Stating a commitment to making banking and financing products more accessible to groups that historically have been underserved, Lancaster-based Fulton Bank has launched its new Diverse Business Banking Program.
The program is designed to meet the needs of minority, women, veteran, and LGBTQ business owners.
“This program advances our purpose to change lives for the better,” Fulton Financial Chairman, President and CEO Curtis J. Myers said in a statement.
Myers said on the company’s website that Fulton Bank is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The basis of the program is Fulton Bank’s Diverse Business Advocates, bankers who have earned a special certification and can provide individualized mentorship, educational resources, and custom solutions to meet the needs of diverse business owners.
The program’s products and services include the following:
Business banking product bundles.
Flexible approval criteria for loans and lines of credit.
Payroll and cash management services.
SBA (Small Business Administration) products.
“We’re building on the work Fulton Bank has long done as a trusted advisor for our customers,” said Joel Barnett, director of Commercial Affinity Banking. “In addition to serving diverse businesses, we want to strength relationships with community organizations so we can connect diverse businesses with the network and resources they need to succeed.”
The company’s website also promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion among its team members. Chief Diversity Officer Quianna Agent-Phillips said Fulton Bank’s inclusion efforts help forge connections throughout its workforce and foster collaboration among team members.
Fulton Bank, which has offices in the Lehigh Valley, is a subsidiary of the Fulton Financial Corporation.
Keynote speaker Todd Snovel brought a “Star Wars” theme to his talk Wednesday at the third annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit, hosted online by Central Penn Business Journal and Lehigh Valley Business.
Snovel, chief leadership and engagement officer for the County Commissioners Association, focused on how participants can become trained JEDI – promoting Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – in their workplaces.
He was followed by two panel discussions, “Building Inclusive Work Environments” and “Power, Privilege and Allyship,” with representatives from health care, engineering and other fields giving their tips and expertise on DEI (or JEDI).
When he went off to college, Snovel said, his worldview was very limited.
“I had been pretty much only exposed to people who looked like me, who sounded like me, who had similar beliefs and values as I. And it was only through those expanded opportunities in education that I started to realize, one, how big the world was, but two, really … understand how inequity (wasn’t just something in history books but was affecting people today) and not just other places, but in our own communities.”
DEI work is a challenge, Snovel said. “It can bring up some difficult conversations, and so there is sometimes a feeling of discomfort right around these JEDI ideas.”
Often, he’ll get asked if an employee should feel guilty belonging to a group that has discriminated.
“Am I supposed to feel bad about myself, especially if I hold some majority identities in the space, and I would tell you, please do not feel bad about yourselves, but let’s also be committed to a real understanding of knowledge because it is from that knowledge that we can then put that energy into action.”
Snovel explained the difference between equality and equity.
“It is when we do things that we then get to the ability to look beyond equality, to look beyond just let’s treat everybody the same way and give them all the same things. But to look to equity, which is, how are we equipping people to be successful, based on what they need?”
When thinking about launching a DEI initiative, companies should ask questions. And employee feedback is crucial.
Are they able to be fully themselves in the workplace? he queried. “So when I open that office door, do I believe that my full ideas and personalities and backgrounds and opinions are going to be welcomed and embraced? Or are there parts of me that I’m sort of shelving, checking, holding at bay because I’m just not sure how I’m going to be welcomed into that space?”
In the first panel, Lynette Chappell-Williams, vice president and diversity officer at Penn State Health, talked about changing circumstances.
“I would have said five years ago how we approach DEI … was radically different from where it is now. We’re dealing with severe … staffing shortages that reduce people’s ability to focus on anything that isn’t getting them through the day-to-day work that they need.”
“We’re dealing with financial challenges,” she said. “Organizations weren’t where they are … in terms of having a lot of additional funds … so you have to be far more strategic … .”
Tyrone J. Russell, CEO of Faces International Marketing and Development LLC, told summit attendees, “I always say this is really therapy. … I say, I’m a DEI therapist before I’m a practitioner, because I know that even if people pretend like it’s never ever personal that there’s deep-rooted stuff that they’re dealing with that’s not allowing them to understand what it is we’re trying to create.”
Productivity also comes into play, said Joy Houck, vice president of organizational development and chief learning officer at WellSpan Health. “… So if I don’t feel included on a team, if I don’t feel like I belong, my team may not be productive, and so if we’re not productive, we’re probably not meeting the business’ goals.”
In the second panel, George Fernandez, president and CEO of Color & Culture, spoke about the Latino population, health care and DEI.
“We understand that Hispanic demographic, and the Hispanic community are typically the No. 1s leading (where) we don’t want to be No. 1 in, whether it’s diabetes and obesity and cancer … . So I’m helping them connect to the resources that they ultimately need in order to allow them to live healthier, more active, engaged lives.”
Aaysha Noor, head of diversity, equity and inclusion at The Giant Co., is a Muslim immigrant to the U.S.
“I’m a strong believer that your personal experiences bring in a strong passion to what you do … But when you actually lived those experiences, and when you work with those communities, when you are on the street, when you have marched with them, and you have shed tears with them …it’s a very different feeling, and it gives you that deeper empathy and compassion and drive to do that work, and it also helps you … to bring other people along to tell that story … .”
Masai Lawson, senior manager of talent acquisition and inclusion, Gannett Fleming, had her definition of equity, too.
“… It’s not about quotas. It’s not about compliance; frankly, defining equity in terms of quantifiable results is again, in my opinion, too narrow, and ultimately counterproductive because it encourages a focus around outcomes only rather than how equitable environments are really built and sustained … So … I think equity is more of a state, and it’s hard to strictly define what it looks like, since it’ll show up differently in every organization.”
The summit was presented by Giant, with presenting sponsor WellSpan Health. Supporting sponsors were First National Bank, Reading Hospital/Tower Health and UPMC and patron sponsors were Capital BlueCross, Highmark, Members First Federal Credit Union, Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State Health.
Erie Insurance, with offices throughout Central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley, has named Lance Hyde vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), effective August 22.
Hyde will lead the company’s DEI team and related enterprise initiatives, the company said.
Hyde brings more than 15 years of experience in diversity and inclusion practices, including significant supplier diversity and sustainability expertise, to the leadership role at Erie. He joins the company after serving as director of Global Inclusion and Diversity at Pittsburgh-based Koppers International.
“I am excited to welcome Lance to the ERIE Family and the Erie community,” said Chief Diversity and Community Development Officer Chris Marsh. “With his demonstrated collaborative work style and results-driven approach, I’m confident Lance is well-equipped to help lead ERIE through our next evolution of DEI.”
At Koppers, Hyde helped develop the company’s global inclusion and diversity strategy while partnering with business unit leaders to create a robust supplier diversity program.
Prior to joining Koppers, Hyde served in various leadership positions at EQT Corp., including diversity manager and director of supplier diversity.
Recognized nationally for his DEI thought leadership and supplier diversity expertise, Hyde has participated in more than 50 panel discussions on a variety of topics throughout his career and has been featured in national and regional media.
Hyde earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, East Bay in Hayward, Calif. and a master’s in Business Administration from Waynesburg University in Waynesburg. He received the Timothy and Caroline Thyreen Service Leadership Award from Waynesburg University in 2021 and the Supplier Diversity Professional of the Year Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council in 2019 for his accomplishments in supplier diversity initiatives with EQT.
Tower Health announced today that Desha Dickson has been named vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Community Wellness.
In this new role she will serve as the organizational leader within the system to drive the development, implementation and integration of best practices and resources to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural proficiency within Tower Health.
Dickson will also continue to be responsible to develop and implement initiatives aimed at working with community partners to improve the health of communities served by Tower Health through innovations in health education and community engagement including completing the Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan, Tower Health said.
She joined Reading Hospital in 2011 most recently serving as associate vice president of Community Wellness at Reading Hospital. In this role she worked to design programs and build partnerships to improve health, wellness, and the quality of life in Berks County.
Dickson also helped to initiate the Reading Hospital Street Medicine Program, which provides medical care and links to social services for individuals that are homeless or housing insecure.
She was instrumental in the development of Reading Hospital’s Center of Excellence, which was created with a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Under Dickson’s leadership and guidance, Reading Health received a $4.5 million federal grant aimed at identifying and addressing social determinants of health by creating a “hub” that bridges the gap between Medicare and Medicaid patients’ clinical and social service needs. Reading Hospital is one of only 32 organizations in the country to receive funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to pilot the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) care model, Tower Health said.
Dickson has also created programs that provide local students with educational opportunities in healthcare. She developed an internship program at Reading Hospital that enables local high school students to gain work experience in a variety of departments within the healthcare setting, while advancing their professional skills through monthly seminars covering topics such as interview skills and financial planning.
Prior to joining Reading Hospital, Dickson worked at United Way of Greater High Point in North Carolina, where she was the vice president of Community Impact. She received her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from West Chester University.
The American economy added 390,000 jobs in May as the unemployment rate remained at 3.6% for the third straight month, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday.
A release from the department said that “notable” job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and transportation and warehousing. Employment in retail trade, however, declined.
Among major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians fell to 2.4%, while the jobless rates for adult men (3.4%), adult women (3.4%), teenagers (10.4%), whites (3.2%), Blacks (6.2%) and Hispanics (4.3%) showed little or no change last month.
In addition, the number of long-term unemployed – those jobless for 27 weeks or more – declined to 1.4 million.
That category accounted for 23.2% of all unemployed persons in May. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh noted in a statement that 408,000 jobs on average have been created each month over the past three months.
“We remain focused on empowering all workers to seize these opportunities in a growing economy by working to improve job quality and job access all across the country,” he said. “Equity in our economy remains a top priority. While the unemployment rate held steady for most groups, the rate for Black workers remains nearly double that of white workers … . We continue to implement the Department’s Equity Action Plan, in partnership with agencies across the government and in line with the President’s Executive Order Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, to ensure that everything we do removes the barriers facing those who have been underserved by our economy in the past.”
DeSales University’s Scott Blair will take his expertise on diversity, equity and inclusion to the state level.
Blair, associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at DeSales University, has been appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. He was among 30 new and reappointed commissioners recently sworn in during a ceremony in Harrisburg.
“The role of the commission is to speak to the challenges and the triumphs of our Latino, Latina, and Latinx community in the commonwealth and to discuss strategies,” said Blair, who will serve on the commission’s education committee. “That information is then provided to the governor and his office for consideration when it comes to policy.”
Nancy Gonzalez, a 1987 alumna and Pennsylvania’s first Latina district judge, was also appointed to the commission. She is set to become an adjunct instructor in DeSales’ criminal justice program in the next academic year. Both Gonzalez and Blair are first-time members on the commission and will serve two-year terms.
Blair is also involved in numerous local efforts to advance inclusive excellence, including as chair of Community Action Lehigh Valley’s Color Outside the Lines initiative.
“I’m grateful to have this opportunity and to work with amazing professionals across the state as we consider ways to develop meaningful change to address the inequities that we see in the Latinx community when it comes to education, access, and support, not just K-12 but in higher education as well,” he said.
In addition to the Commission on Latino Affairs, Pennsylvania also has commissions focusing specifically on women, African American affairs, Asian Pacific American affairs, and LGBTQ affairs.
“We must feed equality to feed the future. To feed the future, we must also ensure that our departments of agriculture, including the USDA, are available to all,” said Redding. “As a nation, state, and industry, our strength is our diversity. To truly honor this diversity, we need to remove barriers to this economic powerhouse.”
The first commission of its kind, the USDA Equity Commission and its Subcommittee on Agriculture will provide recommendations on policies, programs and actions needed to address equity issues, including racial equity issues, within USDA and its programs. The Commission willwork to strengthen accountability and provide recommendations to empower USDA to serve its customers more fairly and equitably, according to a Department of Agriculture statement.
Since joining the Wolf Administration in 2015, Secretary Redding has underscored that agriculture is zip code neutral and worked to strengthen equity within the commonwealth’s food system:
Following the killing of George Floyd and civil unrest that followed, Redding made his most direct statement on the need to break down barriers and directly combat the injustices of racism.
In 2020, as he watched his former colleague Dr. Rachel Levine navigate a worldwide pandemic and simultaneously face hate for who she is,he could not be silent.
Within the PA Department of Agriculture, Redding commissioned the Project JUST(Justice, Unity, Solidarity and Tolerance) Committee to maintain a working environment that addresses discrimination and endorses respect, professionalism, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Redding has prioritized diversity, equity and inclusion work through listening sessions, outreach and programming, including programming at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
In 2021, he submitted comments to USDA to advance racial justice and equity for underserved communities.
In 2021, Redding spearheaded the formal establishment of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Week in Pennsylvania, the first state in the nation to formally recognize the academic and professional advancement of minorities in agriculture and the food system.
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