At Scotiabank, there are a number of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that help advance our inclusive culture. Through grassroots efforts, they enable employees to learn and effect change at the individual level and more than 8,500 people participate globally and host nearly 100 educational events a year!

Last month, we had the opportunity to interview with Tanja and Kyla, the co-chairs of the Indigenous Network ERG. This month, we chatted with Molara, a Senior Manager of Employee Voice, and Vernette, a Senior Manager within Enterprise Productivity, who are also the co-chairs of the Black Employee Network!

Molara and Vernette, two passionate and determined Scotiabankers, started the Black Employee Network back in 2018 with a mission to not only raise awareness but to help educate on the importance of driving change and to support the Black employees throughout the organization and community. 

Julie: Tell me about the Black Employee Network ERG at Scotiabank and why did you decide to start it?

Molara: In 2018, Vernette and I started the Black Employee Network Group to help advance the Bank’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. We saw a need to help inform and drive organizational change, and to help Black employees with their career development. Since starting this group at Scotia, we have been working on strategic and purposeful plans that help break down barriers that Black employees may face.

Julie: Why is this so important for you to drive forward?

Vernette: At Scotia, we see diversity and inclusion reflected every day in our people, culture, and our work but what’s even better is that we constantly see an eagerness from employees to help educate themselves and their teams. It’s important for us to continue to listen and support where we can. Asking questions enables us to listen to each other and to grow together and the open environment here is something we are very proud to be a part of.

Molara: I agree, and for us, the feeling of belonging is so important. Knowing that we have created a dedicated space that is inclusive to employees of all genders, backgrounds, and identities are important not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the only thing to do.

"As Black women, we want to continue to bring our authentic selves to work and help others do the same. As co-chairs of the Black Employee Network Group, we are proud that Scotia recognizes the importance because it enables us to be more creative, innovative, and productive.”

Julie: What are some of the key initiatives that you are working on?

Molara: We work very closely with many teams at Scotia to help make an impact. The Diversity and Inclusion team here at Scotiabank recently shared a Development Guide on Confronting Racism and Anti-Black Racism for employees which focuses on confronting racial discrimination and advancing inclusive conversations. This is a great step in helping Black employees and their allies to begin having an important conversation on the Black experience. Having the ability to have our voices heard when developing materials for employees will help every Scotiabanker advance an inclusive and safer environment that is free from racism/anti-Black racism and racial discrimination.

Vernette: We have also been working with our Talent Acquisition team to ensure our recruitment efforts are more diverse. Recruiting from different community groups that represent Scotiabank’s customer base will allow us to represent the communities in which we live and work.

Julie: Can you tell me about some of the partnerships that you have been working with?

Molara: One of the things we’re most proud of is to see the Scotiabank brand represented in Black community groups and spaces. We’ve been able to bridge the gap between the Bank and the communities we serve by facilitating and developing important relationships with partners such as:

  • IMANI, a mentorship program that is dedicated to connecting black youth to an opportunity that allows them to explore post-secondary education.
  • Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals, a resource organization that provides a link between organizations and the Black communities through innovative programs

In September 2020, we have also partnered with Monday Girl, a community that strives to inspire and empower young ambitious women through a 4-week mentorship program that has digital events, one-on-one coaching, and mentoring!

To learn more about Diversity and Inclusion at Scotiabank, visit here.