Charting the Future of DEI at DFIN

The talented DEI leader at the helm of the fintech company’s initiative shared the team’s recent advancements.

Written by Brigid Hogan
Published on May. 20, 2024
Charting the Future of DEI at DFIN
Photo: DFIN
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Since the beginning of ShaLonda Dwight’s career, she has kept her eye on a bright north star: how she can impact someone’s life and livelihood in a positive way. 

That steady guide has led Dwight to a career in talent acquisition and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The joy is knowing that you’re doing good work that impacts the lives of people and communities,” she said. 

In her current role as director of talent acquisition and diversity, equity and inclusion at DFIN, Dwight has the opportunity to help the fintech firm implement strategies and initiatives that support its DEI goals.

“There is work to be done, but we are advancing,” she said. “Our efforts and initiatives are sustainable because the commitment starts at the top.”

According to Dwight, a strong vision from leaders is key to building a successful DEI culture, and she has seen it in action at DFIN.

“When DEI is working, it’s embedded in all areas of an organization with a consistent message across all levels,” she said. “You can see that employees are engaged and able to thrive authentically, which leads to greater business results. For me, it’s simple — we all thrive when we feel safe, valued, respected and trusted.”

 

“For me, it’s simple — we all thrive when we feel safe, valued, respected and trusted.”

 

DFIN’s DEI journey so far has been marked by a series of significant milestones, from the launch of Heritage Series, a DEI-focused series spotlighting DFIN employees, to the implementation of employee resource groups and supplier diversity programs. DFIN has also supported initiatives to increase training around biases in the hiring process, to sponsor programming for Mental Health Awareness Month and Women’s History Month, and to add cultural awareness to the company’s schedule of paid holidays, including Juneteenth.

“Expanding programming to educate, build cultural awareness and promote inclusivity is important to me personally,” Dwight said. 

At DFIN, working closely with the company’s DEI Council and ERGs is allowing Dwight to do exactly that in partnership with her colleagues.

 

DFIN’S ERGS

Mental Inclusivity and NeuroDiversity Support — “MINDS educates, encourages, advocates, empowers and supports everyone at DFIN to create an awareness that mental health impacts us all and we can all impact each other’s mental health.”

Black Women Encouraging Leadership & Learning — “BWELL’s mission is to empower and uplift Black women within our organization through fostering leadership development, facilitating continuous learning opportunities and cultivating meaningful mentorship relationships.”

Women Impact Network — “WIN’s mission is to connect, inspire and champion the women of DFIN, creating a forum where women employees can network and share information.”

 

 

At the heart of DFIN’s DEI efforts lies the mission to cultivate a sense of belonging and inclusivity among employees. Its three ERGS — MINDS, BWELL and WIN — serve as platforms for fostering community, supporting mental wellness and empowering underrepresented groups. Dwight explained that, by championing initiatives that prioritize inclusivity and representation, DFIN is laying the groundwork for a workplace where every voice is heard and every individual can thrive — and the DEI Council serves as a nexus for that work to be amplified and supported.

“The DEI Council keeps DEI at the forefront of our culture by championing mental wellbeing, surveying employees to measure workplace culture and empowering employees to form resource groups around shared affinities and objectives,” Dwight said.

Shortly after forming, the DEI Council surveyed employees to measure workplace culture and benchmark trends over time. Following that work, the council supported employees in the grassroots launch of the company’s inaugural ERG, WIN. 

“In partnership with WIN, the council sponsored our first-ever fireside chat with DFIN’s two female board members on topics such as imposter syndrome, work-life balance, mentorship and career during Women’s History Month in 2023,” Dwight said.

Alongside the work of the DEI Council and the ERG’s, the company continued its own efforts to ensure equity.  DFIN increased the percentage of women and people of color working in roles at the supervisor level and above.  It extended paid parental leave programs, expanded medical benefits to include areas such as gender dysphoria and infertility, and added DEI as a new category for a companywide award.

As DFIN continues its DEI journey, Dwight remains focused on the ultimate goal: creating a workplace where every individual feels safe, valued and respected. Through ongoing initiatives and a steadfast commitment to inclusivity, DFIN continues to advance toward its commitment to delivering a world class employee experience.

 

Read MoreHow DFIN Is Including DEI in Its Business Transformation

 

 

Responses have been edited for length clarity. Images provided by DFIN.

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