Mark Ng is Vice President and LGBT Segment Manager of Wells Fargo's Strategy and Segments division. Ng recently sat down with DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti during a Q&A session to discuss Wells Fargo's resource groups and outreach to the LGBT community.
Luke Visconti: Why has outreach to the LGBT community been such a priority for Wells Fargo?
Mark Ng: At one time our outreach to the LGBT market was because it's the right thing to do, because it's part of our overall visions of diversity—which still holds true. But the right answer now is because it's imperative, just like with all the other segments, to our business. A lot of corporations, not only Wells Fargo, are really waking up to the fact that this is a segment that is affluent, profitable, loyal and has really, really stepped up in terms of responding to corporations holistically and authentically targeting them.
Visconti: PRIDE, Wells Fargo's LGBT resource group, is very involved in the community. How does the company ensure that the messages you get from that involvement go all the way to the top of the organization?
Ng: That's very key in terms of making programs work. One of the examples of how this plays out is our anti-bullying focus. Over the past few years Wells Fargo has really stepped up in terms of making an anti-bullying stance in support of safe schools. But that was something that came from team members expressing that this was a growing issue that they were seeing, feeling, hearing in their communities. It was something that was put up to management, and also senior management felt it was something that was not only important but also consistent with Wells Fargo's vision and values. And because it was not only confirmed from the team members but also something that our management really supported as consistent with our vision and values, this is now a program that we focus on year-round in terms of really ensuring that our schools are safe for everybody.
Visconti: How does CEO John Stumpf ensure that senior management—not just LGBT senior management, but also heterosexual senior management—is involved?
Ng: Oftentimes there are questions on whether LGBT fits in the company's vision of diversity—is it only ethnic segments? But one of the best things that our CEO has done is to make it very, very clear from the beginning that not only LGBT; not only the ethnic segments, people with disabilities, women—all these groups really constitute our vision of diversity and all these groups count.
Visconti: With this idea of different resource groups collaborating, I think there are two things at play. The maturity of Wells Fargo's culture in terms of diversity and inclusion, and younger people being less siloed than people of my generation. What do you think about that?
Ng: There was a point in time when people were really honed in on what makes us unique, whereas now the headliner is really what's common amongst everybody. And the more team-member networks, customers, whoever is in the search and journey of diversity really focuses on that, it's going to bring us to new ideas, news ways of partnership like these team-member networks coming together, with folks who normally would never work together getting partnered. They are starting to see opportunities, and that's what's exciting about the space that we are in—even the very definition of diversity is changing before our eyes.