“[After I was certified as a diversity professional in 2018] I came back and immediately implemented a DEI program at the Local Government Federal Credit Union with $3.5 billion in assets…In this program I worked with different levels of leadership and this what I asked them to do was work in cohorts to identify areas of opportunity for diversity, equity and inclusion,” Hayes said.
Through group sessions led by Hayes as director of learning and development at the credit union, Hayes was able to initiate projects tackling its policies and procedures, examining how it built a talent pipeline . She eventually founded a DEI committee to continue moving the initiatives forward after the cohorts disbanded.
She then held a second leadership position as the Diversity Officer for the African American Credit Union Coalition in Duluth, Georgia, which was established in 1999 and advocates for the advancement of black professionals in the credit union sector. .
“I have spent quite a bit of time at AACUC organizing training sessions for members, working as a consultant to help them launch their diversity, equity and inclusion programs, offering training for management teams to help them understand where they stood. trip and then come up with a plan to move forward,” Hayes said. “I was able to really hone my skills as a Certified Diversity Professional working at AACUC as it gave me the opportunity to work with many different credit unions and leagues in the industry.”
Hayes has implemented a three-step plan for 2022 to facilitate the C-suite title and map the culture of the credit union as a whole.
Since completing her initial phase of establishment in April, Hayes is now in the second phase, familiarizing herself with the other operations and leaders of the credit union and expanding her division of experts to develop a culture of more global work.
“[At present] I have conversations with our staff members, meet our other members of our leadership team, meet board members and really get to know and immerse myself in the current culture of SECU…Building the team so that I have people it will help me develop our leadership language in our leadership program and focus on employee experience and focus on diversity, equity and diversity. ‘inclusion is another area I’m currently working on,” said Hayes.
Once established, Hayes will begin writing its vision for SECU and collecting data from employees through surveys and exit interviews to help generate a baseline to accurately measure the co-op’s progress. with its DEI goals and evaluate its promotion and retention efforts.
As the credit union industry continues its quest for inclusion in all areas of membership and at all levels of employment, institutions like SECU can become a place of both financial and equitable inclusion, Hayes said.
“Our industry was built on seven — now eight — cooperative principles that stem from caring for and caring for those who are disadvantaged and underserved and those communities tend to be or have been people of color” , said Hayes. “I see that our industry is already at the forefront of the change that needs to happen in this country.”