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Program | ABA/VBA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

2021 Program

Schedule in EST

  • Thursday, May 20

Thursday, May 20

12:30 PM - 12:35 PM



  • Rob Nichols, President and CEO, American Bankers Association

12:35 PM - 12:50 PM

Setting the Stage: The Strategies in Your DEI Playbook


  • Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, American Bankers Association

12:50 PM - 12:55 PM

Sponsor Thank You and Opening Session Speaker Introductions


  • Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, American Bankers Association

12:55 PM - 1:40 PM

Opening Session

Gaining Buy-In Strategy Session

Inclusion Matters: Strategies for Stakeholder Buy-In

It is important for your HR department, and all those who are responsible for company culture, to have a seat at the table when it comes to gaining buy-in on DEI initiatives. Learn how the CEO or market president and the HR department can work together to create a culture of inclusivity and buy-in at all levels—making the bank a desirable place to work, and for attracting and retaining talent.


  • Calandra Jarrell, Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion Executive, Bank of America
  • Victor Branch, Richmond Market President, Bank of America

1:40 PM - 1:50 PM


1:50 PM - 2:35 PM

Concurrent Strategy Sessions

Choose a strategy session that will help your bank build a more robust DEI program.

Awareness Strategy Session

Building Belonging: Understanding Microaggressions, Micro-affirmations and Inclusion
Left unchecked, microaggressions can have cumulative effects that erode self-confidence and organizational commitment, leading to decreased employee engagement and reduced productivity. In this session, we will define microaggressions, explore "death by a thousand paper cuts," discover ways to avoid sending microaggressions and outline how to respond if you observe a microaggression or are on the receiving end of one. We will also explore ways to promote belonging and foster inclusion through micro-affirmations--tiny, intentional acts that strengthen trust and relationships.


  • Dee McDougal, US Head of DEI, Capco

Internal Conversations Strategy Session

Facilitating Team-Building Conversations around DEI in Today’s Environment
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In this session, Naomi Mercer will take participants through ABA’s facilitator guide for conducting uncomfortable conversations. This initial training session discusses techniques and tactics for facilitating team-building conversations on a variety of DEI topics. This workshop serves as a jumping off point for managers to lead team-building activities while exploring sometimes controversial, but current, DEI subject matters—everything from race and gender to weight bias and colorism.


  • Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, American Bankers Association

Culture Strategy Session

Building and Maintaining a Culture of Inclusivity

This panel will focus on how CDFI banks integrate internal DEI activities with external and customer-facing product and service delivery strategies. The panelists for this session are thought leaders on DEI and racial equity within the CDFI banking sector, and their banks have had a long-standing focus on lending in diverse communities. Join us for this session as they share specific steps they have taken in the DEI space.


  • Shannan Herbert, Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer, City First Bank
  • Francis Janes, Industry Relations and Partnerships Director, PNW, Beneficial State Foundation
  • Darrin Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Bancorp, Inc.


  • John Holdsclaw IV, EVP, Strategic Initiatives, National Cooperative Bank

2:35 PM - 2:45 PM


2:45 PM - 3:30 PM

Concurrent Strategy Sessions

Choose a strategy session that will help your bank build a more robust DEI program.

Organizing Efforts Strategy Session

Moving from Awareness to Action to Accountability

Data analytics and accountability are key to First Horizon Bank’s D&I strategy. Throughout the year, First Horizon leaders receive diversity staffing maps and review talent pipeline reports to examine team diversity by various categories and levels. These reports provide fact-based data and insights to help leaders prioritize staffing decisions for their teams. Leaders discuss and review the maps with their direct reports to ensure understanding, determine if any gaps are present, and identify any obstacles. In this session, Markita will discuss First Horizon's DEI journey using data as a roadmap and how the bank is using that data to continue building a more inclusive and equitable organization through action and accountability.


  • Markita Jack, Senior Vice President, Sr. Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, First Horizon National Corporation

Hiring Practices Strategy Session

Creating and Implementing a Talent Acquisition and Retention Strategy

Adapting your hiring, training and people practices to attract and retain diverse talent and build an inclusive culture is a long-term process—and a big undertaking for banks. Whether you are just starting your efforts in diversity or are looking to enhance them, Brian and Roselle will go over the key strategies, benchmarks and metrics along three core components of your DEI strategy: recruitment and talent acquisition, retention and training.

This Strategy Session focuses on:

  • How to make your hiring more inclusive and tips for reaching diverse talent pools
  • Strategies for onboarding, engagement and retention of newly acquired talent
  • Training best practices
  • Key measurements of success beyond applicants and hires
  • Live Q&A


  • Brian Hoffman, Chief Evangelist and Co-Creator, BankTalentHQ
  • Roselle Rogers, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Circa

External Communications Strategy Session

Building DEI Into Your Bank's Corporate Communications Strategy

Now more than ever before, employees and clients are paying attention to how brands are telling their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) stories. One aspect of demonstrating that your bank fully embraces DEI is by integrating it into your corporate communication strategy. What channels will you use to communicate, and with what frequency? Are there special considerations bankers should be aware of? If poorly conceived, your communication plan can limit the promise of even the most well thought out and carefully planned organizational change strategy. This workshop will guide you through the development of a corporate DEI communication strategy that supports a successful roll out and ensures sustainability of your DEI Strategic plan.


  • Monica R. Sylvain, PhD, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Monica Sylvain Consulting LLC

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM


3:45 PM - 4:45PM

Closing Keynote

Inclusion Strategy Session

Gracism: The Art of Inclusion

Learn about the three levels of diversity, and the four ways to get there as Dr. David Anderson, award-winning author of the book "Gracism: The Art of Inclusion," teaches about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.


  • Dr. David Anderson, Founder and President, BridgeLeader Network (BLN)

Interviewed By

  • Bruce Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Bankers Association

4:45 PM

Conference Adjourns

This program is subject to change. Please bookmark this page to check for continuing updates. Read ABA Conference and School Policies to help answer additional questions.