Celebrating Black Excellence at Citi
By Mark Mason, CFO, and Mike Whitaker, Head of Enterprise Infrastructure Operations & Technology (EIO&T) February 29, 2020 04:00 PM
February is Black History Month in the U.S. It is a time to recognize the people and events in history associated with the centuries-long African diaspora. As co-leads of Citi's Black Heritage Affinity, this month has an added significance for us and each member of our 14 Black Heritage Networks. The theme for this year's Black History Month was "Black Excellence," which is why throughout February we celebrated and featured some of the extraordinary contributions and accomplishments made by notable Black leaders both inside and outside of Citi.
We were pleased to host a number of activities throughout February, including a private screening of the PBS documentary BOSS: The Black Experience in Business. In addition, we launched an exhibit in the Citi art gallery called Spanning Perspectives at our global headquarters which showcased the work of leading Black artists from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. The different works on display, both from Citi's own art collection and the personal collection of Ray and Crystal McGuire, explore themes of ancestry, personal history, and memory and, through multiple media, they also address concepts of ethnic identity, social injustice and the human condition.
Notably, Anré Williams, Group President of Global Merchant & Network Services at American Express, joined us for an enlightening conversation with Forbes Diversity & Inclusion Editor Ruth Umoh. We discussed our career journeys, highlighted the people who influenced us, emphasized the importance of increasing diversity in corporate America and more. We're grateful that Anré spent the evening with us and candidly shared perspectives from his career and offered advice to those climbing the ranks today. We concluded the event by recognizing and honoring two of our colleagues who have consistently embodied the theme of Black Excellence at our firm – Raymond J. McGuire, Vice Chairman of Citi and Chairman, Banking, Capital Markets, and Advisory and Leah Wallace, Vice President, Workforce Development, Citi Retail Services Workforce.
We have also been taking important steps across the firm to ensure that we are fostering an environment where all of our colleagues feel welcomed and included. One of our most significant initiatives has been the implementation of representation goals to increase the number of female employees globally and Black employees in the U.S. Achieving these goals is a shared responsibility among all Citi colleagues, and of critical importance for all senior leaders. As co-leads of Citi's Black Heritage Affinity, we recognize the urgency of this initiative and are treating representation the same way that we approach and measure all of our other business objectives. This intensified focus ensures that we are giving best efforts to improve Citi's gender and ethnic diversity. And it's paramount to reinforce that a more diverse workforce drives better business results!
As we all know, this is a journey, but we feel good about the progress we are making and the transparent goals we have set. We look forward to continuing our efforts to make Citi an employer of choice for Black talent to grow and develop their careers.
As we reflect on Black History Month, we are pleased to share that Citi joined the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus as a corporate member. The Caucus strives to address the unique challenges that HBCUs face; making sure their needs are heard in Washington. As a Howard alum, I (Mark) have personally experienced the benefits of an HBCU education, and I understand how important it is to build a strong pipeline of diverse talent.
We will be joining Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, and numerous Members of Congress and leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Institutions for the third annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action on Capitol Hill, to be held on March 3 & 5.
During STEAM Day, HBCU and business leaders will meet with Republican and Democratic Members of Congress in the House and Senate. Over 50 HBCUs, organizations, technology companies, and industry leaders are sending representatives to participate in these days of advocacy and taking the steps needed to accelerate progress.