Georgia Fintech Academy

Episode 31: Inclusion and Diversity - Jennifer Frasier, Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity, FIS Global and Alisa Wilson, Valdosta State

December 17, 2020 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 1 Episode 31
Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 31: Inclusion and Diversity - Jennifer Frasier, Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity, FIS Global and Alisa Wilson, Valdosta State
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Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 31: Inclusion and Diversity - Jennifer Frasier, Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity, FIS Global and Alisa Wilson, Valdosta State
Dec 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 31
Georgia Fintech Academy

Jennifer Frasier is the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity at FIS Global. Alisa Wilson is a junior studying finance at Valdosta State and a member of the Georgia Fintech Academy student advisory council. This episode explores the topic of inclusion and diversity and its importance.

Show Notes Transcript

Jennifer Frasier is the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity at FIS Global. Alisa Wilson is a junior studying finance at Valdosta State and a member of the Georgia Fintech Academy student advisory council. This episode explores the topic of inclusion and diversity and its importance.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. The Georgia FinTech Academy is a collaboration between Georgia's FinTech industry and the university system of Georgia. This talent development initiative addresses a massive demand for FinTech professionals and give learners the specialized education experiences needed to enter the FinTech sector body .

Speaker 2:

Welcome back. This is Tommy Marshall executive director of the Georgia FinTech Academy. And this is the 31st episode of the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast on this December 17th, 2020. Happy holidays to everyone today. We have Elisa Wilson of Valdosta state, and Jennifer Frazier , the global leader for inclusion and diversity with us, for our conversation. Welcome to you.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, Tommy . Thanks for having her.

Speaker 2:

It's great to have you happy holidays. Um, Alyssa , I hope exams and everything went okay. And , uh, Jennifer, I'm glad personally that I didn't have to take exams last week. Uh, I don't know how you feel about that.

Speaker 3:

I'll have that nightmare time and middle of the night. Sometimes

Speaker 2:

The , uh, the , uh, I've got a story. I love to tell about that. It was like my F my senior year of college, I was taking this course called Chinese literature, and I ma and I saved that exam as my last exam. And , uh, and long where I went to school at Davidson college in North Carolina, our exam taking was like on this honor system. So you could take your exams whenever you wanted, but in a , you know , in a certain timeframe. So like you needed to make sure you had them all taken by the , like the final , uh, time slot, but you could take them in whatever order you wanted it kind of whenever you wanted in these particular time strains . So I saved Chinese literature for the very last , um, uh, time slot , uh, and I was studying like crazy and I really wanted to do well. And it was kind of , you know, it's kind of, it was difficult content and , um, I , uh, I overslept and I,

Speaker 3:

Oh, so you really had the condoms

Speaker 2:

And it was literally like five minutes left in the time when you could pick up the exam. And so I'm like, Oh my gosh, you know , like I jump on my bike. I piked like crazy up to the main hall where you pick up the exam rush in there. And I was like late. And they were, I was like, please take this. Well , you know , they were like, okay, don't worry here it is. Uh , but I only had, you know, when I cut into my time. And so I brushed a rain around the building to find a place to sit down and start taking an exam, just , you know, it was crazed. Um, you know, it was like three hours took my exam, turn it in, you know, it was so relieved, but I was like, Oh my God, what happened? What happened? Um, and , uh, I guess to , to get to the end of the story quickly , uh, I did well and got a bad , uh, professor Holland, Chinese literature, man. That was scary moment. Uh, but anyway, Jennifer ,

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Tell us about you, tell us about you

Speaker 2:

And your career and , um, how you became the global leader of inclusion and diversity at FIS global.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So , um, in terms of my career, you know , um, since we started college, I'll tell you a little bit about that. So , um, I , uh, my major college was psychology. My minor was business. Um, I , I was in the long time, way back time . And you may remember of when there wasn't a degree, a formal degree for HR, right. Um, so you kind of cobbled together best you could. And that was psychology and business for me. And then I went on to get my master's in industrial organizational psychology. Um, and then just started my career as an HR professional. And , um, for the first 10 years of my career , um, I was enrolled with that. You would call a HR generalist, right? Someone that was the master of , you know , of none, but the Jack of all trades, you know, or the Jill of all trades, as they say in HR, you know, I was supporting, you know, different groups of individuals from an HR perspective, whether it be around recruiting or benefits or performance management, training and development, you name it, you know, all of those things kind of fell under my guys and I worked in a number of different industries. So I started out in hospitality. I did , uh , waste management. I did , um, you know, consulting, I've done, you know , um , other professional services, medical support, all kinds of things from, from an industry perspective. And , um, my roles have just kind of grown, had kind of grown over time. You know, I started out as like a local HR person, you know, maybe for like a, you know, a local, you know , site or facility of, of where I was. And then I kind of moved on to national, you know, roles or responsibility and then to global roles . And along that journey , um, what started to happen was , um, I found this passion and this place called , um, inclusion and diversity. Um, and again, not to date myself, but even when I was starting, you know, to do this work, we'd really get formally call it back. You know, it was just work that I was doing , um, to really think about how are we , um, you know, bringing in the best talent in the organization, how are we ensuring that we have the right skills in the organization? How are we future-proofing our organization? And , um, you know, and , and where it actually started for me was , um, I was with an organization called Mercer , uh , which is a human resource consulting firms and not the university. Cause I know many of you are in Georgia. You've heard of mercy university , um, not the university, but it's , um , Mercer, which is a human resource consulting firm . So I'd spent a number of my , um, professional career at that organization. And , um, the way that I started in inclusion diversity specifically was , um, uh, I supported one of our businesses, which is our retirement business, a pension actuaries. And , um, what they were finding was that they were going to the same universities year over year and getting roughly the same talent year over year coming into the actual profession. And , um, you know, they were, they were struggling to say, you know what, we need to evolve the type of people that we're looking for, again, around that future proofing right of talent in the organization , um, you know, they were consultants, although there were actuaries that kind of technical expertise, they also needed people who had that ability to translate that technical expertise into consulting expertise. And those are not clearly not the same kind of skill set . Right. Um, and so as we started thinking about what they needed to do, you know, I just kind of offer to them, you know, perhaps let's look at people who may not be necessarily actuarial science majors, but maybe there are people who are business majors who have aptitude or liberal arts majors who have aptitude for actuarial science. Um, and as a result, you know, they took a chance that let's do it that way. Um, I started to look, they expanded the profile and , uh , really found that they were getting, you know, a much more dynamic group of talent and much more well-rounded group of talent. We were still looking at actuaries, you know, who had that formal , um, uh , you know, education. Um , but they also were bringing more people in with this aptitude. And when you started to do that, when you started to look at different majors, and now you can open up to different schools who may not have an actual major at their school, but they've got a strong business program or strong liberal arts liberal arts program, you started to see this increase in types and diversity, right. Um, that was coming into the, into the organization. Um, so we started doing that. And what happened was a couple of other businesses that said, no , I see what you're doing over here. What re you know, how did you do that? Why did you do that? And it just started, it happened that I just started doing it on the side of my desk, essentially, it's the of work. Um, which a lot of times we find when I talked to a lot of other people in my profession, a lot of us, it just was, it just, it came kind of organically. We started doing outside our desk and then one day someone taps you and says, can you lead this up for our organization? And that's what happened for me. So I did that for, with Mercer. Um, and then I moved on to our parent company, Marsh and McLennan companies. Um, and some of you may be familiar with them , um, and did global diversity for them , um, first from number of years. And then, then my career led me directly to FIS to do something very similar. Um, so I've , um , in each case I've been at the forefront of creating the inclusion diversity programs for the different organizations. So for Mercer, you know, that was, you know, I kind of cut my teeth there to say so to speak , um, you know, look back at what they're doing now, they're actually consulting in this space. So it's great to know that, you know, something that I seeded so many years ago is now become a profitable enterprise for them, right. Um, the same thing for Marsh and McLennan companies, you know, it started out me just doing it in the parent companies. And now you see that each of their operating companies have fully fledged, you know, inclusion diversity programs that are winning awards and doing great things to know that I was at the beginning of that. And I'm hoping that, you know , the same thing for FIS. I've been with FIS now for three years. Um, again, starting as a first inclusion and diversity global director. And , um, you know, we've, we've come a long way in three years. I'm very proud of the things that we're doing. I hope we get to talk a little bit about that in a short while. Um, and you know, I hope that I leave a legacy for them as well. So , um, so that's kinda how I got into inclusion and diversity and , and how my career has kind of evolved over time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, that's super helpful. And , um, I think it just goes to what , um, kind of an amazing , um, you know, leader you have in your pedigree. I just think of like, Mercer, I don't know how many of our listeners really appreciate this, but like Mercer is like the pinnacle of HR consulting. I mean, that's like, I feel like they define the whole space and really is the leader has been the leader. I mean, I guess, I don't know if it's a fair comment, but like, you know, some people will understand like McKinsey and the McKinsey brand management consulting, but I, that's how I think of Mercer. It's like, that's the roll up brand and that cause all of these space and then Mark Mack , Mark McLennan has really been a major, major player in , uh , in HR, from abroad standpoint for, for years and years. Um, so FIS was lucky to have you

Speaker 3:

Thank you. I'm lucky to read there . I'm glad they asked me to step up in this role and to help them lead around this thinking of topics . Yeah ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It really, it's something , um, Elisa , tell us about you, tell us about you, what in the , in your work?

Speaker 4:

Uh , well, as you know, I'm pretty early in my career path. Um , just starting out really. Um, but I go to about the auto state university, I'm a double major in finance and economics. Um, when I'm not doing that, I work for Aramark. We're a fortune 500 company and, you know, I help them sell their products and that along with my coursework really inspired my interest in FinTech. I had no idea what FinTech was until this year. Um, I had my teacher, Dr. Rolan , phenomenal woman. She , um, was teaching a class called digital and finance. And , um, it was a phenomenal class. I loved it. And here I am now on the Spencer Academy board of students. So , um, I think the main thing with me and diversity inclusion would be my role as a resident assistant. Um, I work with the university and I live in the building with different students and we help them get acclimated onto campus. And I learned very quickly that not everybody has the same point of views of me. Not everybody has the same experiences as me and I have to be really culturally competent to make sure that I can cater to the students cause I worked for them. So I have to cater to them. And it's a journey. Um, I'm, this is my second year as an RA. So it's a journey, but I love what I'm doing. I love that I'm making an impact with the students at my university and I've gained so much this past two years just being in that role. So I'm excited to be here and I'm excited to, you know, indulge in this conversation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's great to have you and , uh, Alisa , I want you to take a moment to plug your blog, which I love called my life as a teenage professional. Uh, tell us, just give us a second on like, okay. When , when you , uh, I know the first time we talk, I don't think you had mentioned your blog. And then we were like, we were in one of our other events or something and this came up and I was like, wait a minute. What are you talking about? You have a blog . Tell us about , um, what led you to , uh, create that , uh, that , uh , block.

Speaker 4:

Sure. So I started the blog when I was 19. I just had a birthday, so I'm 21 now and

Speaker 2:

Wow. Big birthday.

Speaker 4:

Yes , big birthday. Um, but I started the blog when I was 19 and I was getting my first credit card and I had no idea what I was doing. And , um, I was really trying to figure out, okay, well, what does this mean? And what does this car do that this car doesn't do? And what's the difference between this and that and savings and, and, you know, debit. And I was just really confused. So after taking my personal, personal finance class and I was struggling alongside other students who came from the same community , that's me, I was just frustrated. Like, why do we not have this information in high school or middle school? Because this is actual information that we need. And that same year I started doing my taxes by myself and I was just learning basic personal finance hands-on. So I decided to write a blog about it because I was frustrated and I was like, we need to have this, you know, information given for free. And we need to this salmon earlier than college. So , um, I started the blog and I've been more offline with it. Now I actually have started teaching classes. Um, my mother's a teacher, so she's letting me, you know, sit in and, you know, teach some classes. And I'm excited to say that hopefully this new year, I'm going to have my classes be moved online and revamp that website. So I'm just starting

Speaker 2:

The , uh , the it's super, it's a great story. And, you know, the , I'd say the, the FinTech and financial information marketplace has, has finally, I guess, starting to pick up on what , what you of course were living and, and beginning to address and continuing to aggress with your teaching. Um, and, and it reminds me of two things. One is , um, nerd wallet , which adds , you know, a great service and , uh, our , uh , local, our local executive , uh, who's the CEO of Cardlytics , uh , Lynn Lobi. She just joined the board at NerdWallet. Uh , they just announced that , um, I guess almost, I think just last week, very recent. Um, but so we now we've got this direct connection from this great from Cardlytics , which FIS, by the way, it was investor in early on. And , um, then , uh, with, with Lynn now being on their board, but also , um, green light that the app on my phone, I have a 13 year old son, nice for my son. Well , green light, you know, we're super proud of, and, you know, Atlanta based company came out of the Georgia tech , uh, advanced technology development center a couple of years ago just closed. Um, there , there , there , I think it was a series C be a series C or D, but the evaluation now is over a billion. So they are unicorn FinTech unicorn right here in Georgia, Greenlight financial , uh, um, Johnson cook , uh, in Tim Sheehan, the are the co-founders and, and I've also been getting some meaningful recognition , um, in the, from , uh , from E Y and some of these others that kind of recognize entrepreneurs , uh , that are doing an amazing, amazing work. Um, but yeah, great , uh , great company that's, you know, their whole purpose , uh, Alisa is to help parents raise financially responsible adults. And they are doing that through their smart debit card, through the app, all my kids as well, Jennifer , uh , I have on the Greenlight app and they love it. In fact, my kids are like, dad, you should let us come on your podcast and talk about our green light . I mean, we love , um, so it's a, it's a cool, it's a great product cool thing , um,

Speaker 3:

On that topic, you know, around financial inclusion, right. I think that's so critical. And to your point, Tommy , do you feel like, you know, there's so many organizations that are stepping up because, you know, the events of this year really have underscored just had much economic disparity and , and financial literacy and all those things, right. That we know are impacting so many of our underserved and underrepresented communities. Right. And so, you know , um, you know, that's something that for FIS and maybe, you know, it's , it starts to galvanize the FinTech industry around having this purpose, right. And really having an impact because if you can start to grow , you know, that , um, that financial literacy and wellness and wealth accumulation and all those things, we can make tremendous strides around some of the disparities that, you know, we've been talking about. And so that's something that, from an FIS perspective, it's actually one of our core things that we're focusing on from an inclusion diversity perspective is around financial inclusion. So Sarah , Lisa, I want to come back to you and have some conversations about, you know, where we might be able to engage with you further around this, because it's, it is, it is one of the , the tenants that we are going out with. And , and we, we know, right. That we, the breadth of services of FIS has the number of partners that we have , um, is unmatched by anybody else in the FinTech industry. And so we have an opportunity to really change things, and that's what we are driving for as well.

Speaker 2:

Um, let's talk more too about, like, what is this, when we say inclusion and diversity and the , um, I got, I went, I have a colleague that is taking a course , um, on inclusion and diversity right now. And I found out about this. And so I reached out to her recently. I was like, okay, what do you what's , what are they teaching in this course? What's going on in? And she was like, all the time, it's been really helpful. And there's sort of four major things that have come forward in this course. So let me share those. And you tell me if this makes sense and how you think about it. Um, Jennifer , so , so one, they have four to four segments in the course, and one is on improving , uh , engagement, improving employee engagement. Yeah . Was like a key piece , uh, unconscious bias. What is that , uh , you know, how do you, how do you deal with that? How do you identify it , um, then , uh, kind of inclusion and diversity at work. So like, what are , what are the different , uh, I guess, programs to then drive and foster an inclusive climate? Uh, so those , these four kind of sections of what , uh, it was, has been involved in this course she's been taking. Um, so does any of that resonate?

Speaker 3:

All of the above, all of the above absolutely resonates with me when I think about inclusion and diversity. And I do think it's evolving to more, right? Because we just talked about this concept, financial inclusion, right. That's not an internal thing that we focus on from you FIS. I mean, we do, we've got colleagues, we've got 60,000 and colleagues and more, right. So we do need to think about the financial health and wellbeing of our employees. But when I was talking about it, it was also in terms of the products and services. So I think organizations is not just about what we're doing internally with our colleagues and, and, you know , um, our candidates and things like that. But it's also what we're doing externally, right? What are we doing? What in the work and the workforce, you know , the future, what are we doing with our clients? What are we doing in our communities? And I think, you know , that's the holistic framework, you know , that we need to think about. So I'm gonna take a step back cause you asked me how to define, how do I define it ? So let me take a step back there before we get teeny, teeny deep in some of the weeds around it. Um, you know, so when , um , when I think about inclusion and diversity , um, two things, right? When we think about diversity, I think many people automatically think about some of those , um, what I'm going to call interpersonal personal dimensions of diversity, right? We think about gender, gender ID, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, disability status, and those kinds of things, other things that, you know, either we are born with or require , um, you know, that we , that we have very little ability to change. Right. Um, and that tends to be what the forefront are when we talk about diversity is truly, truly

Speaker 2:

That's the case. I know for me personally, if I'm, you know, when I'm honest with myself about it, like I'll say, when I hear diversity inclusion, the first place I go is to race, a lot of people do . And I think immediately about race. And I would say too , I'll even say like, particularly African-Americans and more, I'll just more, African-Americans like, that's how, like my simple mind immediately translates diversity, which , um, I know I'll , I'll admit, I, I understand is too simplistic. That's like, I I'll S you know, for me, like, that's where my mind or

Speaker 3:

Hello , Tommy, I think you're not alone. And that's one of the challenges. So for the, no people on the phone now , I mean, on the, on the podcast, can't see me. I am a black female. Um, so when people see me come and speak about inclusion, diversity, they go, of course, she's black and she's female. Of course, she's going to be talking about inclusion and diversity. Right. Um, and that's, and that's a bit of, I find that a bit , um, to your point , simplistic and a little , um, you know, narrow in terms of how we need to think about inclusion diversity. So, you know, I lead up a global organization, 60,000 reports . Um, you know, when I think about first of all, race and ethnicity, it's very country-specific right. So , um, how we define race and ethnicity in the U S is different in how they were defining the UK or how they do in Australia or wherever. Right. We can look at every con . So even when we say race and ethnicity, I can't even name those things. Right. Because it just it's. So, right. The whole concept around diversity is complex. And that's really what I try to impart to my employees is when we think about diversity, okay. Obviously I mentioned those interpersonal dimensions, right. But we've got to think about, I mean, at the core, our personalities just uniqueness. Every one of us is like a snowflake, right. In some ways I know that's , that's sometimes it's a negative term. Um, but you know what I'm saying in terms of the uniqueness, right? The uniqueness of each of us, right. So even just in that, there's diversity in , in each of us as individuals, but then when you start to layer on things like the external dimensions around our education, where we grew up, the languages, we speak the religion that we have , um, whether or not we were in the , you know, the military, whether or not, you know, whatever, right. Whether we grew up in the country or in the city or whatever, like all of those things start to impact who we are and how we see the world in Elisa . Like you said, that cross cultural competency is so critical. And then you layer on top of that organizational diversity. Right? So ed FIS, as I mentioned, we are very broad scale organization. Now we look at soup to nuts around the financial services, right? And so we've got people that are working in merchant solutions, banking solutions, capital markets in our , each individual functions. We've got people that have been with this long shirt , Tarrant, short term, longterm people that are just, you know, who are, you know, senior executives or mid-level managers, you know, I mean, all those things, right. That is complexity in and of itself. Then you lay on top of the fact that we've got, we've got colleagues in over 45 countries. So that cultural diversity and all the different things that how different cultures interact with each other, how different cultures think about concepts of time, of responsibility, of individualism versus group dynamics, all of those things start to create a whirlwind of what diversity is. And so when we start to expand it to think about that, then we recognize that no one group of individuals owns diversity. Every one of us brings diversity to an organization. And that's really the way that we talk about it at FIS. Now it's great to have diversity. So if I, if I, if I say to you, everybody brings diversity. That means Tommy , to your point. Um, you know , if we have 10 white men in the room, there's going to be diversity point, like, right. We can, we'll go down and we can figure out what that diversity looks like, but there'll be diversity. You , your commonality may be that you're both men and that you are shared the same race, but I'm quite sure marital status, education, you know, copies and whatever. There's going to be something somebody diverse. Right. So if we say that inherently, we have diversity, right. If it's always just going to be there regardless, we just need to open our minds and think about what that could mean. Then it starts to say, okay, so if we have diversity, what's this inclusion thing all about, and inclusion is really about how do we tap into that diversity? How do we bring that to the forefront to enable us to be better at what we need to be doing? Right. So, you know, as I mentioned earlier, I talked about, you know, the , um , future proofing , an organization before talking about bringing diversity in terms of skill sets , right. And future proofing in that way, you know, the, you know, when I think about, you know , um, inclusion, you know, fix, it's all about the things that are gonna enable us to , um, going back to the course that you just mentioned, right. Um, enables us to have colleagues that are more engaged, who are, you know, desire to stay, who desire to contribute their best to the organization. And because of that, that able to better collaborate. They're better to innovate, which then in that enables us to be able to grow as an organization, whether that's in terms of products and services that we do, whether it's terms of our market share, whether that's, you know , in terms of, you know, our revenue and profitability, and there are studies upon studies upon studies, right? The show that , um, there's so many statistics out there and those aren't just, you know , numbers. Right. So we did a little bit of an exercise of FIS , um, probably a year into me being there. And we just did a simple correlation and we just wanted to see like the gender diversity on different teams of FIS. Right. So how gender diverse was a team? Was it 50 50? Was it 40, 60? Was it 2080, you know, and looking at both directions. Right. And trying to get a sense of, you know, did that impact anything? And what we found is when we had teams that were at least 40% diverse, you know, in terms of gender, whether that's 40% men, 60% women, or 60% women, 40% men, whatever that mix was that we found that our colleagues were indeed more engaged and they actually performed right better. And that they , um, stayed longer. So that was just something we did as a simple little exercise in our organization. And I'm quite sure many organizations, they started to think about those things. They could start to see those same things too. So it is important that organizations focus on inclusion diversity , and it's important that we think about it in the most broadest context possible.

Speaker 2:

Um , I love it. That is , uh, a really, I think, great overview. Um, Alyssa , how does, is , you're listening to that. I mean, I, and I'm asking you this, because I've heard you speak very eloquently on this topic and some of our student panels, like , um, you know, D what, what resonates for you when you, when you're hearing kind of Jennifer talk about how they think about inclusion and diversity?

Speaker 4:

Um, something that really resonates with me is firstly, how you're over this globally. Um, I have what 30 cents and it's , it's , uh , it's a difficult thing for just 30 people. So the fact that the global company, and what else do you honestly , um, I did have a question. Um, you said that FIS is around the world, 45 countries. I wanted to know what specific initiatives is at FIS when it comes to diversity and inclusion globally.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Um, so we have taken a very big , um, global and enterprise view around inclusion diversity. Um, and , um, one of the things I will say, I don't know if I said this, so if I repeat it , if I'm repeating myself, please forgive me, everyone who's listening. Um, but we purposely rephrase the term of our function from diversity inclusion to include gender diversity. That may sound like a very minor thing to so many people, but the, but the point that we were making when we did that was that we wanted to lead with inclusion. Right. Again, we recognize inherently with 60,000 people. We got a lot of diversity going on in FIS, but how are we, you know, again, enabling that diversity, how are we locking the potential that diversity and really driving for a greater impact , um, across the organization. So that, that was something that I just wanted to point that out.

Speaker 2:

You brought that up because , um, you know, what I know is we setting up some different events. Um, I , you know, I'm, I'm often been in the, in the just diversity and inclusion construct, which is like, you know, kind of generally, I think how it's kind of brought up in the industry broadly. And , um, and you, and some of your colleagues multiple times, you know, a couple of times, cause I can be slow on the uptake where like Tommy , we need to be referring to this in these sessions is inclusion diversity. Um, and I'm like, Oh, okay. I was like, no problem. But I , several times, you know, I left Lando for our first meeting. I was like, what are they , why didn't they, you know, why are they what's going on here? Why are they making me change a thing? Uh , and then, you know, you were setting me straight on like it's important. You know, we have, we think there's an importance and leading with inclusion , um , which, you know, you're helping me to better understand.

Speaker 3:

Good, I'm glad, but it's a very deliberate choice. And one of the things you also see , um, um, and when you go back to the person that you were talking about, who's in her , um , coursework right now around inclusion and diversity or diversity and inclusion. Um, you know, two other terms they're going to start hearing a lot more is around , um, belonging, right? Because it's not just now I'm included, but do I feel like I'm along as well , that's another higher level of, of evolution around this journey. Um, and then also rank equities and not equality, but equity, right? What are we doing to level that playing for people so you can give them equal things and still might be right. It still can't be level. You've got to level the playing field for so many. And, and going back to the financial inclusion conversation, that's an important thing to think about is equity. So just start hearing more of that. So it's evolving, it's evolving thing. And , um, you know, in terms of Elisa , so one of the things I will say is, I know you said, you know, I'm sitting globally and, you know, and , and I have to tell you, I don't know everything about the 45 plus countries that we do business in . I mean, you know, I think that , I think that's, that's a that's lifelong journey. And one of the things that , um, when you think about inclusive leadership and people who are very good at this, I mean, there's a natural curiosity that we have. Um, and the , the answer we're constantly learning all the time and constantly , um, kind of humbling ourselves in this space because there's no way you're going to know about every single last thing that's ever gonna occur. Right. You know, I , I have , um , 15 years ago, if you told me that we would be talking about , um , gender as a continuum, right. That wasn't something that we were talking about 15 years ago in inclusion, everything was, it was very binary and now we know gender is very much a continuum, right. And so if those things are gonna continue to have as humans evolve as people evolve. And so that's just a lifelong journey on that, but in terms of some of the programs and initiatives that we're doing at FIS , um, so I think one of the key things going back to about that lifelong learning and evolution is education awareness. I think, you know, it is so paramount and fundamental and you can't just take one course as I've just pretty much underscored. Right. And be like, Oh , check. I'm good. I'm all good on inclusion diversity, right. I mean, it's, it's a lifelong not only knowledge building, but also skill building , the work that you do and inclusion diversity is an everyday intentional action, right? To Tommy's point about unconscious bias, right. We are all biased. Like that's the thing about unconscious bias and because it's unconscious, we don't even, we're not even aware all the time what our biases may be until somebody points it out to us. Right. Um, and so those biases, right , um, require that we have to actively actively participate in overcoming them all the time. And so we try to do so we do a lot around education awareness that can come and things like formal courses that we're doing, some are mandatory, some are voluntary. It's self-study materials that we give to people just in time resources. We give to our leaders and managers, we bring in guest speakers, we've got inclusion networks all throughout the organization. They do programming all throughout the year. Um , so it's just constantly just evolving kind of, you know , constantly keep it top of mind for us from an education and awareness standpoint. Um, we also do a lot of focus around , um, you know , what are we doing to source and develop talent, right? So , um, talent acquisition, you know, in terms of what are the right places, what are the right skills? What are we doing? We've got a great partnership, obviously with the FinTech Academy, looking at some of the future talent that's coming out , um, around that. Um, but you know, we've got to think about what, you know, who are we bringing into the organization and , and what types of skills do we need. And that's at all levels from the most entry level to the most senior level and the organization. Um, and then also around looking at development of talent and organization. So ensuring that again, that concept around equity, that we're creating the opportunity for everyone, right. To be successful in our organization. And that we want to see the same level diversity that we see represented at some of our more junior levels or some more senior levels. And that's not , you know , and that's an opportunity quite frankly, for FIS and we're not alone in that many organizations, right. Are finding that, you know, that when they look at their pipeline, you know, they need to be focusing on how do we bring that pipeline on up on and continue to develop. And , and so, you know, things around mentoring and sponsorship, you know, are very critical , um , for us , um, you know, around that as well. Um, you know, we're also doing a lot of things around , um, thinking about , um , things like , um, uh , creating that visibility for, you know, for different groups of individuals across the organization. That's part of the reason why we have our inclusion networks. We want to give that space, that safe space for people to see others and , and know others who look like them in a time, like now where we're in virtual. Oh my gosh, that's so critical, right. To have that connectivity. And to know that you've got a community of people who are similar to you, right. Um, out there , um , in the organization. And so our inclusion networks are so critical to creating that visibility for people to see others and see senior leaders now who look like them in the organization , um, as well. And then , um, you know, going back again to our communities, you know, we're doing a lot around, how can we be engaged in our communities? Not only in terms of getting our colleagues engaged in it so that they feel like they're , they've got a purpose and an opportunity to give back, but also how are we changing the face of our community? So again, I mentioned the point about financial inclusion. I'm not gonna beat that. Um, you know, to , you know, again, you a home for everyone, but , um, we also focused on STEM diversity, right? So when we talk about the FinTech Academy, I'm looking at, you know, the Georgia tech can incredibly diverse student base, right. Um, and we need to bring more diversity into FinTech because at least exactly what you're talking about with that financial literacy, that wellness or whatever, if we get more people who are diverse, who are out there and able to tell that story, right. If we can amplify your blog, your teaching, right. And others can see people like them who are in this profession. I mean , think about the change that we can make. Um, and we know that when we look at STEM diversity, particularly where we're lacking, so sorely with women, with blacks and Latin X talent, it's just, it's just , um , if we look at the numbers that are coming in, the matriculation, the graduation, it's just dismal and we've got so much we can do there . Yeah .

Speaker 2:

And it's a bit of the relationship that we had that FIS has with us as the Georgia FinTech Academy, which, you know, really, and the Georgia FinTech Academy at its core is a workforce diversity initiative. Uh , but a lot of, I mean, I'm trying to continue to get this word out because 70 to 80% of the students that are engaged with our program, the Georgia FinTech Academy are from underrepresented groups and, and 50% , uh, from a gender standpoint are , uh , female.

Speaker 3:

That's amazing. I think it's like 20% and the tech percent professional women, like, it's like so much, so you guys are already doubling it.

Speaker 2:

And so I know as we, and we had these conversations or I have these conversations with the global leadership team at FIS and , um, and the HR leaders and they are in , they're so excited about it because they see that by further engaging with our, our , uh, program, they're going to get, you know , more folks like Elisa , the gain of getting interested in NFIs . Um, and that is going to help , um , you know, continue to change the mix , uh, in material ways for the, for the company.

Speaker 3:

I agree. That's what I said . One point, one more point about what we're doing and then go on the next thing again, going back to our clients and partners. So , um , some of the other things that we're doing externally know around, again, looking at products and services, which I've already touched on, but we're also thinking about what are the investments that we're making other minority owned FinTech startups. So how can we help others who are trying to get the space? Um , so we've made some come in , you know, a multi-million dollar commitment around some of the things we want to do there. Um, and then also around the, the partners that we're working with, our suppliers and our small businesses that we're working with to ensure that we're enabling, you know, those diverse constituencies as well. So, you know, I guess that we're looking at it from all the angers and angles possible. We recognize we've got to do it internally. We've got to do it externally. Um, and I'm very proud of the work that we're doing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. It's really fantastic. Um, and it just seemed feel has just felt to me like inclusion and diversity is half , is in some ways kind of having its moment in society right now broadly. I mean, I just think like just last week , um, then the NASDAQ exchange , um, you know, which is this huge , uh, exchange for supporting , uh, capital markets, you know, more, it's a bit more focused on technology , uh, the NASDAQ, but they came forward and made a proposal to the sec, the securities and exchange commission seeking approval that for any company before any company could be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, they would need to have , um , a certain number of leaders , um, that are , um, of a certain gender, racial, lb , uh, LGBTQ kind of makeup on their boards, which , um, you know, and , and I'm assuming I'm , I'm sure the sec will approve that proposal, which will be remarkable, right.

Speaker 3:

And wellbeing . It's definitely something that we're seeing an uptick in , um, investors and shareholders and our clients. I mean, it is , uh , I, you know, it's, it's amazing. I think you're right. I think it's , this is a really put us in, in , um , the spotlight around what companies are doing in this. Um , I think the standards to your point are going to continue to rise . I think it's going to be , um, it's not just, you know, you know, people who say, Oh, you know, it's the right thing to do, and yes, it is. Right. But it's got to become business imperative. Like it's not even going to be an option anymore. Right. To do it. It's not a feel good initiative that, you know, I think for so many companies that to kind of got into this, it's going to be the price of admission for so many things. Um, so I agree with you and I hope a resolution like that passes for yeah .

Speaker 2:

Uh, I mean, in there, there is return data return on investment data or return on equity data. That's backing up these changes and you've seen, you know, ESG funds, I guess, you know, it's the phrase, but ESG stands for environment, social governance. Um, and you've, you've seen where , um, you know, entities companies that are in these funds that are showing commitments and these various areas are outperforming essentially outperforming those that do not. Uh, and so there's , uh , there's, there's doing it for the right reasons. And then, but there's also doing it for financial reasons that are, that are becoming measurably observable. That's

Speaker 3:

Correct. That's actually correct.

Speaker 2:

Um, which is pretty exciting. Um, I know I , I can talk with you all day about this topic is just, I've learned, I've learned, I learned something more every time we talk and , uh, the , uh, but we, we should begin to wrap up and, and as you, as frequent listeners know, we , uh, we always kind of come back to current events and , um , key current debts from a FinTech industry standpoint that have caught our attention. Um, so I'll let you lead us off, Jennifer. What's kind of caught your attention , um, in the news in the last week. Uh ,

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so like many people, you know, obviously I'm watching all these things around the Corona virus. Um, you know, when I think about it from an inclusion diversity standpoint, we know that many that have been impacted by COVID are part of some of our most disadvantaged communities. Um, and so, you know , um, you know, I know that, you know, Congress, I'm still waiting. I don't, I don't think I've got the appreciable thing yet. I'm looking at the news, but I know Congress has , you know , right now is contemplating this second stimulus, you know , checkup day, you know, to the tune of about $900 billion. Right. Um, and you know, and that's going to make some impact on many people, you know, in terms of getting those PPE funds and some much needed checks, right. To those, those , um, Americans that are, you know, struggling. Um, so that's for top of mind for me, for certain,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, me too. And I know , um , FIS has played an important role with , um , in supporting this , uh, various with various operations and technologies, helping clients get those , um, PPP funds , um , out the door to , um, to, to, to their clients. Um, Elisa , what about you? Um, any news that's caught your eye?

Speaker 4:

Yes. It's a Lana based company. Actually. They facilitate merchant acceptance of crypto payments. They applied for, they filed an application with the OCC for a national bank charter. So they want to be a bank. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I'm excited about that. I'm glad you brought that up. Um, Steven pear , their founder CEO , um, is someone I know they've been engaged with the FinTech Academy. Um, you know, it's a , it's a FinTech company. That's now I think just over eight years old. I mean, and , and Bitcoin's only 10 years old or 11 years old now. And so, you know, you think they , um, they saw the , uh , uh , importance of that cryptocurrency in the beginning and started , um , providing a capability for merchants to , um, be able to , um , take Bitcoin as payment for services , um, going back over eight years now. So it'll be neat to see them , um, get , uh, get OCC approval and become a bank and see what they do with that is that as they get that , uh , legal , um , regulatory support , um, I guess the last thing I would add in terms of news was that , uh , Paysafe out of London, out of the UK, they're a , uh , also a merchant acquire. Um, they do about a hundred billion , um, in payment volume every year, mainly in e-commerce and , and the gaming industry, they announced that they're going to , um, uh , uh , acquire a significant amount of additional capital through a step special specialty purpose, acquisition, Corp SPAC , um, deal with , uh, Foley transcend mean acquisition court. Number two, I love the SPAC names . I know there's all these, every Spec's got these, you know , very interesting names. Um, and, and, you know, we could do a whole podcast on specs and what's been happening there and how they're supporting the further evolution of the FinTech industry, but that deal is going to get done, which will , um, give Paysafe evaluation of around $9 billion , uh , which is significant. But I guess for context, like FIS, Global's a $90 billion market cap , uh , today , uh, anyway , um, and I know we'll be larger in the future, so , um, that's a little bit of a wrap on the news, but , um, we'll, we'll leave it there. Uh, Alisa , thanks so much for being part of the discussion today. Jennifer, it's just been wonderful to have you , um, I'm looking forward to , uh, our additional , um, inclusion and diversity related events we're doing together in the spring , uh , and thanks for your ongoing support of , uh, the Georgia FinTech Academy. Uh, and so thanks to you both and have a great holiday.

Speaker 1:

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