BBVA USA recently announced the formation of its third Business Resource Group (BRG), this one in support of Black and African-American employees.
The announcement was made during the bank’s first Conversations in Diversity: Black Voices panel discussion, moderated by Chief Talent & Culture Executive Rosilyn Houston and featuring Birmingham District Retail Executive Eveitt Payne, Business Banking Relationship Manager Jamar Johnson, Regional Commercial Industry Specialist Nick Warner, and Director of Software Engineering Martha Underwood. The panel is a continuation of the bank’s One Team Talks, which were designed for team members to share their personal experiences and build bonds of compassion, respect and trust.
“These types of conversations are important, especially right now, to create a deeper understanding and support one another in the midst of a global pandemic and a divided nation,” said BBVA USA CEO Javier Rodríguez Soler, who also serves as global executive sponsor for BBVA’s Workplace Diversity and Inclusion strategy. “This panel is just one way we are creating opportunities for team members to bring their full selves to work and connect with one another more deeply.”
The panelists, who spoke about their personal experiences with prejudice, racism and microaggressions in the workplace, also recognized the importance of celebrating Black History Month and recognizing Black and African Americans who have made significant contributions to the U.S. and the world.
“My blackness can’t be hidden. It’s not a choice I get to make. In fact, it’s often the first thing people notice about me,” said Warner. “And the stereotypes—about my intelligence, my work ethic, my character—that come with the color of my skin mean that I have to work even harder to leave the impression that I’m a great banker.”
The introduction of the Black and African-American BRG comes nearly five months after the establishment of the bank’s LGBTQ BRG and underpins BBVA’s often-recognized Workplace Diversity and Inclusion efforts. The bank’s first BRG, Women in Leadership, was introduced in 2018 and has now grown to more than 600 women and men across four chapters within the bank’s U.S. footprint.