¡Hola Diversity!

In today’s ever changing global marketplace diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do.

One of the many great things about Discover is our diversity. Over the years our company has been a place where we appreciate diversity and practice inclusive behaviors. We have accomplished this naturally because it’s the right thing to do and because our values have always emphasized the importance of respect. Diversity coupled with inclusion not only support our core values of ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘respect’ they also help drive innovation which results in the industry-leading solutions our customers need.

Diversity and Inclusion is an integral part of Discover’s business strategy and is focused on four key components: employees, customers, suppliers and communities. Each component is led by a senior leader, with overall Executive Sponsorship from David Nelms, our CEO, the Executive Committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.

Because Discover is committed to the success of its customers and employees, we created Employee Connection Groups (ECGs) as an exciting way for employees to drive Discover’s overall Diversity & Inclusion strategy, contribute to Discover’s overall business priorities and engage in experiences that enhance both personal and professional development.

“Employee Connection Groups have been tremendously successful as they have helped us not only enhance business results but foster an inclusive environment, and promote company success in the marketplace and community,” said Jill Zimmerman, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, Development and Diversity.

The Employee Connection Groups provided me with the opportunity to lead HOLA (Helping Organize Latino Achievement). The HOLA group has provided me the forum to meet and work with a diverse group of employees from across the organization that share my passion for Latino culture. The group also provided an opportunity to showcase and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in a unique way.

On September 27, 2012, HOLA members hosted an event at Discover’s Riverwoods, Illinois campus to celebrate the multicultural diversity of Latino heritage through food and music. HOLA members engaged the local community by working with Junior Achievement and a local high school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Students helped in preparing the food that was served at the event by incorporating some of their own traditional family recipes. The celebration also featured professional Latin dancers that showcased many dances including Salsa, Cumbia, Merengue, Bachata and Cha Cha Cha. The event helped to educate employees on Latino culture while also making a difference by donating to the No Mas Hambre, an organization that fights hunger.

Employee Connection Groups are not only a means of celebrating cultures, but can also be leveraged by employees and their managers for career development opportunities. My experience at Discover is a testament that ECG activities and events focus on supporting the Corporate Diversity and Inclusion strategy, developing group members through education and broadened experiences, enhancing business results and promoting the company’s success in the marketplace and community.

Gabriela Rodriguez-Niebres is National Deposit Products Marketing Manager and Chairman of the Employee Connection Group ¡HOLA! at Discover Financial Services