VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts

Overview Chandler Owdom

VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts

As a part of our 2019-2021 VBA Strategic Plan, the VBA created the goal of developing recommendations for how VBA can assist members in building a more diverse future leadership. The below efforts are a summary of the initiatives we have since started in this space, as well as resources for banks as they begin or further their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and efforts at their own organizations.

This list highlights important initiatives and resources but is not comprehensive of VBA efforts in the DEI space.

2020-2021 DEI Efforts Summary

2021-2022 DEI Efforts Summary

ABA/VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summits

VBA and the American Bankers Association partnered to launch our first-ever virtual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit for bankers on November 6, 2020, and held a second Summit on May 20, 2021. These events were an important part of continuing a meaningful dialogue on fostering positive change in the industry. The value-packed programs helped bankers cultivate a network of peers to share DEI leading practices and explore new opportunities and initiatives for their own institutions. The goal of these events was to equip bankers from all over the country with tools to mitigate systemic biases and foster greater inclusion for those disadvantaged by age, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender or other identity factors.

  • More than 275 people attended the 2020 Summit
  • 400 people attended the 2021 Summit
  • 575 people from 42 states attended the 2022 Summit, held jointly with the ABA and the Maryland Bankers Association

A total of 1,250 bankers across the country have participated in these programs. Our next Summit will be held on September 14, 2023 virtually. Save the date!

2020 ABA/VBA DEI Summit Event Recap

2021 ABA/VBA DEI Summit Event Recap

2022 ABA/VBA/MBA DEI Summit Event Recap

VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

The VBA created a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council in 2019 to help guide the creation of DEI initiatives and programming for member banks. The Council is a key driver of our DEI efforts. The Council meets throughout the year to exchange ideas, network and serve a sounding board for the VBA as we work to support our member banks in their DEI efforts.

Women in Banking Initiatives

The VBA began the Women’s Mentorship Program in 2020 as a turn-key experience for banks that want to provide senior-level employees the opportunity to mentor high-potential women in their own banks. We are now in the third official year of the 10-month program, where the VBA provides wrap-around educational opportunities and guidance for the one-on-one mentor/mentee meetings.  It also provides connection and network-building opportunities for the participants.  

VBA Women’s Mentorship Pilot Program Recap

2022 Women’s Mentorship Program Recap: Thirteen mentor/mentee pairs completed the 2021-2022 cohort of the program, preparing these talented women for future senior leadership positions. 

Additionally, the VBA has continued to actively engage our Executive Women in Banking Peer Group. This group is comprised of women banking leaders, at the SVP level and higher, who serve as a forum to generate ideas to foster the growth of women in Virginia’s banking industry both personally and professionally.

The group also helped create a new communication for this demographic. In March 2021, in conjunction with Women’s History Month, the VBA developed and distributed a new e-newsletter, ELEVATE, a quarterly publication for women in banking and those who support them. Sign up for ELEVATE here. Access the latest issue and links to previous issues here (under the ELEVATE dropdown). 

Our Women in Banking Conference takes place each December. We have been hosting a Women in Banking Conference for ten years, which brings together more than 100 women for a day of motivation, engagement and learning. 

Finally, we have our International Women’s Day event coming up. International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8th to commemorate the cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women. The theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity.  Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Moving towards gender equity isn’t limited to women fighting the fight – allies are incredibly important for the advancement of women.  No matter who you are, we can – and have the responsibility to – join together to challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination and seek inclusion.

This year, the VBA, in partnership with the VBA Executive Women in Banking Peer Group, is excited to offer a fireside chat with Cathy Nestrick, Senior Director, Women’s Leadership Initiative & DEI. Click here to learn more.

Recruitment Solution Through BankTalentHQ

Cultivating a diverse candidate pool requires a diverse recruitment strategy. To develop a workforce rich in diversity, you should consider the quality and demographic sourcing of your candidates. Are you just posting a job on websites and hoping for the best? Is your current diversity recruitment activity driving results? Growing a diverse workforce will take more than putting jobs on ad-hoc websites.

VBA’s career center partnership with BankTalentHQ includes access to America’s Job Exchange (AJE) to make connecting even easier for your bank. BankTalentHQ is committed to putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront of the recruiting process and has developed a partnership with Circa. Circa provides niche diversity sites and community-based recruiting to reach the candidates you need to succeed. Circa is a catalyst for 21st-century companies to build high-performing diverse teams based on research that shows companies want to shift from diversity as a program to diversity as a business strategy. Circa’s robust portfolio of software solutions and unparalleled industry expertise give customers the tools and knowledge they need to radically change how they approach talent acquisition and management. The joining of these two great companies brings accelerated growth and expanded services for you.

When you post an available position on BankTalentHQ, that job is automatically disseminated into Circa’s network. Circa’s Diversity Recruiting is comprised of a network of 15,500+ community-based organizations including: 

  • Women
  • Minorities
  • Individuals with Disabilities
  • Veterans
  • Older Workers
  • Professional and Industry Organizations
  • College Students
  • One-Stop Career Centers

We know diversity and inclusion are important to your bank and VBA and BankTalentHQ are dedicated to making your recruitment activity easy and effective. Don’t waste another minute – click here to post your available positions and reach 15,500+ community-based organizations automatically. Questions? Contact Amy Binns.

Internal DEI Efforts at the VBA

The VBA is committed to supporting our member banks in their DEI journeys, and we are equally committed to providing training, opportunities for conversation and continuous evaluation of our business practices.

The VBA conducts internal training for staff in this space, and various VBA staff members participate in, attend or speak at external DEI forums and events. 

Related Events & DEI Training Opportunities

ABA/VBA DEI Summit Spotlight
Self-Paced Training for Your Team!

The ABA/VBA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit helped lay the groundwork for a better banking industry. Be an agent of change for your bank by delving into the DEI Summit Spotlight, a collection of four recorded strategy sessions from the event. Whether you missed it live, or are gearing up for the next DEI Summit, you can now access important sessions that will nurture your DEI efforts—no matter where you are in your journey. Hear directly from DEI experts, and master the leading practices in mitigating systemic barriers that exist for marginalized groups in the—all while learning actionable steps to implement change. Learn more here*.
*VBA members – contact Chandler Owdom for information about member pricing.

Sessions Included:

  • Building Belonging: Understanding Microaggressions and Micro-affirmations 
  • Inclusion: The Three Levels of Diversity, and the Four Ways to Get There
  • Building DEI into Your Bank’s Corporate Communications Strategy
  • Facilitating Team-Building Conversations around DEI in Today’s Environment

View additional upcoming events here.

New in 2022: Virginia Banking Fellows Program in Partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education

In our newest effort, the VBA Education Foundation has partnered with the Virginia Foundation for Community Colleges to offer a statewide scholarship opportunity for underrepresented students – those from minority backgrounds, low-income, first in their family to attend college, or other factors such as disabilities or foster youth. The Foundation initially committed to support 12 total students over the next two years to be a part of this new program but thanks to the support of seven VBA member banks, we will actually be supporting 13 students in the first year which is really exciting.

This opportunity is available to students from the 23 community colleges across the state. Virginia Banking Fellows have opportunities to make meaningful connections with VBA members and other students in their region and statewide.

Virginia Banking Fellows each receive a $10,000 scholarship, have the opportunity to take banking industry online training courses and possibly be connected to internship opportunities at VBA member banks. 

Please contact Monica McDearmon for more information about this partnership. 

Additional Resources

  • American Bankers Association’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion webpage and resources