Corporate DEI Accountability Takes Center Stage at 2024 Top 50 Event

Experts at Fair360’s 2024 Top 50 event explored the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with corporate strategy. The discussion emphasized the critical role of corporate DEI accountability.

The panel, titled “Understanding How to Align DEI Plans to Support the C-Suite”, was led by The Boeing Company’s (No. 9 on the 2024 Top 50 Companies list) Kathleen Jolivette. She is the Vice President and General Manager of Vertical Lift for Defense, Space and Security. The panel featured insights from:

  • Diana Lee, Head of Enterprise Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, TD Bank (No. 20 on the 2024 Top 50 Companies list) 
  • Monica Melancon, Chief Human Resource Officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (No. 44 on the 2024 Top 50 Companies list) 
  • Kristy Fercho, Head of Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion, Wells Fargo (No. 23 on the 2024 Top 50 Companies list) 

Jolivette started the conversation by emphasizing the importance of integrating DEI efforts into the core of business operations. She stressed the need for genuine commitment from leadership rather than treating them as standalone initiatives. Additionally, she underscored the long-term nature of the journey toward diversity and inclusion, serving as a testament to corporate DEI accountability.

DEI: Shaping Business and Community Futures

DEI initiatives can seamlessly align with business objectives. TD Bank’s Lee said the company hosted a Housing Summit aimed at addressing complex societal challenges by convening leaders from diverse sectors. It was held in conjunction with Howard University.

“All of these different groups have a pivotal role in helping to unpack and find innovative solutions to these problems,” she said. “It’s about recognizing that there needs to be business initiative as well as leadership from governments and taking these ideas and understanding from the nonprofit sector.” 

Additionally, Lee said TD Bank recently unveiled a three-year Community Impact Plan. It earmarks an expected $20 billion in financing to aid minority communities, along with underbanked and unbanked populations. Of this, TD Bank will direct $10 billion toward Residential Lending to address prevalent housing challenges. Moreover, the bank will allocate more than $10 million to support minority-owned small businesses and other community lending endeavors.

Wyndham’s Melancon said DEI is integrated into every aspect of the company’s strategic planning. She illustrated how DEI metrics permeate performance reviews, ensuring accountability at all levels.

“The reason for that is it’s important everything that we do sings the same song, tells the same story and resonates with all of our stakeholder groups. Our team members, our guests, our franchise hotel owners,” she said.

Corporate DEI Accountability in Action

Fercho underscored the significance of linking DEI goals to executive compensation. This practice was introduced by CEO Charlie Scharf. She elaborated on how leaders are incentivized based on metrics such as representation and engagement with DEI initiatives. Through integrating DEI into performance evaluations, Wells Fargo underscores the business imperative of diversity and inclusion.

“All of our DE&I goals, the senior leaders of the company are actually compensated on our goals,” she said. “So, (Scharf) personally pinned 13 commitments that he was making around DE&I for 18 members of the operating committee, which talked about their engagement in sponsoring their DE&I councils for each of their lines of business.” 

Visit our 2024 Top 50 event recap page to learn more and to hear from other featured speakers.