Diversity and Inclusion
A diverse, inclusive environment allows customers and employees to reach their fullest potential. We strive to respect and appreciate all individuals and to embrace both our differences and similarities — regardless of ethnicity, gender, ability or sexual orientation.
Why we invest in
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion
In an ever-growing and developing world, a diverse, inclusive workforce allows us better to serve the needs of our increasingly diverse customers.
Empower LGBT 2017: advancing diversity and inclusion in Mexico
Jose Antonio Carranza, Scotiabank Mexico’s Director of Marketing, recognizes that Mexico is in a state of flux. In recent years, Mexico has adopted relatively progressive LGBT+ laws and attitudes about sexuality that have become more inclusive. However, he says that these newer attitudes sometimes clash with longstanding cultural biases: “Currently, there are still rejection and social distance attitudes towards LGBT+ community members.”
Jose Antonio is especially concerned by how such attitudes provide unnecessary obstacles to the LGBT+ businesses community. “Discrimination poses visible and invisible barriers to these entrepreneurs, by limiting their access to the resources they need to create and maintain their businesses,” he says. “In spite of that, we have a large number of LGBT+ companies in Mexico — and that number is increasing steadily as society becomes more inclusive.”
In September 2017, Scotiabank sponsored and participated in the Empower LGBT summit, which was organized by the Mexican Federation of LGBT Entrepreneurs. The event saw over 614 companies from around the world come together with members of Mexico’s LGBT+ business community to network, learn, and promote Diversity and Inclusion. This year, the central theme of the summit was 'The Multiplier Effect' — when respect for diversity and equality is upheld, they can permeate company value chains and lead to more inclusive initiatives.
Attendees learned about the business case for diversity and received actionable recommendations about how to recruit diverse talent, create an inclusive work atmosphere, form internal LGBT+ groups, build inclusive supply chains, and adhere to applicable Mexican laws (Norma en Igualdad Laboral y No discriminación [Standard on Labour Equality and Non-discrimination] and Equidad MX [Equity MX]). Accredited LGBT+ companies were also given the opportunity to present their products and services in the event’s main showroom — increasing visibility to the general public, other entrepreneurs and, most importantly, the purchasing departments of the several large multinationals in attendance.
In addition to sponsoring the event, Scotiabank facilitated a workshop about best practices for talent development and led a group session about financial education. As a leading voice in Scotiabank’s PRIDE employee resource group (ERG), Jose Antonio provided opening remarks to kick off the conference.
“These types of events help to raise awareness about prejudices and show the talent and capacities of the LGBT+ community,” he explains. “Events like this help change people’s attitudes, since sometimes the business community is not completely aware of the barriers and prejudices that exist.”
Today more than ever, Diversity in the business world is needed to ensure the attraction and retention of the best talent.. Openness within organizations also translates into a better understanding of how to address the needs of the LGBT + community and its allies in society. In the wake of the conference, several of the companies who attended the summit are taking steps to put what they learned into practice in areas such as their supply chain, human resources department, and marketing.
Making customers better off
Ultimately, Jose Antonio points out, the Bank’s support of events like Empower LGBT benefits everyone — not just a small group of conference attendees. “At Scotiabank, we are a reflection of society, and we believe that diversity is good for everyone.
“By understanding and bringing awareness to our diverse employees and creating an inclusive environment, we can have more empathy for our diverse customers and better understand the market where we operate.”
One day last October, 18-year-old Sindy Mosquera traded in her role as high school student to become CEO at Scotiabank’s Colombian subsidiary Banco Colpatria, one of Colombia’s largest banks. It was an opportunity that changed her life.
While the experience was a dream come true for Sindy, the global “CEO Takeover” initiative served a larger purpose. For Scotiabank, it was an opportunity to advance two of our key CSR priorities: Diversity and Inclusion and Investing in Young People. For Sindy and girls like her facing barriers to their education, it was a way to send a strong message that girls belong anywhere they aspire to be.
Sending a clear message
The CEO Takeover was part of the United Nations’ 2017 International Day of the Girl and Plan International’s #GirlsBelongHere campaign. Some 600 young women took over top jobs at organizations around the world.
Banco Colpatria CEO Santiago Perdomo says he welcomed the opportunity to show that girls and women can be empowered in their role as leaders.
“Having Sindy take over as President of Colpatria for one day was a way to make girls’ power and potential visible,” Santiago says. “This initiative is a perfect example of Banco Colpatria’s inclusion programs.”
The initiative was also a way for Scotiabank to raise awareness about the obstacles Sindy and other girls face in pursuing their education. Sindy is from Chocó, the largest Afro-Colombian district in Colombia, and one of the poorest regions in the country. Santiago points out that in countries like Colombia, girls are often the most vulnerable group. When resources are scarce, education for girls is not often the priority. “This makes it challenging for girls to go to school and, as a result, many suffer discriminatory practices,” he says.
Access to education is the key to unlocking opportunities, studies show. Women invest 90% of their salary in their family’s well-being which means that there is a multiplier effect from education, helping to break the circle of poverty.
Scotiabank has a long-standing commitment to help youth become the community leaders of tomorrow. The CEO Takeover is just one of many programs Banco Colpatria undertakes to inspire young people to pursue their education, with other financial education programs such Economy of Success reaching more than 1500 young people. All of these efforts give Scotiabank the opportunity to make a difference in local communities while furthering diversity and inclusion within the company.
During her day as CEO, Sindy sat in on committee meetings, met clients and connected with some of the bank’s prominent female leaders. Equally passionate about math and social justice, Sindy understand that access to education is the biggest barrier for many women who want to be leaders. As a volunteer with Plan International, a development and humanitarian organisation that advances children's rights and equality for girls, Sindy took part in a national discussion forum highlighting girls’ role in peacebuilding. One day she hopes to become an accountant and serve her community.
“Surely this day will inspire hundreds of women in my region who are uncertain about their future due to a lack of opportunities,” Sindy says. “Historically, women have not had the same opportunities as men. This condition is changing thanks to campaigns, such as this one, that raise awareness around gender inequality and help inspire women and girls.”
Giving back to her community
To help support her education and dreams, Banco Colpatria presented Sindy with a new laptop, a one-year scholarship for English lessons and an ongoing mentoring relationship with Bibiana Roa, a female manager in Banco Colpatria’s commercial banking division.
“I feel empowered,” says Sindy of her day as CEO. “I can see myself already working and suggesting ideas to help other girls and empower them.”
Our world is changing more quickly than ever through the advent of digital technology. Fuencis Gómez, Vice President of Digital Banking at Scotiabank Mexico, remembers the beginning of her digital journey. “I had the opportunity to experience the first stages of e-commerce in the travel industry in 1997. Twenty years later, we see that those first technology players are now the leaders in travel.”
Banking’s digital transformation
As the head of Scotiabank Mexico’s Digital Factory, Fuencis is excited to be leading the Bank’s shift towards a digital future: “Banking’s digital transformation goes much further than the travel or even product retail sectors. Banking uses much more data, more complex algorithms, and even artificial intelligence in new ways. It’s a new frontier for digital.”
However, Fuencis cites Scotiabank Mexico’s boundary-pushing digital innovations as only part of the reason for why she chose to join the Bank: “During the summer of 2016, three different banks in Mexico asked me to join their digital team.
“I decided to join Scotiabank Mexico not just because of its digital strategy, but most importantly because of its culture — and diversity is a big part of that.”
Scotiabank Diversity and Inclusion: More about talent than gender
Just as Scotiabank Mexico is working to adapt to digital ways of banking, the Bank is also adapting to the future by including more women like Fuencis in the ranks of leadership and management. The Bank has established a set of seven “catalyst initiatives” that ensure that women are recruited, trained, and provided opportunities to thrive within the organization.
These initiatives are moving the Bank in a positive direction. A recent study by Expansion magazine found that Scotiabank Mexico ranked #1 in the country for percent of women in leadership positions. The study also found that Scotiabank Mexico ranked as the third most attractive employer for women in Mexico, stating that the company culture “talked more about talent than gender.”
Fuencis can attest to the truth of these findings about Scotiabank Mexico: “It’s a very true statement that Scotiabank Mexico talks more about talent than gender. I do not see myself as a woman in my position or on a daily basis — I am a well-prepared professional giving the best of my talent to my company.”
Better understand our customers
Diversity at Scotiabank Mexico is an essential part of how the Bank upholds its core belief: that every customer has the right to become better off. Fuencis explains the importance of building teams that reflect the Bank’s diverse customer base in her digital work: “We have the opportunity to look at current processes and improve or create them digitally, making them easier, more human. That always starts with an understanding of the customer as a person, and how to ensure that their dealings with the Bank are simple and appropriate, suited to their lifestyle.”
“Diversity on our teams helps us better understand our diverse customers — people of different walks of life, their diverse needs and what they really want from our products. With this understanding we can serve them in a more appropriate way, enabling them to become better off and ultimately to improve their quality of life.”
Because the human brain has to process an incredibly large amount of information, we rely on previous experiences, patterns, and assumptions to efficiently make decisions. Typically, this works to our benefit — such as when we automatically swerve to avoid an obstacle while driving.
However, our unconscious minds can sometimes backfire on us. All humans fall prey to an occasional phenomenon called unconscious bias — automatic preferences and assumptions that can affect our decisions without us even realizing it.Unconscious bias can sometimes lead us to unwittingly make judgments that are unfair, incorrect or even at odds with consciously held beliefs.
Scotiabank Chile’s CSR Manager, Ana Paula Aleixo, explains why confronting unconscious bias is important for the Bank: “Understanding our bias is an important step for us in how we serve customers at Scotiabank. We recognize the customer’s right to be better off, so we have to be prepared to serve them without letting bias get in the way.”
Knocking Down Myths
In the latter part of 2016, the local Inclusion Committee inScotiabank Chile launched a diversity and inclusion campaign called Knocking Down Myths that sought to address unconscious bias at the Bank. Scotiabank’s Chilean leadership adheres to the same diversity and inclusion principles as the rest of the organization, but according to Ana “We hadn’t communicated yet to all employees what diversity and inclusion means for Scotiabank here in Chile — and why it matters to us. So this was a first step, the first time we’d done something like this.”
The campaign addressed three main issues: gender equality, cultural diversity, and inclusion of people with disabilities. Ana explains why Knocking Down Myths addressed these particular issues. “We focused on these three topics because the things we talked about had to be relevant for both Scotiabank and also to our society here in Chile. Right now these three issues are very important for our country, for the government, and for our company.”
Rather than a cheery, happy campaign explaining the benefits of diversity and inclusion, Ana’s team opted to broach the subject in a more “provocative” way — openly challenging employees to question their own unconscious biases.
Once a week, messages with different unconscious biases were published on the screensavers of all employees’ computers. After one week, each message was complemented with an argument that “knocked it down.”
Ana laughs as she recounts the creation of the campaign’s messages: “Since this was the first time we did something about diversity and inclusion with our employees, we wanted to make sure we got their attention. If we chose beautiful messages, maybe we wouldn't have got the attention that we wanted.”
Results of program
Just as Knocking Down Myths addressed topics that were culturally relevant, the objectives of the campaign were also appropriate to its Chilean audience. The campaign sought to “promote discussion” and “bring awareness” to the issues says Ana. “Here in Chile, we have some difficulties talking about issues that often are considered taboo. Sometimes we prefer to not talk about it with our families, with colleagues, or with our friends. That’s why the main objective of the campaign was to promote discussion — because encouraging people to talk is very important in Chile. We have to know how to listen to what people say.” This is an important step to take in order to create an inclusive environment.
During the campaign, each time a message changed, Scotiabank’s management guided discussion within their teams about unconscious bias. This quote from one participant suggests that the approach worked: “The general feedback was that the topic of inclusion had to be put into practice. With this, we decided as a team to incorporate more people with disabilities. We started the process of hiring with Human Resources, and we are working on a job description for tasks that will allow us to incorporate beneficiaries of the Fundación Tacal [institution that trains people with cognitive disabilities for their inclusion in the workplace].”
Serving customers better
As for the role that diversity and inclusion plays at Scotiabank, Ana believes that it can be traced back to serving the customer: “We have to understand that our customers are diverse, and we have to make the effort to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. That’s the way that we can understand their individual needs.
“And that has to start at the workplace. Employees need to understand themselves, where they work.”