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Executive Letter: Our Diverse Voices in Banking

With 2021 nearly a quarter of the way done, WBA staff look forward to continuing the momentum of our many projects, programs, and overall efforts. This includes our mission to help banks at all stages of their diversity efforts, one which our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Group discussed during our first official meeting last week.  

I’d like to thank each member for accepting this new role to better understand how WBA can play a valuable role in helping banks as leaders in DEI efforts. To formally announce the group, I would like to also thank all participants for making this first meeting a success: Charter Bank CHRO Patty Chambers, State Bank of Cross Plains Market President Steve Eager, BMO Harris Bank Director Economic Equity Advisory Group Raquel Filmanowicz, Old National Bank VP of Community Relations Andrea Finck, Cumberland Federal Bank President Shay Horton, U.S. Bank Senior Vice President Nina Johnson, Partners Bank of Wisconsin Vice President Adam Knoll, The Bank of New Glarus Marketing Coordinator Daniel Rivera, Associated Bank SVP Community Affairs/CRA Officer Chandra Rodgers, and WBA staff Lori Kalscheuer and Cassie Krause.  

As we further explore our agenda throughout 2021, we recognize that many banks are at various stages of developing their plans surrounding DEI. Our goal is to provide resources for all banks, from those with a robust strategy in place to those looking to begin their efforts through governance, communications, education, partnerships with associate members, and talent attraction.  

We also understand that DEI takes a variety of forms. Because of this, we find it important to showcase the many voices that are in our industry serving their communities. Our new “Diverse Voices in Banking” series aims to do exactly this by celebrating and getting to know bankers across Wisconsin from a variety of backgrounds. I am honored to have already spoken with several individuals who have shared their stories, and I look forward to exploring the many other unique perspectives within our industry.  

Throughout the remainder of this year and beyond, I am excited to further develop the conversation on this topic through new content by WBA detailing the great work of our many members, expanding on professional development and economic empowerment for all, and continuing to amplify the unique voices present at our banks. Thank you all for being leaders in this growth and always being advocates for everyone we serve in our banks and our constantly evolving communities.

By, Alex Paniagua