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Oct. 3, 2018

Federal Reserve Holds #MinoritiesInBanking Forum

Richmond Fed’s Kimberly Dickerson moderates a panel with Deborah Augustine Elam, president of the Corporate Playbook. Elam discussed how to activate the C-Suite for minority talent during Banking and the Economy: A Forum for Minorities in Banking held September 27–28 at the Richmond Fed in Charlotte, North Carolina.

By Laura Fortunato

An engaging audience of 155 people attended the two-day forum for minority bankers held at the Richmond Fed’s Charlotte Branch.

The program was led by Financial Institution Outreach at the Richmond Fed, in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. 

How do you define diversity? What is the state of diversity in your organization? Do you feel your bank is doing a good job at increasing diversity, as well as creating an inclusive workplace?

These questions were at the heart of the conversations that took place recently in restaurants throughout North Carolina’s Queen City. At the table were minority midlevel to senior banking and financial services professionals who gathered for networking and straight talk on the diversity landscape within their industry. The evening was a prelude to the topics and authentic discussions that would play out during the Federal Reserve’s two-day forumOffsite for minorities in banking held September 27–28 at the Richmond Fed’s Charlotte branch.

Deborah Augustine Elam, president of the Corporate Playbook, energized the room during her onstage interview with the Richmond Fed’s Kimberly Dickerson when she declared emotionally: “Be intentional. Activate your C-Suite talents.” Elam, who formerly held dual roles as General Electric’s chief diversity officer and president of the General Electric Foundation, went on to explain how to accomplish that directive.

“Listening to Deborah Elam has been a highlight,” entrepreneur Burton Powell commented afterward. “She had real world answers.”

Wintrust’s Melissa Donaldson shared her expertise on how to strengthen the pipeline for minority excellence in banking as part of her keynote address at the luncheon.

Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin gave remarks on the second day of the forum. He began by emphasizing the importance that the Federal Reserve has placed on its diversity and inclusion efforts.

“Diversity is a major priority for the Richmond Fed and throughout the Federal Reserve System,” Barkin said. “It’s important for us to think about diversity not only in the context of our own workforce and supplier base, but also in the financial industry more broadly.” The forum was a collaborative effort between the Board of Governors and the Reserve Banks in Kansas City, Richmond, Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Dallas and Chicago.

“This has been one of the best conferences I’ve attended in a while,” said Femeia Adamson of Sun Trust Bank. “The different perspectives and the size of the conference have helped me meet people and have in-depth conversations.”

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Jim Strader (804) 697-8956 (804) 332-0207 (mobile)
Laura Fortunato (804) 697-8196 (804) 698-0927 (mobile)