Diversity management at Wells Fargo (No. 33 in the 2012 DiversityInc Top 50) generates community wealth, from which diversity leader Jimmie Paschall gets satisfaction in helping underserved communities.
The big question everyone has been asking Jimmie Paschall for the past few months is "Why?" Why did she leave Marriott International (No. 21), where she headed the global diversity efforts, to become Wells Fargo's chief diversity officer?
The answer, she says, boils down to one word: "impact." "I've had the privilege of going from one great company to another, but the scope of Wells Fargo's impact is dramatic," she says. By way of explanation, she notes that Wells Fargo has 270,000 team members; as of the end of 2011, the bank ranked fourth in assets and first in market value of its stock among its U.S. peers.
"The other thing that was especially attractive to me is the focus on long-term growth and economic development for communities," she says. "If you look at what financial institutions can do and the lives being touched by Wells Fargo, there are lots of places where diversity and inclusion can play a role. The impact feels infinite."
For more on diversity management and leadership at Wells Fargo, read Talent Development Takes Wells Fargo Leader From Teller to $100M in Revenue. Wells Fargo is one of 2012 DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees and is being recognized as the 2012 DiversityInc Top Company for Community Development at our Oct. 11-2 event in New York City. Visit DiversityInc.com/events for information and to register.
Building on Background
Her years at Marriott, where culturally competent customer service is the major emphasis in doing business at all levels, are helping her in her new role. "Mr. [Bill] Marriott would say, 'Take care of your associates and the customers will come back again and again,'" she says. "At Wells Fargo, team members are the frontline contact with customers. Both are relationship-oriented businesses where people make the difference."
To increase Wells Fargo's market share, she says, "we have to have customers take advantage of products and services across business lines. There is going to be a lot of focus on how to make it easier to do business with us." Similarly, Executive Vice President and Northern New Jersey Regional President for Wells Fargo Lucia DiNapoli Gibbons discussed Wells Fargo's strategy to gain market share through diversity in the video below.
Her previous work on Marriott's diversity initiatives, as well as her involvement with the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities and its "Bridges …. From School to Work" program, gave her a deeper understanding of ways to reach people from underserved communities.
Paschall has a long history of community involvement. In between two stints at Marriott, she was executive vice president of external affairs at Volunteers of America and also is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, which works to build inclusive leadership by focusing on the development of Black corporate leaders in corporate America.
She cites her "ability to work with ease up and down and across an organization. People find me easy to work with and a quick study on how to integrate diversity and inclusion into existing strategies," she says.
What's Next in Diversity Management at Wells Fargo
Paschall, who is reporting to Jon Campbell, executive vice president and head of the social-responsibility group for Wells Fargo, says her top priorities will be coordinating the team-member networks and various diversity councils now in place at Wells Fargo to have the most significant business impact. Watch our diversity web seminar on diversity councils.
"There are many hearts and minds within this company working within this sphere of influence," she says. "The greatest opportunity is to align across a common set of objectives that will support the business goals. There is tremendous activity here. If we can harness that energy within a strategy, we will have a new level of performance."
For now, she's "excited to be sitting around Jon Campbell's table to create long-term economic growth and vitality for every community where we have business." She notes that when she interviewed for the job with Chairman, President and CEO John Stumpf, "I said that we really have the opportunity here to be a leader, to change something in this country." Read DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti's exclusive Q&A with John Stumpf and watch the video below.
For Paschall, who grew up in Macon, Ga., the vibrancy of the Washington, D.C., area has always been important. Wells Fargo is allowing her to continue to live in the D.C. region, traveling often to the bank's headquarters in San Francisco and its key hubs.
Before having children, Paschall often volunteered in public schools to mentor needy children. "With our own kids, there isn't enough time, but I find more of the mentoring relationships and supportive partnerships are happening through work and [nonprofit] organizations."
She still talks to "my Marriott folks" all the time, she says, as she acclimates herself to the world of Wells Fargo. "It is an amazing environment. My husband says: 'You just come home smiling every day.'"
For more on diversity management at Wells Fargo, read Increasing Diversity in Talent Development and Retention Best Practices: When Paychecks Aren't Enough.