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ABA Announces Inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award Winners


 The American Bankers Association recognized inaugural winners of its new ABA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion awards today at the virtual 2023 DEI Summit. These awards celebrate ABA member banks for their internal-facing programs, leadership and activities focused on improving diversity, equity and inclusion within their workplace.

“We congratulate all of the winners and honorable mentions of these inaugural awards,” said ABA senior vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Naomi Mercer. “These institutions and individuals have excelled in their programs and initiatives, and represent the best our industry has to offer in the critically important DEI space.”

The awards honor achievement in three categories: the Outstanding Overall DEI Program Award, DEI Outstanding Leader Award, and Innovation Incentive Award. Winners and honorable mentions were selected for each category.

The 2023 ABA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award winners are:

Outstanding Overall DEI Program Award

  • Winner: Wintrust Financial Corporation, Rosemont, Ill.

Wintrust Financial Corporation created the One Wintrust Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap, which was established to anchor a strategy for key pillars including workforce/workplace, customers, communities, and strategic partnerships. A few highlights of Wintrust’s DEI program include its Annual Executive Diversity Forum, its sponsorship and mentorship program “Paired to Win,” and its business resource groups.

  • Honorable Mention: United Bank, Fairfax, Va.

United Bank was honored for its overall DEI program, which focuses on building a sustainable and fully integrated strategy, including the implementation of initiatives ranging from developing a comprehensive metrics dashboard to executing multi-phased companywide trainings. The bank made inroads in increasing the diversity of its staff and board of directors to better reflect the communities it serves.

DEI Outstanding Leader Award

  • Winner: Tammy Mata, Valley National Bank, Wayne, N.J.

Tammy Mata is the chief DEI officer and head of people resources and relations at Valley National Bank. Mata helped create six associate resource groups and implement a DEI Governance Framework. She has also been part of the effort to recruit from a more diverse group of job candidates. 

  • Winner: Natonya Harbison, Pathward Bank, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Natonya Harbison is the director of DEI and community impact at Pathward Bank. Harbison has worked closely with the C-suite to help define Pathward’s DEI attributes, established a strategic roadmap, constructed a DEI curriculum and managed DEI metric collection.

  • Honorable Mention: Eddie Alford, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Nashville, Tenn.

Eddie Alford, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion director at Pinnacle Financial Partners, has led design and implementation of DEI initiatives since 2020, aligning them in a manner that would be woven into every aspect of Pinnacle’s culture. Alford formed DEI Councils across the firm’s geographic markets and leads the firm’s leadership team DEI workshop series.

Innovation Incentive Award

  • Winner: Primis Bank, McLean, Va.

Primis Bank’s Primis Works program was assembled to give single parents an opportunity to establish professional skills while also diversifying Primis’ talent pipeline. Participants are paid a fulltime salary, given childcare, and have access to mentors and workshops. Primus also has hired many of the participants once they complete the program.

  • Honorable Mention: Bank of the West, Omaha, Neb.

Bank of the West stands out for Ignite, its four-month, cohort-style virtual program that focuses on advancing and helping to develop underrepresented talent. The program was created to retain and advance junior level talent who may otherwise go unnoticed through talent assessments. It allows applicants to self-nominate and provides individualized career coaching and an executive sponsor.

View the winners of this year’s ABA DEI Awards.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $24 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ approximately 2.1 million people, safeguard $19 trillion in deposits and extend $12.4 trillion in loans.

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