Keisha Bell, Managing Director, Head of Talent Management and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at DTCC shares her views on key priorities and initiatives in DEI. At DTCC, Bell leads talent acquisition and development and have responsibility for DTCC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ESG reporting. Before this role, she was DTCC’s Chief Diversity Officer.
Q. Please tell us about your role at DTCC and what you want to achieve in your position over the next few years.
KB: My official title is Managing Director, Head of Talent Management and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at DTCC. I lead talent acquisition and development and have responsibility for DTCC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ESG reporting. Before this role, I was DTCC’s Chief Diversity Officer.
My focus has been and will continue to be moving the needle on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace at DTCC. We know that it is critical to create connections between these areas to drive change, and by viewing our talent management and leadership development programs through this lens, I’m confident that we are poised to achieve even more progress here.
Related: Boca Highlights Sponsorship and DEI in Financial Services
Q. What are the key priorities for DTCC and yourself right now in DEI?
KB: My key priorities are advancing talent, diversifying the workforce, creating and building communities, and strengthening our inclusive environment. I am also focused on continuing to address unconscious bias and learnings to create a sense of belonging, which is what a lot of our work focuses on.
We also continue focusing our CSR programming on STEM persistence and remain engaged with organizations like Girls Who Code. We are also implementing strategic sponsorships to increase community engagement.
Q. How did previous roles get you to where you are today at DTCC?
KB: Over the course of 18 years at DTCC, I have held various roles across the organization, from technology, to product management, to risk, and now to my current role.
One of the most impactful experiences I’ve had at DTCC was volunteering as a co-lead and then executive sponsor for our Pride+ Employee Resource Group (ERG). As a queer black woman, this has been a space where I feel I can be fully myself. As one of the first co-leads of Pride+, I developed leadership skills while also moving the organization closer to achieving its diversity goals.
Throughout my time at DTCC, I've stayed close to the employee population, and my experience with ERG sponsorship and leadership has significantly informed what I'm doing today.
Q. What past tools/strategies are you applying to your current position as Head of Talent Management and DEI?
KB: I think one of the first things I remember talking about as a Pride+ ERG co-sponsor was the ability for the queer community to self-identify. While some work had been done through planning and working through technology implementations, we were not necessarily at the place we wanted to be in terms of self-id when I started my current role. So, when I took over, I knew this was an opportunity for improvement. But it wasn't just about identifying queer people. It was about identifying race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, veteran status, disability status, and more. Our work ultimately informed the implementation of a self-id strategy for DTCC. This in turn helps me identify pockets of the organization that need greater focus. Implementing self-id was a win for the organization and will last hopefully long after I'm gone.
Q. What does DTCC’s “Financial Markets. Forward,” mean to you as Head of Talent Management and DEI?
KB: At its core, this is about DTCC guiding purposeful, innovative change in the financial markets, and being a trusted adviser. We want to continue to be an organization that leads the charge for the financial markets and moves them forward. I also see our tagline as expanding into diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. It's the same remit. I want DTCC to be at the forefront of leading the financial markets forward in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion.
As an example of how we put this into practice, two years ago we published our first ESG report, which included diversity, equity and inclusion data. We have led financial markets in publishing our DEI data because we understand that transparency is critical.
“My focus has been and will continue to be moving the needle on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace at DTCC.”
Q. How does DTCC turn its commitments into actions in the DEI space?
KB: One of the things that we did was implement Men Advocating for Real Change, or MARC, training for the leaders of the organization, prior to the pandemic and during the pandemic. MARC is a leadership diversity training program offered by an organization called Catalyst that trains leaders and individuals on recognizing gender bias and how it shows up in an organization and workplace. It also talks about racial bias and how that might show up in the workplace. As of today, we've had 88% of our officer population go through that training and it has made leaders much more aware of how some of these barriers surface in the workplace.
DTCC is committed to mitigating bias, and training like this is key to doing so.
Q. What are the DEI initiatives or changes you are excited about in the financial services industry today?
KB: I get very excited about our participation and support of the Girls Who Code program. Each year for a week, we have high school students come in and learn from employees across the organization, with curriculum driven by our technology area. It’s really quite exciting to have that younger generation in the workplace, whether it’s virtual or in person, and get the benefit of their ideas and their thoughts.
We also started a program called DTCC Rising Stars, because not only do we want to train younger folks, particularly young women – we also want to stay connected with them and provide further development opportunities. With this program, we offer additional training and mentoring opportunities to these outstanding young people for free, staying in touch with them through their high school and college years. Ultimately, we might see them working at DTCC one day, and shaping the future of the financial markets!
This interview was originally published in Traders Magazine.