When Regions acquired Enerbank USA in 2021, more than 400 associates joined the Regions team. These associates are based in Salt Lake City, Utah — more than 1,000 miles from the nearest Regions branch or facility. The question quickly became: How can Regions welcome its newest associates and introduce them to the great company culture?
Regions’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Networks have proven to be the perfect opportunity to connect new associates to our company and culture. This year, a new DEI Network based in Utah has debuted.
“The Utah network was established with the goal of integrating our culture of inclusion and belonging with our newest associates in the most impactful way,” said Bibiana Gomez, DEI Network business liaison.
Regions’ DEI Networks are associate-led networks whose mission is to help build deeper connections, greater understanding and a stronger sense of belonging among associates. They’re organized around location, representing more than 14,000 associates across 24 markets and every business group. They’ve grown in a short time thanks to associate interest — today’s 19 networks are a far cry from the seven Regions had just three years ago.
Also new this year is the South Louisiana DEI Network. There are over 500 associates in that geography across all business groups, and the network consists of associates who are passionate about supporting Regions’ DEI mission and strategy. Regions has also recently expanded the South Florida DEI Network (formerly the Miami DEI Network) to include Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
Last year, Gomez joined the DEI Center of Expertise in a newly created role of DEI Network business liaison. She provides strategic guidance and oversight to the DEI networks by helping them shape their priorities for the year, providing coaching to the network leadership team, and ensuring they receive the support needed to be successful. Regions caught up with her recently to find out more about these networks.
Tell us — what are Regions’ DEI Networks?
Gomez: They’re groups of associates led by associates. Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and serve as culture ambassadors in our local markets. They receive strategic guidance from an assigned executive sponsor (traditionally a member of the Executive Leadership Team or an Executive Leadership Team direct report) and in-market support from their market executive leader and consumer banking executive. I provide enterprise support.
Our model is quite progressive actually — instead of organizing affinity groups (based on shared characteristics like race or gender identity) we organized our networks geographically to bring together even more associates in a more inclusive way.
What do participants get out of joining a local network?
Gomez: A lot! Networks give members opportunities to meet and engage with fellow associates from different backgrounds and business groups and to share experiences, opinions and ideas. Members can enroll in our annual DEI peer mentoring circle, where we match associates with each other based on interests. Some networks offer leadership development sessions, others have hosted career showcase events and information sessions on career resources at Regions.
Many networks host book clubs on different topics like handling difficult conversations, building confidence and leading with courage. Networks also host a variety of events and activities in honor of various inclusion observances. For example, in February the Birmingham DEI Network hosted a panel discussion for Black History Month, in March the Nashville DEI Network hosted a three-part discussion series for Women’s History Month, and for May the St. Louis Network hosted an Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Stories Worth Sharing event. The Atlanta DEI Network will host a LGBTQ+ Pride Month event in June. These events — and network membership — are open to all Regions associates.
What can a Regions associate expect when they join a DEI Network?
Gomez: Each network has specific goals and requirements regarding attendance, participation and volunteerism. There are two levels of membership: active members and advocates (or members-at-large). Active members belong to one of three subcommittees — Inclusion and Belonging, Diverse Talent or Community Engagement. Advocates engage by supporting the network events and helping raise awareness within their teams.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Gomez: Yes — I’d like to express my deepest gratitude for the local associates leading our DEI Networks, especially the 38 network chairs who lead and volunteer with such passion and purpose. They help us bring different stories, activities and events to all associates across the footprint to further foster a culture of inclusion and belonging. None of this would be possible without them. They are truly an inspiration!
Bring Your Whole Self to Work
We have a passion for creating an inclusive environment that promotes and values diversity of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sex, pregnancy, and many other primary and secondary dimensions that make each of us unique as individuals and provide valuable perspective that makes us a better company and employer. More importantly, we recognize that creating a workplace where everyone, regardless of background, can do their best work is the right thing to do.
OFCCP Disclosure: Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans