Leaders in Lending
Leaders in Lending

Episode · 1 year ago

Economic Inclusion: Developing a DEI Strategy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Banks and financial institutions play an integral role in the pursuit of true equality in America. By opening up new opportunities and increasing access to capital, they can build a more economically-inclusive world.


In this episode, Sui Lang Panoke, Sr. Vice President - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion at Zions Bank, shares why DEI needs to be deeply integrated into your business strategy to be successful and sustainable.

Sui Lang has over two decades of experience fighting for social, racial, and economic justice in the political arena. In her current role, she’s in charge of developing a comprehensive DEI strategy focused on economic inclusion. Zions Bank is one of the oldest financial institutions in the Intermountain West. Dedicated to supporting economic development in the communities it serves, the bank offers a range of financial services across Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.

We discuss:

- Establishing trust within a community

- How DEI contributes to a high-performance organization

- Advocating for a set of values to build economic inclusion

- Advice for your DEI strategy

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- Believe in People by Charles Koch and Brian Hooks

- Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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There's a very specific role that banks and financial institutions play in the bigger picture of achieving true equality and America, and again, that is building economic inclusion. You are listening to leaders and lending from upstart a podcast dedicated to helping consumer lenders grow their programs and improve their product offerings. Each week here, decision makers in the finance industry offer insights into the future of the lending industry, Best Practices around digital transformation. In more let's getting to the show. Well, thanks so much for joining the podcast to day. So feel I really appreciate your joining us. My pleasure. Jeff, thanks for the invitation. Yeah, I'm excited for the conversation today because I I talked to a lot of lending executives, but we don't talk to a lot of people about other topics in banking. I this is one that I think is really interesting. So can you tell me a little bit before we get started, just about Zions Bank and your role there Indi because I think that's not you know, it's really interesting role to me to see how you define what it is and what it means in the context of the bank. Yeah, sure, Jeff, and just a little bit about my professional background. My background is actually in the political arena. Most of the diversity, I could inclusion work that I have done has been with political leaders diversify and political leadership, and also democratizing the media landscape, amplifying the voices of women people of Color in the local and mainstream media. I do not have a financial services background. However, it works well because I work with a lot of people who do and a lot of people at the bank don't have my skill set, and so together we kind of partner and we complement one another to build out what we hope will be a successful diversity echo inclusion strategy. Step into science bank coming from a social, racial economic justice background. So I do this because people's livelihood and lives depend on it. Generally. Sometimes in the private sector the perception can be different right corporations only get on board when it impacts their bottom line. I'm happy to report to you that Science Bank it comes at this with a completely different approach. They've been doing diversity a good inclusion since inception. But in two years science bank will celebrate our one hundred and fifty anniversary. So clearly leadership knows how to build a profitable and sustainable business. Truly an honor to be associated with the Science Bank brand and the work that we do here is absolutely timely for the industry. And to go back to my role here and what the purpose is, what we're here to do is to champion economic inclusion. There's a very specific role that banks and financial institutions play in the bigger picture of achieving true equality and America, and again, that is building economic inclusion. And what we're socializing here is building economic conclusion by opening opportunity, increasing access and investing our capital. We say capital, we mean three things. Number One, human capital, are people ball number two, social capital, the relationships, the trust that we build amongst our teams, with our clients and ultimately in the community, and thoroughly, financial capital, which is our monetary investments. So we can do all of those things successfully, we will be successful in building economic inclusion. I want to get back to your definition of economic conclusion, how you think about that. But but I would take a step backcause we had talked about your background a little bit before we started and you were telling me what brought you like what bring someone out of the social justice world into the banking world? What attracted you to to this role in this institution, because it's not an obvious next step for someone who who is doing what you were doing. Agreed. Agree, and thank you so much for that question. I always tell people I accepted this offer and also, I guess it's notable to note that Aziens Bank found me in the community. They had reached out to me within one week. It was September of last year. I had three organisations in Utah reached out to me strongly encouraging me to apply for these roles. They were all leadership roles, leading their DII efforts in pretty well known and established organizations here...

...in the State of Utah. And quickly, you know, the Science Bank became my number one. I became their number one. I officially started in this role December of two thousand and twenty. So I just celebrate my seven month anniversary's and excited about the work that we've already accomplished so far. He had science bank, but I accepted this offer for three reasons. Number one, opportunity to work with Scott Anderson. Scott Anderson was our president CEO. He is one of the greatest D I champions I have ever personally and professionally worked with easy Unicorn. Number two, in opportunity to do divers the actor inclusion work in the financial services industry and again, going back to the whole where we are at two thousand and twenty one, specific role that banks play in that broader picture of achieving true equality in America. And number three, in opportunity to work with white men. Specifically, a lot of my work in Washington was working with women and communities of Color, getting them, you know, and really moving the needle on public policy, recognizing the impact that public policy has on our daily lives right and kind of shifting culture and policy so that we can again create broader opportunity and more equality, equity, all of those good things across America so we could truly be proud of who we are as Americans and live out our fundamental principles and values here and so doing so. That is I feel like my background and the work that I've done in the political arena really lends itself to the DEI space and also in the corporate sector, especially in industry like banking and finance, because politics is all about building social capital right, leveraging your financial capital to achieve certain outcomes and I would argue currently, right now in the industry and across America, social capital needs to be at the forefront of everything that we do, because I feel like that's the area that we are lacking right there's a lot of distrust that exists amongst different industries, different subgroups, different even leaders, right. It's so it's really important to find ways to build trust across differences, build bridges, alignment alliances, things like that, so that we can really create opportunities for all Americans to thrive. How do you think about the building trust within the community? It's kind of it seems like a central tenant of your work is around trust and building trust. I know, I know we spoke about that earlier, but I'd love you to dolindle bit of how you think about the ways one actually builds trust with the community and how different people can be important and your efforts to do that. That's a great question and you know, people trust people who they know are going to show up right. They don't just show up when it's going to it's going to benefit them right. It's important to the another part of the the concepts that we roll out here is threefold in terms of our philosophy and our approach to rolling out our diverse air coneclusion programs is number one, I listen right, number two, I learn and number three, I lead. So it's important to do those things in that order and in my experience that is when individuals and organizations are successful at building trust. So you first listen with a sincere desire to understand, right. That builds empathy and understanding, and then you learn. Okay, everyone can learn something from someone else. There's not just no one has the Gout, what you call it. No one has the the franchise a knowledge, right, but we can learn from it. Some people might have other degrees from others more experience in this particular we build, but everyone brings perspectives and experiences to the table that are highly valuable right to any organization when developing their products and services. So it's important to place value on perceptions and...

...experiences, as well as academic background, experience, things like that. And then the eye lead, you know. So it's important to listen first, then learn and then lead out on whatever initiatives or missions you know that you may be pushing forward as an organization. Everyone is a member of the DEI team here at Science Bank. Everyone is a diversity inclusion champion, you know, and so it takes a whole. And then, in addition to that, building trust. I we spoke this a little bit earlier, but we talked about it in terms of building circles of trust. There are micro circles and then there are macro circles of trust. So all of the signs bank is one big macro circle of trust. The way that you strengthen the macro version is by successfully building micro circles of trust. First, and just as an advisual Jeff, let me just personally ask you, what is your inner circle of trust look like? Is it five people? Is a five hundred people? My inner circle of trust? Your inner CIRC just my wife? I'm going to get in trouble until listens to the podcast, so I'm going to go with my wife. She listens to these. So my wife is my inner circle of trust. And then, you know, I'd say my inner circle trusts got to be a handful of people right, that you just could absolutely count on, depend on and trust kind of without question. Exactly. So trust starts at a very small, intimate, micro level and as we grow those circles of trust. That's how you can be successful in building that macro circle of trust. But it starts at the individual level three, four, five people and then expands into hundreds, thousand, sometimes millions. I love this listen, learn, lead framework. I think that's really interesting. It reminds me actually a lot more my wife is a medical school since we brought out my wife up bring this up. You know, they had a teaching methodology that called see one, do one, teach one. Like it. You know, if you were going to learn a procedure, you would see it done once, you would do it and then you would teach someone to do it and that's when you knew it, when you could teach it. And I thought that was a great framework and this feel similar. You're kind of listening, you're learning, you're leading. Do you use that in the context of training programs? Is that a personal thing, like how does not really play out practically in the way you think about the programs you're you're rolling out at Zions or or the way you actually implement the EI or any guy. Did feel like it's not the specific right this is a general framework for for some of these kinds of learnings and leadings, but I'm curious how that actually, you know, displays itself in the work that you do. Yeah, a couple things. Will all the aboff that you just outlined, which it is used to in full, warm our engagement, our communication, our leadership development resources that we develop here at the programs. Also want to go back to something you also stated. You know, this may not be DII, it absolutely is Dei, diversary eguit inclusion. What's most important for organizations that understand is how really examining, how you first define it. Right, diversity is defined by our differences. Right. The differences exists in any organization and that includes race, gender, socio economic status. So also includes leadership style, personality, are an introvert, extrovert, cultural backgrounds, regional differences, religious differences, political affiliation, all those things contribute to the overall diversity of any given organization. And then our inclusion is defined by our culture, right, the manner in which we conduct ourselves. You know what is acceptable what is unacceptable here at Science Bank, and that's all determined by our people. Right, the behaviors that we use and what is considered to be Zions way, if you will. And the equity tool is I describe. That is really reflected in our values and that is much more deeply reflected in the manner in which we do business. It's the integrity, it's the trust, the honesty, transparency, accuracy, all those things, and trying to be as objective as possible, creating a space where all people feel like they belong, they are valued, they are heard and also support corded, and so that is what's going to result in what we call a high performance...

...organization. I have this other thing called the DEI equation that I I've implemented here, and it's basically diversity times people, plus your environment or Culture Times inclusion equals a high performance organization. In high performance organizations are successful achieving results and, as I mentioned earlier, our ultimate goal here at Science Bank is to build economic inclusion, and we do so by capitalizing on the full value of our human capital. That's what Du is about, is really capitalizing on the full value of your human capital. I'm the people person, so any aspect of your business that has to do with people, that's Dei. Right. Yeah, isn't that program set aside for women and people of Color? No, it's for all employees and needs to be deeply integrated into the business strategy in order to be successful and sustainable. Yeah, it's a great transition because one of the things that I was curious about in terms of your role, but just how you think about D Ei broadly within the bank, is it's kind of you know, there's, I imagine, internal focuses on employees and culture and diversity. There's can be a focus on having maybe a more diverse customer base or the kinds of communities that you're serving and also the accessibility of different banking products to those communities, and I just really was curious your thoughts on how you think about those different layers of what you what's your focus on? Indi where you how you impact each or where you spent the majority of your time, because it feels like there's a lot of places that you can focus on, a lot of things to think about when it comes to making sure we're really being, you know, equitable and inclusive as an institution. Yeah, Jeff, and you're absolutely right. Internal N X, there needs to be two separate strategies, internal focus and an external focus, and in the banking industry I would argue the external strategy is most important because banks don't offer it internally, they operate externally, and so you could have healthiest, you know, most thriving internal culture. If you're not doing what you need to do in the community with your clients, giving opening opportunity and access to capital, you're not necessarily you will. You're definitely not building economic inclusion. For once, you need to go back and rethink your strategy. But for my role, we have this thing called the five pillars. The first three pillars are primarily focused on our internal efforts and I would say my role here the bank is overwhelming. Majority of it is focused internally. I will is to drive and shift culture so that we have a culture in which employees can perform at their best, and that's when employees bill heard, seen, valued and supported. That's when we perform at our best. So the first three pillars are number one, we have a one science d EI Council that's made up of leadership across the bank's footprint and the Science Bank Corporation, which we refer to as the enterprise from pretty each of our business lines are represented in that council. We meet monthly to kind of talk about high level big picture strategy. The second one is our employee business forms. We have nine of them. Each of them are led by employees who identify as being a member or an ally of any given specific group or community. Each of those employed business forms are also paired with an executive sponsor from our C sweet and the executive sponsors role is not to lead these groups, it is to serve as a support to there, to kind of leverage whatever resources are needed, communicate back to the one science d I counsel what is happening in them and so forth. The third pillar is our inclusion champions. So Science Bank is divided up into ten regions. ocase regions is led by a regional executive management committee. We've also identified inclusion champions in each region that sit on these executive committees and their role is to really customize and localize our dei programming for that particular region. What's going to be successful in Sun Valley, Idaho is going to be vastly different from what's going to be successful in St George Utah, and so it's really important to make sure everything is customized and localized to have...

...a more, you know, the most successful, deepest impact in those communities that we serve. So those are internal efforts. We've also launched speaker series that has been wildly successful, hosting panel conversations with community leaders in science bank leaders on a whole host of topics that are relevant to building up our strategy. We also launched a onesience mental health initiative as well. Back in February, Scott Anderson wanted to make mental health top priority here in science bank in two thousand and twenty one and beyond. You know, obviously it's a hot top topic for so many organizations coming out of the pandemic. Yeah, and so the ones that are mental health initiative is threefold. Who Actually has four components? We offer weekly meditation sessions. Number two, we started a book club, I, which is a combination between a podcast, a think tank and a book club. We meet monthly. We're hosting a reason the book believe in people by Charles Cook Brian Hooks. I encourage everyone out there listening pick up this book. This is probably the most especially for the banking, financial services industry, because everyone knows to Charles Koke is right. But who was just to? Who'd you say? I recommend everybody. What was the name of the book in the author again, so I got to put this on my my Amazon. Least remind me again what that was. Pretty Pretty. The name of the book is believe in people. Believe in people. Yep, charls coke of Koch brothers, the Coke Industry. Your Coke Industries are probably organization number two, largest publicly traded company in America. And then Brian Hooks. You partner with him as well. But they highlight diversity, achoon inclusion across the landscape, highlighting which describes social entrepreneurs and the concept of the book is really empowering people from the bottom up is what's going to create a transformative organization that's really going to impact communities and solve our natives most pressing problems. So it is a wonderful diversity. I could inclusion book. If any of you want to start book club at Your Bank, highly recommend and then we'm here, so I'm going to have to bring that one into the book club here at upstart for that. I like that. Awesome, awesome. And then we host quarterly mental health conversations on a wide range of topics based on, you know, employees, interest in need. And then the two, just real briefly, the two final pillars. That are our external outreach. Number four is our access to credit. It's our products and services. How we design those? How are we opening opportunity and access to communities who have historically been denied opportunity and access, and how can we put capital hands of these individuals and businesses so that our entire community can thrive? Right? And Science Bank just launched what we call our small business diversity banking program is designed to invest and grow women owned, ethnic minority owned and veteran owned businesses. So encourage you to check that out. Yeah, fifth pillar is our community investments and, as you mentioned earlier, Jeff, investing in the community is top priority here in science bank. We've pride ourselves and calling ourselves a community bank who has served the community for almost a hundred and fifty years. And when you go back to the trust piece we were talking about earlier, look at what the organization has done in the community and that's how you know they can be trusted. Right. Is Your Organization building a High Trust brand? Do members the community trust your brand to take care of them, to be there for them, to come to their aid? Do you put people first? Right, these questions in the minds of people in our communities. How do you think about measuring that? I mean, I love the concept of trust. I think if anything, in my conversations with bankers, this message of trust is maybe the most important corner of the coin of the realm in terms of the value we can actually have for the long term health of the bank. I hear that over and over again, but I always cared. How do you think about, you know, measuring what you're doing? Is it delivering trust? What can we do to improve the level of...

...trust? I it seems like a challenging thing to measure and then figure out how to actually impact other than through intuitive ways of like the I think this, people must like this, but how do you go about measuring and being kind of quantitative in your approach to that question? Absolutely, absolutely so. We do conduct a lot of surveys and I'm a big champion of measuring impact, and that's that's our ultimate goal of impact right by using quantitative and qualitative data. It just as you say, it's difficult to measure trust right on a on a scale of one to tent. You know. I mean you could ask question, but you know, it's tough to measure the soft impact that we're having right the describe their relationships that we have built, how people feel about the organization. You can only go so far with that with the quantitative data, but the data always tells a story, but it never tells the full story, and so it's important to a engage in conversations with members of the community here. Their personal stories highlight testimonials, success stories with with businesses who have been granted a PPP loan write this past year and that has literally saved their business, saved their lives in many cases. So many of these small business owners have invested their entire lives in their businesses. These are family businesses and the pandemic just wiped them out. Had they not received the PPP low that they've gotten, they would have had to close their doors. And so new their numerous circumstances in which science bank and so many other banks out there as well have come to their aid and helped keep the businesses alive. But another thing to gage how well members the community trust you is who do they go to? Write? Who are you go to people in Times of need? And I can absolutely a test. This Zions Bank has been serving, I mean all aspects of our community for so long. We are generally one of the pillars in the community that people turn to for support, for aid, for leadership, for, you know, vision, direction, all those things. And so and again, I can't take credit for all this. I just joined the bank. You know. I'm very fortunate to have been able to step into an existing high trust organization, brand network of committed individuals who are sincerely just just so all about helping people. And that's it's the core of any diversity equity inclusion, any successful diversity echo inclusion programs, strategy, plant, whatever you want to call it. You have to care about people genuinely and if that is the case, you will be successful. I like that. I want to go by I feel. I feel terrible because I feel we've been having this whole conversation. You started off by saying, you know, the most important concept for you overall, and what kind of brought you to banking, was this idea of economic conclusion and increasing the degree that and we didn't explore kind of what you mean by that, how you measure that, how you think about what the Bank can do in practical terms to improve so I'd love to delve into that topics. I think it's a wonderful phrase. It's, you know, near and dear to our hearts here up start. We mean our mission statement was to, you know, enable access to credit, to broaden acts as a curd. Really what brought us in the world was a belief that many people were credit worthy and yet not understood to be so. So this idea of being more inclusive economically kind of it's kind of where we came from, but I'd love to get your point of view on what that really means, how you think about measuring progress towards a more economically inclusive society and what what practically, you know, Zions or, for our listeners at that, their banks. What can what can a bank do to really improve the economic inclusivity in their communities? Yeah, yeah, Nope, thank you so much for the question. Now, when I first started in this role, what we initially did as a bank was we were founding signatory and what we call the Utah Compact on racial equity, diversity and inclusion, and it was signed by Governor Herbert. At the...

...time, right before we had that transition, the administration transitioned into the cost amministration and so that was one of the final documents that he signed as governor. We hosted a press release up on Capitol Hill and encourage other community organizations, businesses, community leaders to sign on to this compact. In the compact outlines a set of values right that we are hoping we can foster across the beehive state that will get all people on board in helping US build economic inclusion. One Bank, one organization, one government cannot do this alone. We need all hands on deck to be committed, not just for the next four years but for a long term sustainable future, right. So we need to be all in for that long haul. If you wrote, so he starts there. In addition to that, there are four policy priorities that were outlined in the compact that we believe our essential and being successful building economic inclusion, and they are education, employment, housing and healthcare. And so it's not just about throwing money at the problem, and here I'm just going to give the small business owner Alan and boo. That's economic inclusion. We have to look at barriers, and oftentimes systemic barriers, that have kept individuals in our communities from being successful business owners, successful just professional, successful leaders in their homes, in their communities, in the workplace and start there. And Education is one of the you know, one of those. So increasing access to education, removing barriers to pursuing education. Healthcare, just coming out of the pandemic, oh my gosh, that is top of mind. It just takes one disastrous terminal disease, one case of Covid nineteen, to completely end an entire families economic situation right or completely transform it. You know, can end people's economic livelihood so so easy. And so healthcare is another piece of that. Housing, I mean, people need to have a roof over their head for them to even care about anything else. How can we address our homeless population of people who are experiencing homelessness in our communities? How can we support them and turn their their road right or their pathway into something positive, get them on the right path? And then, ultimately, employment. I mean we have Utah Is, Utah Idaho, the strongest economies in the nation, the lowest percentage of employment, unemployment rates. Right on the surface, if you look at that data alone, we're doing very well. Zions Bank, one thing, scions bank, but it's important to also note and to never forget the people who are not included in those statistics, and that's one thing I love about Scott Anderson. No matter how well we may be doing as a community or state or whatever economically, he never forgets the little the little guy, the little girl or those individuals are communities that are still struggling. We will never leave them behind and it's so, so important to always keep them included, because it isn't until all individuals can thrive, that we all thrive right, that we're really being successful in building this economic inclusion. So it's a merit of voice and it's the take all hands on deck. Absolutely. So I've got one more immediate question for myself that I have for you versus for the listeners, but maybe it's used forul for them as well. But now you had mentioned your employee groups. Internally we have a similar structure and I have ended up as a raised my hand to be the executive sponsor of our African American employee resource group. And to your point, I don't...

...leave the group. I'm the the executive sponsor. But what, what is your advice? I sometimes feel very cognisant that I'm not clearly a member of the you know, the of the group. I'm not, I don't identify as African American, which I don't think it's problematic, but I but I would love your advice on what I can do to be the most effective sponsor for that group, because I really want to make sure that I'm providing the most value I can in that role and I'm sometimes at a loss for what I can do and that role. So I would love your advice for those of us who are, you know, not in that community but trying to be the most helpful we can, particularly in the context of some of these, you know, company structures. They're trying to support different communities. That is such a beautiful question and I love that you guys have set up that employee resource group at your organization. I'm actually going to use an example, a real personal, well and professional story. Here at Science Bank we also black, African American employed business forum and our executive sponsor is also a white male and he has done a phenomenal job as serving as an ally and a partner in this work. His name is is Rob Bruff and I describe rob buff as our number two number three here at the bank. We've got number one, Scott Anderson, the CEO, number two, k halls the CFO, and then we got Rob Bruff, who is over all of marketing and he is truly a remarkable leader and he adopted a black son and so he also has a personal connection to the black and African American community. We most recently, our last event that we hosted through this business forum was on ally ship, and this is our ultimate goal across all of our nine employee business forms is to not just invite employs who identify as being members of these groups, but also inviting allies to come to the table and for so many of us, you know, overwhelm majority of our employees. We have almost fife hundred across Utah Idaho and Wyoming identify as white, and so we're going to be successful in doing this work, we have to build ally ship and make them feel like they are a part of this work to right. And so the last and point this is form event that we host. It was on ally ship and we had rob ruff, is one of our panels. We had Jennifer Smith, who is another just champion. She went all of Eteo, so she's our chief information officer over our enterprise technology office. There are more employees in Eacho than there are science bank, so there's a big role. And then our curtain was peaches, who is one of our inclusion champions in Idaho. And so the three of them vastly different experiences, vastly different UPBRINGINGS, vastly different roles here at the bank. Each one of them shared with all of us what ally ship looks like to them with this particular community and hearing their personal stories really I mean just help everyone who participated in that meeting. We had almost three hundred people tune in for this and it was probably one of the most impactful experiences that we've had here to date. You know it science banks, since we launched all these forums earlier this year. So you know, in terms of advice for someone serving as an executive sponsor, you know, I just go back to those three. I listen, I learn and I lead and continuously finding ways that you can support the community. First and foremost, listening is so, so important, so that you can hear it what ways they would prefer you to support them. Sometimes we step in these spaces, oh this is what they need, when in fact you got it all wrong. Actually know, what we need is this right? And again you're seeing the value in the different perspectives and experiences that other people and different communities brings the table perfect well, I appreciate you give me little bit of personal advice for my my own roles. That's very helpful for message is is there anything that you had wish I'd asked or that I missed...

...in the conversation today, or you think we covered the bases here? It's a pretty wide ranging discussion actually. Yeah, Jeff, I'm actually really impressed with both of us that we pack in so much content and hopefully valuable information for your listeners into thirty minutes. Thirty minutes. Wells fly, I'm usually acute for talking past but I think he kept up today. So I don't think I said in the lands feed record. Get a lot of content in there from your you know, listen learn lead framework to your diversity, i. quity inclusion equation, which I am going to have to have written out in the end the notes, because I think that was great and well a lot of conversations about what you was doing. I do have three questions that I typically ask at the end of the podcast. I'll modify one a little bit, even the context, but here they are. What's the number one. What's the best piece of career advice you've ever gotten you've had an interest in? You're not not all in bankings. You've been a lot of a lot of different places. What's the the best career advice you've gotten? Great Question. I would say finding ways to partner with unlikely allies, unlikely partner I like. See this is very different than I get from my most of my banker. I guess to this is we're getting word for making the ground. Do you have an example of that? Like, that's good, great, great concept. Yes, a me, as a woman of color with a background of politics, partnering with a White Male Conservative in the financial services industry, like a Scott Anderson together, when you find commonality across those differences, that's a win. Yeah, it's always opportunities for growth and expansion, expanding that circle of trust. So you know, in the political arena it's like you partnering the Most Liberal, you know, write leaders, the most conservative you know, bringing them together when they can find commonality and a what to align their efforts, that's a win right. So that's always been my little piece of advice that I've taken from so many allyside professors. I, like pobably other probably said I want to want that. It's great. I love that piece of advice. Yeah, my second question is usually your best advice you've heard for consumer lending. But like we set down a side, since you're not constorically consumer lender, and ask what's the you know, for someone interested in, you know, becoming a better ally or starting or kind of sustaining war real di efforts within their institution should what's the best advice you have for someone who's interested in really making a difference in that way within their own institution, in sustaining the efforts? Absolutely? What important thing is? It needs to go straight to the top, right. It needs to come from the top, and I have developed aiy strategies in both the public and private sector. The way you build out a successful strategy is look at look at the power structure in which you're operating it. In the public sector, the private power lies with the people. Right, in a democratic society, you organize mobilized, votarized people and that applies pressure to government and that's when we start seeing policy to right. In the private sector, the power lies at the top, right the C suite, the CEO and if you're going to be successful, you need to engage them, get them on board and then you have the trickle down effect. So one thing that I negotiated when accepting this role is I had to report directly to the number one right this had to be top of mind, the leadership had to be leading out on it in order for us to be successful. And it's also a faster way for someone like me, who's so new to the bank, to build the social capital that is needed to move the needle and shifting culture. And so that's a critical, critical element to building a successful strategy. Oftentimes this role is buried in hr or buried in learning and development or is buried in somewhere where it's not deeply integrated into the business strategy. Diverse the actor inclusion is a business imperative and if you move forward with that philosophy and approach, you will be successful. That's great advice. I like that. And so here's my last question. Is What it's one bold prediction for the future. Oh...

...my gosh, yes, it's. The only person who is not managed to up with something was my cofounder, who just really blank. So you know, I'm sure we'll do better than that, but I always like to see if there's it. This way I can invite you back in a year and see if you were right or if you were wrong. For the future. Oh my gosh, that's a tough one. I'd like to see the end of the pandemic. Fingers crossed, right. I mean I would love to. You know how people are talking about going back to life. Is as normal or as usual? I don't even know what that looks like anymore. But hopefully, well, you know, I'll get to engage with with my colleagues facetoface at some point. You've been virtual conction. Have you been virtual since you started, if you've been like in office, if you guys been there, or has it been mostly, you know, zoom, since you since you got going seven months, you've been there all pandemic? Yeah, no, great question. I one of those people that is like an inoffice person, because like this great home life with work life and I'm just much more in the zone when I do that. So I have actually been in the office since one, December first, but overwhelming joy of our employees have still been working virtually. But we have rolled out planned to bring everybody back in office by Labor Day. So we're kind of one of those organizations that being bold and, you know, freak about expectations. And yes, we want our employees back in the office and it absolutely does impact performance. I would definitely support that argument. When you're in the office, you're in the zone, when you're around your colleagues, your teams are more accountable you. You know, it's just better all around. So we're taking measures to make sure everybody feels safe and Max pations things like that. So I hope you're right. I was in my first in person meeting with a client and since the panamic yesterday, they were it felt amazing likely be in front of people again in the same room. I had a couple internal meetings and things, but I hadn't been out in front of customers and clients and it felt oddly normal, if that, if that makes sense. No, great normal at the same time. So it was great. Yeah, yeah, I mean all those elements of comfortability, safety, you know, come into play. Pandemic has talks a lot about those elements. It has, and so is this conversation. I've had a great time listening and learning and I'm just con tell me, while the digest on my thoughts, but it's for long. Thanks so much for joining us. This was a, I think, extremely useful and a timely conversation. I really appreciate your your sharing your thoughts. My pleasure, my pleasure, jeffinite. I know we just met like an hour ago, but I feel like we've known each other for years. That's what good conversations go exactly. I appreciate the invitation. Thank you. Thanks them. Up Start Partners with banks and credit unions to help grow their consumer loan port bolios and deliver a modern, all digital lending experience. As the average consumer becomes more digitally savvy, it only makes sense at their bank does too. Up Starts ailanding platform uses sophisticated machine learning model us to more accurately identify risk and approve more applicants than traditional credit models. With fraud rates near zero. Upstarts all digital experience reduces manual processing for banks and offers a simple and convenient experience for consumers. Whether you're looking to grow and enhance your existing personal and auto learning programs or you're just getting started, upstart can help. Upstart offers an into end solution that can help you find more credit worthy borrowers within your risk profile, with all digital underwriting, onboarding, loan closing and servicing. It's all possible with upstart in your corner. Learn more about finding new borrowers, enhancing your credit decisioning process and growing your business by visiting UPSTARTCOM forward banks. That's upstartcom forward banks. You've been listening to leaders and lending from upstart. Make sure you never miss an episode. Subscribe to leaders and lending in your favorite podcast player using apple podcast. Leave as a quick rating by tapping the number of stars you think the show deserves. Thanks for listening. Until next time. The views and opinions expressed by the host and guests on the leaders and lending podcast are their own and their participation in this podcast...

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