SFNet Presents Results of Groundbreaking Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Survey on June 28

June 22, 2022

By Eileen Wubbe

Members of SFNet’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Committee will discuss the results of SFNet’s much-anticipated, groundbreaking DEI benchmarking study of the secured finance industry.

SFNet’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Committee’s mission is to build diversity, equality and inclusion within SFNet member companies, industry and community. The Committee, formed in 2021, seeks to identify the issues and create awareness of the challenges, provide resources for improvements and demonstrate sustained measurable positive outcomes throughout our SFNet community.

The DEI survey, in conjunction with Rutgers University and underwritten by the Secured Finance Foundation and Wells Fargo, provides a first-ever comprehensive perspective on the current state of diversity, equity and inclusiveness among SFNet member companies. The outcomes reveal insights and tools to drive continuous improvement and provide a baseline to mark improvements in hiring, retention, advancement and increasing engagement of diverse professionals within our institutions and the SFNet community.

An SFNet members-only event, business leaders and their direct reports who have the ability to effect change, as well as any member who has an interest in this important topic are strongly encouraged to attend.  The presentation will also include the opportunity for interactive Q&A.

“This landmark study is part of a systemic approach SFNet member companies are taking to strengthen our ability to fulfill our purpose of putting capital to work,” said Richard Gumbrecht, SFNet CEO.  “The mindful practice of applying DEI principles needs to be embedded in how we do business.  Shedding more light on where we are today in that journey is an important step forward.”

Betty Hernandez, CCO, SLR Business Credit and chair, SFNet DEI Committee, will serve as moderator. Panelists will include Richard Gumbrecht, CEO, Secured Finance Network; Terry Keating, CEO, Access Capital, Inc.; Lizzy Diaz-Ortiz, JD, CRCM, vice president and senior advisor, Governance & Inclusion, BMO Financial Group; Nicole N. Richardson, distinguished professor, Professional Practice, Rutgers University; and Courtney Hazzard, Data Services Consulting, Rutgers University.

“The findings of this survey in many ways confirmed what we thought going in, but surprised us in a few,” said Terry Keating, CEO, Access Capital. “One thing that is clear to me, the industry and its member companies are actively working on change and shaping a more balanced and equal future for our most important resource: our people.”

Sample survey questions include asking if a company values diversity, invests time and energy into building diverse teams and whether a company takes active measures to seek a diverse candidate pool when hiring. 

"We will be discussing the results of the first ever DE&I survey conducted by SFNet.  You may be surprised by some of the results," said SLR Business Credit 's Betty Hernandez.  "Each SFNet member firm is on its own journey towards diversity, equity and inclusion.  I encourage everyone to listen in for an honest discussion of where our industry is on this journey based upon these survey results.  Are we on the right path towards not just diverse hiring practices but also equity and inclusion?"

Hernandez and Gumbrecht will kick off the presentation with an introduction on how and why the survey was conducted and how many company and employee surveys were received by firm type. Richardson and Hazzard will dive into methodology, Hernandez will focus on key findings for diversity, Diaz-Ortiz will focus on equity and Keating will focus on inclusion.  The presentation will end with recommendations for the next steps the industry should take. Examples of organizations that are working towards DE&I best practices will also be discussed.

“Attendees can expect to learn about the inaugural diversity, equity, and inclusiveness survey results for the secured finance industry,” explained Diaz-Ortiz. “There is positive news about diversity and inclusion, and, while not surprising, some interesting insights about equity. Key findings for each will be shared with recommended best practices to implement and implications for companies and the industry at large.”

Did you know?

SFNet committees offer members the opportunity to engage with colleagues, delve into special interest areas, and develop knowledge around specific topics. New in 2021, each committee has the option to curate articles, data and news that speak to their specific focus. The DEI Committee is the first to create their library. Click here to access the robust list of articles and resources. To register for the webinar, please click here.

Thank you to our sponsors Otterbourg P.C., Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP and Wells Fargo.

About the Author

Eileen Wubbe 150x150
Eileen Wubbe is senior editor of The Secured Lender magazine and TSL Express daily e-newsletter.