U.S. Bank: The Business Case for Diversity is Inclusive Growth through Innovation

As a young boy growing up in Pittsburgh, I learned the value of hard work from my parents. My father was a dedicated small business owner, and my mother was determined to provide the best for her five children. We lost my father to health complications when I was just five years old. One of my most vivid memories of him was him hanging up a sign in his store, “owned by a soul brother,” so his butcher shop, his investment in our community and means of providing for our family, wouldn’t get burned or looted during the 1968 civil unrest.

Growing up without my father was one of many challenges I would face, however, each situation, obstacle and hurdle framed who I am and what I believe, today.

My career has taken me in many different directions, but it has been the past five years, and even more specifically the past two years, where I have had more job clarity than ever as the chief diversity officer at U.S. Bank. My role, quite simply, is to ensure that our purpose to power potential is true for ALL of our stakeholders, and that equity is at the center of all we do to serve employees, customers and communities. Throughout my career, I’ve focused on seeding culture into brands, and brands into culture with the goal of providing vision and creativity to construct bridges that guide organizations to outcomes that positively impact our communities.

Leadership is not all visionary though, and sometimes achieving measurable outcomes requires us to dig deep and explore how historical injustices have placed us in the positions where we stand today. Historically, witnessing meaningful progress in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been difficult because there haven’t been business-focused, time-based goals.

Following George Floyd’s murder, which happened just three miles from our Minneapolis headquarters, U.S. Bank and many organizations made significant commitments to help solve racial up, are small business owners able to create one more job and inequities. Our U.S. Bank commitments included partnering with fintech companies, small businesses, women-owned and minority owned businesses. This work became transformative for the organization and how we think about DEI – shifting from a practice around talent and human capital management almost through innovation. Innovation brings greater creativity and exclusively, to a real focus on inclusive growth for our internal and external stakeholders.

For U.S. Bank, we realized that we could make a social impact by working to provide access. In 2021, we launched U.S. Bank Access Commitment™, our long-term approach to help close the racial wealth gap. Creating access has become an exercise in how the company can use its core competencies to power potential for segments that were historically, and currently, underrepresented. And we’re holding ourselves accountable to our commitments by being transparent about our work.

In 2022, we partnered with the Urban Institute to build a framework for how best to capture our social impact. We want to know how many small business owners we helped, how many new homeowners we assisted, how many individuals and families are feeling financially confident, did graduation rates go up, are small business owners able to create one more job and are people building generational wealth. The measurement will be challenging, but we are committed to sharing updates on our journey.

I believe the business case for diversity now is inclusive growth through innovation. Innovation brings greater creativity and decision-making. It allows for discourse, dialogue and people’s various life experiences. And I believe a successful DEI workforce strategy can only exist as an enabler of an intentional inclusive growth strategy tied to the goals of the business.

Whether we’re helping employees grow in their careers, helping individuals and families thrive financially, or helping communities thrive, DEI efforts are a catalyst for growth and — it all stems from innovation with equity at the center.




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