As Prepared for Delivery on May 15, 2020
It is a privilege to join you virtually for the Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion (CDI) Council Kick-Off. I commend NCUA’s Chief Human Capital Officer and Director of the Office of Human Resources, Towanda Brooks, and Office of Minority and Women Inclusion Director, Monica Davy, for their leadership on the Council. I also want to thank the Office of the Executive Director as well.
Since becoming Chairman, I have made financial inclusion a priority, not just at the agency, but also within the industry. In my public remarks given around the country, I have talked to thousands of credit union leaders, employees, regulators, and members about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Everywhere I go, I describe financial inclusion as the civil rights issue of our time, and I am both heartened and reassured that this message is being so well received.
For the NCUA to effectively carry out its mission, every staff member should be respected, and diversity and inclusion should be truly fostered. All of NCUA’s employees should come to work knowing that all of us, directly or indirectly, can improve the lives of hard-working credit union members in ways both big and small. I know this is a mission that makes me excited to come to work every day because we are responsible for protecting the safety and soundness of America’s credit union system.
More than 120 million Americans are credit union members and they rely on us to get the job done. It doesn’t matter if you are an examiner on the front line or a staff member in human resources, we all share the same mission and are united in a common bond that we have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives.
Providing a safe and sound system of cooperative credit is an honorable calling. And while the NCUA has generally valued its employees over the years for the NCUA to truly fulfill its vision, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. So let me be clear: I expect all of us to treat each other with dignity and respect. We should communicate to each other with dignity and respect. You should communicate with a staff assistant, director, board member, cleaning staff, or me in the same respectful manner.
Many of you have heard me say that I want the NCUA to have a work environment where every employee can bring their true and authentic selves to work each and every day. During a previous webinar, I mentioned the creation of a Culture Council to reexamine the culture of the agency and determine where we can improve to ensure the NCUA has a welcoming environment that allows all employees to contribute and grow.
The agency revamped and expanded its Diversity Advisory Council to establish the Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Council. This council’s new structure and charter highlight my vision of a more inclusive organization.
The council’s mission is to build an organizational culture where our shared values, beliefs, and behavioral norms around equity, diversity, inclusion, engagement, and leadership align with our strategic priorities to optimize organizational performance.
The Culture Council has my full and total support. To remain a great place to work, it is on me to reexamine what this means to our employees, and I must have the discipline to make it a priority.
The NCUA Board and the entire leadership team are all committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture where every employee feels valued and respected.
Of course, we can always do more in this vein, and that is why the Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Council will use an agency-wide survey to examine our current organizational culture. I am pleased with the council’s work on this culture assessment and identifying areas for improvement and I look forward to its recommendations to me.
I am committed to work and find solutions. You should know your input truly matters. I can assure you this is not a check-the-box-activity, and I have asked the senior leadership team to give me regular updates on the progress of the survey. Ultimately, I will go over the findings in detail and will execute a response plan based on your input in the survey.
My response plan can only be as good as the survey’s we receive. That is why I am counting on staff to participate so we can use the information to make the NCUA an even better place to work.
I recognize that these are difficult and unprecedented times for our agency and the country. COVID-19 continues to disrupt working patterns and the lives of NCUA employees and credit unions nationwide. However, the NCUA is open for business and honors our commitment to prioritize improving the culture of the agency and focus on diversity and inclusion. NCUA still has a critical mission, and we will accomplish it through our workforce and our resources.
In closing, fostering the NCUA’s culture is not an endpoint — instead, it is an ongoing process and it is made up of taking the right steps to meet challenges and respond to a changing environment on a continuous basis.
Thank you for your continued commitment to NCUA.