Diversity Awareness Month is about raising awareness for the need for diversity in the workforce, and celebrating the awareness of your own diversity within yourself and others, and sharing that unique diversity openly and proudly with others, which can help create inclusion and collaboration in the workplace.
During this month, TIAA celebrated how it has cultivated its commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I), making it a strategic priority and dedicated function 10 years ago. While this organization’s D&I leadership began decades ago through the hiring of the first woman to our board of directors in 1940 and also the hiring of the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 1987, TIAA has made significant additional strides in the last decade in many ways:
- In 2016, TIAA launched “Journey to Inclusion” (JTI), an experiential, award-winning learning program that provides tools that employees can use to be more inclusive, every day. More than 70% of TIAA employees participated in JTI to date, including 90% of managers and senior leaders.
- TIAA’s Executive Committee is about 50% racially and gender diverse, which is due in large part to the company’s hard work to ensure TIAA reflects the broad spectrum of its client base.
- TIAA is recognized for commitment to diversity and inclusion by multiple organizations, including the DiversityInc. Top 50 (five years in a row), Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies, Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity, ranked in Latina Style Top 50 for consecutive 8 years, and this year TIAA was certified as a Great Place to Work for the first time in its history.
- TIAA expanded its creative scope by introducing an all-employee film premiere nationwide in TIAA offices about race amity, a film sponsored by TIAA that showcases close cross cultural friendships in U.S. and global history.
- TIAA launched an Incubator that is comprised of the eight employee resource groups and representative of a variety factors such as different levels of seniority, varying lengths of tenure and business areas – that are tapped into to provide valuable business input from diverse perspectives to drive innovation for our customers in the form of new or improved products and services.
TIAA hosted several events this month to celebrate Diversity Awareness Month that demonstrated its continued commitment to being on the forefront of D&I for board and corporate diversity of all kinds.
For example, TIAA hosted its first-ever story telling story hour this month, which featured several employees in multiple office locations sharing short stories about pivotal life moments that have shaped who they are today and how it helps them engage and contribute day-to-day at TIAA. The purpose of the personal, short employee stories is to show and celebrate how diverse, talented, and skilled the TIAA workforce is, and how employees have overcome obstacles and challenges in their lives which they use today in their character & work ethic to turn challenges into innovative opportunities and solutions for change and growth for their teams and the company. The event reveals the power in building trust and perspective among colleagues to foster greater collaboration and communication. This sharing facilitates growth for individuals and work teams, enriching their service to the organization.
Cathy Ivey, a Diversity & Inclusion Director at TIAA in Charlotte, shared how she and her family overcame homelessness, and how she learned the importance of the value of money and saving. This experience, she says, helped define and shape the way she relates to people. Cathy said her life experiences taught her to be accepting, curious, and to avoid passing judgement and instead to look at being of service to others.
“Our Diversity Awareness Month is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the work we do to live our core values, empower diverse voices through our ERGs and celebrate the impact of inclusion at TIAA,” said Ivey.
Other Diversity Awareness Month events at TIAA included a D&I Festival showcasing the eight Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), a Power of One speaker event, and a recognition ceremony celebrating 10 years of dedicated D&I impact featuring business leaders across the organization sharing how these principles have shaped their engagement with teams and enhanced business results.
TIAA continues to raise the bar for diversity and make inclusion a continued priority, increasing engagement and conversations on employees bringing their authentic selves to work.