3.5 ways to Be Better. Do Better


Published 2.18.21

Earlier this week, HCUA and the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) hosted the first of a two-part webinar to candidly discuss how credit union leaders can be better in their DEI journeys, for themselves and for their credit unions. If you missed it, watch the Be Better. Do Better Part I recording.

Renee Sattiewhite, president/CO of AACUC moderated the discussion. Panelists included seasoned professionals in the credit union industry:

  • Erin Coleman, senior director of advisory services, Filene
  • Victor Corro, CEO, Coopera Counsulting
  • Angela Russell, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, CUNA Mutual Group
  • Cathie Mahon, president/CEO, Inclusive

The hour-long conversation was full of inspiration and insight and sometimes emotional and uncomfortable experiences. Here are three takeaways from the discussion: 

1. It’s about real change. 

To start a DEI journey at your credit union, ask yourself: Who are we here to serve? Who has been excluded form financial services? Who can we learn from? Understand where your credit union is in your DEI journey and commit to do the work.  

Commit to making a change by signing the DEI Collective pledge

2. Create a culture that builds on cooperation, communication and connections. 

Communication builds a sense of trust and safety in your organization. Connect with your staff one-on-one or during a virtual social time. Actively encourage other points of view. Leaders who invite different viewpoints are more apt to have diverse outlooks.  

Here’s more on the key to inclusive leadership (Harvard Business Review, free sign up). 

3. Ask people how they would like to identify themselves. 

Before labeling a person (based on your perceptions and experiences), ask them how they would like to identify. For example, sometimes Latino and Hispanic are used interchangeably. “Latino” is a term that refers to geography (and spans 2 continents and 20+ countries), while “Hispanic” is tied to a language.

Here’s a deep dive into Hispanic and Latino identity (Pew Research). 

3.5. Participate in Part II of Be Better. Do Better.

On March 16, credit unions in our own region will share their DEI success stories and challenges, and action steps we all can take to do better. Register for free.