform: Increasing our commitment to addressing deeply rooted gender and racial disparities within the communities we serve.

Synchrony already has made important strides. In February 2020, we launched the Advancing Diverse Talent initiative, which uses data analytics to identify gaps and opportunities within our workforce, shaping our strategies around hiring, developing and advancing underrepresented talent. As a result, we have put more focus on increasing Black and Hispanic employee representation at all levels, particularly vice president and above. We tied leaders’ performance metrics to diversity improvements.

We also redesigned our leadership development programs to increase the diversity of our leadership pipeline and retain high-potential talent through our Advancing Diverse Talent Leadership Institute.

The D&I task force is building on this strong foundation:

  • We committed $15 million to support non-profits that are advancing social justice, making a difference in the lives of Black Americans, and helping pandemic-impacted small businesses and communities. This includes $2 million to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to assist minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • As a member of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, we’re identifying and using diverse suppliers whenever possible.
  • We joined the nonpartisan Time to Vote initiative and the 
Business Roundtable’s call for paid time off to vote. We launched an online platform to make it easier for employees to register 
to vote.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is not new. What is new is our elevated approach and focus across the organization, which we hope will become a model for other companies that want to put more executive muscle behind their efforts.

The value of a diverse workforce is clear. Diverse, inclusive teams fuel innovation and drive better, more profitable results. They are better at attracting top talent and better at serving our diverse customers and partners. By establishing a long-term strategy that enlists our senior executives in achieving a set of concrete goals, Synchrony will become a better, more inclusive company for all of our stakeholders.

To learn more about Synchrony’s commitment to D&I, go to


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