Webinar Recap: How to Be Successful in Recruiting People with Diverse Abilities

Panelists: Lissiah Hundley, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Client Fulfillment at DiversityInc; Kathleen Martinez, SVP, Head of Disability and Accessibility Strategy, Enterprise Marketing at Wells Fargo; Jose Garcia, Senior Vice President, Diversity Talent Acquisition Strategy at Wells Fargo.

During the Oct. 22 webinar, “How to Be Successful in Recruiting People with Diverse Abilities,” Kathleen Martinez, SVP, Head of Disability and Accessibility Strategy, Enterprise Marketing at Wells Fargo (No. 13 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) and Jose Garcia, Senior Vice President, Diversity Talent Acquisition Strategy at Wells Fargo, talked about their recruitment strategies.

For Martinez, who was born blind, her life’s focus has been financial independence for people with disabilities. But her work at Wells Fargo combined with life experience has helped her develop a strong recruitment strategy.

“One of the pillars that’s critical for recruiting and retaining people with disabilities is culture and how the culture embraces people with disabilities,” Martinez said. “And how our culture at Wells Fargo embraces our team members is through what we’re calling an integrated framework at Wells Fargo. And I think that’s super important because the integrated framework involves lots of different pieces of a puzzle that leads to an approach in serving people with disabilities and their companions or families with the concept of a universal design.”

Key Takeaways

  • Recruiting and retaining people with disabilities takes culture and an integrated framework and strategy
  • Support nonprofits that help people with disabilities
  • Part of creating and fostering an inclusive culture is having leadership development programs specifically for diverse people

Wells Fargo’s Enterprise Accessibility Program Office

Martinez said that one of the major ways Wells Fargo recruits and retains is through cultural engagement with employees with disabilities. The company’s Enterprise Accessibility Program Office (EAPO) undertakes and identifies projects, develops business cases and assists in funding requests to support accessibility projects that are enterprise-wide.

“We developed a strategy for the Enterprise Accessibility Program Office. It’s governed by an advisory council which includes senior leadership,” Martinez said. “But also, we have what we call a program working leader group, which involves between 30 and 40 accessibility subject matter experts throughout the enterprise that identifies and prioritizes projects that we take on on an enterprise level. The project has to impact the entire enterprise for the EAPO to endorse it and take it on.”

Wells Fargo also has a Diverse Abilities Team Member Network, which encompasses 70 countries with more than 7,600 members.

“It has played a significant role in encouraging people to self-ID, to find out information about different types of disabilities through our webinars, and also, learning about the types of services that we provide,” Martinez said.

Philanthropic effort is another major aspect of Wells Fargo’s work. Company-wide, employees support nonprofits that help people with disabilities.

“We’re very proud to support nonprofits who both develop and support people with disabilities as part of their leadership,” Martinez said. “So long in our history, people have spoken either about us or for us. And more and more, we are speaking for ourselves. And one of the values that we hold that Wells Fargo is that we support nonprofits whose leadership includes people with disabilities.”

Diverse Abilities Leaders Program

Part of creating and fostering an inclusive culture is having leadership development programs specifically for diverse people. Wells Fargo recently developed one called the Diverse Abilities Leaders Program.

“It’s based on the model: lead yourself, lead the team, lead the business. It’s a great way of also creating cohorts and a sense of community,” said Jose Garcia, Senior Vice President, Diversity Talent Acquisition Strategy at Wells Fargo.

When recruiting, Wells Fargo also looks specifically at recruiting a wide range of diverse people — including people with disabilities, racially and ethnically diverse people, women, LGBTQ people and veterans or military talent — by doing community outreach.

“It’s career fairs, job awards, all of that work of cultivation strategies that we’re doing as we look at reaching the people with diverse ability segment, and attracting that talent to Wells Fargo,” Martinez said. “We’re also excited to be able to work in the readiness space. And the readiness is to help the diverse talent prepare for careers in financial services. And you’ve heard me talk about the internship programs, the summer internships.”

To hear the full conversation with even more takeaways, listen here. For more on recruiting diverse people, career advancement and advice, visit DiversityInc.com and DiversityIncBestPractices.comand check out more webinars like this.

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