mission-Driven Focus Inspires Inclusion at Discover
Wanji Walcott has been part of the Discover family for just over a year – Executive vice President, Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel and member of the Executive Committee – but she is no newcomer to building a diverse and inclusive work environment.
“What drew me to discover,” says Walcott, “is our mission-driven focus. We help our customers spend smarter, manage debt better, and save more, so they achieve a brighter financial future.” diversity and inclusion are key drivers of that customer-focused mission. this year’s Covid-19 and racial protests have sparked even more focus and creative practices. through its eat it Forward campaign on social media, discover is giving $5 million to Black-owned restaurants across the united states. in terms of internal and recruitment programs, the diversity Accelerator Program encourages college sophomores to make discover internships their “top choice.” the deliberate Advocacy training program prepares a broad range of employees to be effective advocates for d&i as they engage with leaders across the business. in addition, discover is a premier sponsor at key national diversity conferences including nsBe (national society of Black engineers), sHPe (society of Hispanic engineers) and AnitaB.org’s grace Hopper Celebration. more permanent practices are also in the works. A company-wide listening session in June, co-hosted by Ceo roger Hochschild and Walcott, led to a d&i task Force with representation from all levels in the organization. the task Force’s mandate is to de-bias systems, increase representation, educate colleagues, and give back to communities. “With a deeper understanding of the inequities,” reports Walcott, “we can make sure we don’t have more of the same. “i’m especially excited about the data transparency Project we are setting up,” states Walcott. “our Hr department has created a really great dashboard so we can drive accountability and progress. “our recent candid conversations about race in the workplace, they’re like nothing i’ve seen before,” Walcott concludes. “We are focused on keeping the momentum going.”
“The Journal is a new vehicle for sharing information that spotlights the experience of Black professionals.”
The Executive Leadership Council Journal: A Research Journal for Black Professionals debuted in February 2020 to support the eLC mission by delivering research, thought leadership, best practices, op-eds, and compelling stories of particular interest to Black professionals and others who wish to understand the Black professional experience. “Publishing our peer-reviewed Journal,” declares CEO Ashby, “continues to solidify the eLC’s reputation in the business community as the go-to and trusted source for information on and for Blacks in business.” “the Journal is a new vehicle for sharing information that spotlights the experience of Black professionals,” explains Christopher butts, Ph.d, eLC vice president and Chief Learning officer. “each edition will cover a variety of workplace issues through their lens.” most importantly, the articles, a sampling listed at right, posit clear action steps to put in place enduring change. the second issue was published this fall. Both issues are available on the eLC website. the institute is also responsible for keeping a full pipeline of Black professionals ready to step into the shoes of today’s executives and board members. Leadership Development Week (LdW), a series of sessions offered for the last 20 years, has now had its content updated, all able to be effectively presented in person or virtually. All the programs have been redesigned around a competency- and researchbased learning model, and content