“As a dad to three daughters, being a male ally is incredibly important to me,” John Faith, Managing Director, Head of Global Business Operations – Asset Services at DTCC, shared in a recent conversation with Fairygodboss. “I try each day to be aware of my privilege and extend it to others by mentoring and sponsoring; hiring, developing and promoting; holding other leaders accountable and asking them to do the same with me.”
Thankfully, at DTCC, his efforts towards allyship are matched. John originally signed on to the financial services company as an intern, but when he realized there was “no other organization in the world” that did what DTCC did on its scale, he was hooked. Thirty-two years later, he is proud of DTCC’s “long-standing commitment and record of action for diversity and inclusion.”
That commitment was part of what drew Managing Director, Head of Business Transformation Valden Paes to the company seven years ago. Valden immediately got involved in DTCC’s diversity initiatives as a former member of DTCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, where he served for five years, a former Co-Sponsor for the Asian ERG and as “a proud Latino... a member of our UNIDOS ERG.”
He believes these diversity efforts are not only an integral part of DTCC’s strong business model — another factor that attracted him to the company — but an important way to fight social injustice.
“Research demonstrates the value of D&I to innovation, critical thinking and business resiliency,” Valden said. “It’s also imperative that our workforce represent the communities where we operate, the clients we serve and last but not least, it’s simply the right thing to do.” I truly believe companies like DTCC are role modeling and helping compensate for hundreds of years of social injustice.”
John agreed diversity is important not only ethically, but in creating a sustainable and efficient business culture.
“We recognized some time ago the linkage between those values and business results; how a diverse employee population that feels included and supported is more engaged, productive and more likely to reach their potential,” he said. “Being a member of DTCC’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council for a few years really drilled home how important a strategic approach to strengthening culture and how a strong culture can drive behavior.”
For Managing Director, Head of Global Relationship Management Mark Vercruysse, who has been with DTCC for 22 years, serving as an ally comes down to “listening and understanding different perspectives.” It’s something he tries to integrate into his leadership of a diverse, global team.
“Every employee has a different point from which they operate and listening to their ideas and thoughts helps set an equal playing field and also makes sure we are encouraging everyone to participate,” Mark said.
Of course, this type of leadership begins at the top, something Mark considers a strength of DTCC’s management.
“From our CEO to the management committee, they are building the right culture and stress the importance of women in the workplace,” he said. “I think DTCC is supportive of all employees and is focused on diversity and inclusion across the board.”
When it comes to taking individual responsibility for being an ally, the men had tips for how other male leaders can start.
“First, engage, listen and show genuine interest in the women around you. Ask what you can do that would be helpful and make certain your actions demonstrate commitment,” John advises “Recognize it’s a journey and going to be a bit awkward at the start, but the more you do it the easier it becomes. As those relationships strengthen, it becomes much easier to sponsor and champion talent.”
Valden split his advice into three suggestions:
Be open to listening, learning and having uncomfortable conversations. Demonstrate empathy and ask them what you can do to help. Although they all share common hardship, their paths and challenges are unique.
Don’t, ever, label someone! And this applies to all races, cultures, genders. This is one of my pet peeves – once you label someone, you are, best case scenario, constraining them to that ‘characteristic’ and worst-case scenario demonstrating prejudice.
If you have the opportunity to lead a high potential woman, nurture, challenge and give her work beyond her ‘assumed capabilities.’ I promise you will not be disappointed.
Perhaps most importantly, allies can’t be afraid to begin. As Mark said of his most valuable career advice: “Don’t be afraid to take chances.”
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