2021 ABA/VBA DEI Summit Recap
May 20, 2021

Post Chandler Owdom

VBA and the American Bankers Association partnered to host the second-annual virtual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit for bankers on May 20, 2021. Four hundred people attended nationwide from 42 states and Washington DC. This event was an important part of continuing a meaningful dialogue on fostering positive change in the industry. Sponsored by The Council of FHLBanks, the value-packed program helped bankers become agents of change by building their “DEI Playbook” through eight strategy sessions, giving bankers the tangible tools needed to make a difference. 

“Truly insightful and eye opening to see DEI professionals explain that this journey is never ending. There is always an opportunity to grow in your understanding of others and how to grow together to improve an organization.” – 2021 Summit Attendee

2021 Strategy Sessions

Gaining Buy-In Strategy Session: Inclusion Matters: Strategies for Stakeholder Buy-In

  • Calandra Jarrell, Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion Executive, Bank of America
  • Victor Branch, Richmond Market President, Bank of America

Awareness Strategy Session: Building Belonging: Understanding Microaggressions, Micro-affirmations and Inclusion

  • Dee McDougal, US Head of DEI, Capco

Internal Conversations Strategy Session: Facilitating Team-Building Conversations around DEI in Today’s Environment

  • Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, American Bankers Association

Culture Strategy Session: Building and Maintaining a Culture of Inclusivity

  • Shannan Herbert, Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer, City First Bank
  • Francis Janes, Industry Relations and Partnerships Director, PNW, Beneficial State Foundation
  • Darrin Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Bancorp, Inc.


  • John Holdsclaw IV, EVP, Strategic Initiatives, National Cooperative Bank

Organizing Efforts Strategy Session: Moving from Awareness to Action to Accountability

  • Markita Jack, Senior Vice President, Sr. Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, First Horizon National Corporation

Hiring Practices Strategy Session: Creating and Implementing a Talent Acquisition and Retention Strategy

  • Brian Hoffman, Chief Evangelist and Co-Creator, BankTalentHQ
  • Roselle Rogers, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Circa

External Communications Strategy Session: Building DEI Into Your Bank’s Corporate Communications Strategy

  • Monica R. Sylvain, PhD, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Monica Sylvain Consulting LLC

Inclusion Strategy Session: Gracism: The Art of Inclusion

  • Dr. David Anderson, Founder and President, BridgeLeader Network (BLN)
  • Bruce Whitehurst, President and CEO, Virginia Bankers Association

Photos from the 2021 DEI Summit