Read More About DTCC's D&I Journey
The strongest performing companies have diverse management teams, diverse employees and diverse points of view. At DTCC, we’re committed to building a workforce that reflects the global nature of our business and the communities we serve. But just as important, we must promote inclusion so that all of our colleagues have a seat at our table to share their unique perspectives and insights to drive strong business results.
— Frank La Salla, DTCC President and CEO
Many companies talk about the importance of developing women leaders, but DTCC's Advancing Women Leaders (AWL) program is proof of how to do it right.
When Tosin decided to return to work after a near 10-year hiatus she applied to the DTCC ReEmerge program and has not looked back.
In an interview with DiversityQ, DTCC’s Keisha Bell, discusses attitudes towards race in the workplace since the death of George Floyd.
We have launched many initiatives to encourage male employees to be allies with their female colleagues. One of our MDs, Val Wotton, speaks about his role as an ally to his female workplace counterparts.
DTCC's commitment to work-life balance enables Jyothi to carry out her responsibilities at work while ensuring family time.
If you’ve experienced anxiety as you were heading to a meeting, panicked that you’re underprepared or don’t even belong, you’ve experienced “imposter syndrome.”
We connect with Kevin and Derek who recently took over as co-chairs for the DTCC ERG, PRIDE+.
Lonnie Hancock, a graduating African American college student, shares his rewarding DTCC learnings and experience.
Hear from some of the DTCC team
A Talk with DTCC's Diversity and Inclusion Leaders
Human Resources Online
Left to right: Justin (keyboard), Nick (guitar), Mark (lead vocal, yellow jacket), Chris Walsh (drums), Sal Canzoneri (bass guitar), Lydia (front backup singer), Esther (behind Lydia), Rob (guitar, in the back), Jeff (front backup singer)
"Where words fail, music speaks" - for the OneIT Band of DTCC's Technology department, this rings true on so many levels.
Thanks to the band's original member, Jeff Nitka, and his a cappella parody version of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" that he sang to Lynn Bishop, then head of Application Development (AD), in an elevator in late 2016, the band has a strong voice at DTCC. Lynn loved the performance and asked Jeff to perform it at her next town hall.
Seeing Jeff's performance prompted Mark Cucarese to envision an entire band that could promote strategic, educational, and inspirational messaging to all of AD in a new and significant way. Staci Berkson, who managed Lynn's town halls and is now the OneIT Band's manager, partnered with Mark to look for other musically talented IT employees to form the band. Since then, Lynn has welcomed the band to play at each of her town halls.
The band's core members are:
• Mark Cucarese (on lead vocals),
• Nick Allison and Rob Chastain (on guitar),
• Sal Canzoneri (on bass guitar),
• Chad Richman (on drums),
• Jeff Nitka, Lydia Midwood, Esther Spencer, and Rachel Tyler (backup vocals)
• Staci Berkson (Manager / Agent)
• Alexa Davisson, Jim Hraska, and Pete Kelly (additional contributing performers)
The band usually plays a wide range of songs from 80s rock, reggae, funk, R&B, country, and pop/rock genre ranging from the 60s to the present.
Back row left: Marc Masri, Michael Estes, Dave Reese (non-DTCC, drums), Justin (non-DTCC, keyboard), Sal Canzoneri, Mark Cucarese, Rob Chastain. Front row: Tommy LaRocca (non-DTCC, trumpet), Alex Mahoney (non-DTCC, sax), Jeff Nitka, Staci Berkson, Lynn Bishop, Dave Buksbaum
The band's proudest achievement to date was raising $30,000 for veterans' support organizations by performing at the fundraiser event “Wall Street Rocks” at The Cutting Room in Manhattan (a well-known nightclub which has hosted artists including Sting, Sheryl Crowe, David Bowie, and Lady Gaga).
Like any band, the OneIT Band has its share of challenges, ranging from finding time to learn and practice the music during their free time, finding space on site to store band instruments and equipment, and band members leaving. Thankfully, their love for music, their shared sense of purpose, their enthusiasm for the unique opportunity to contribute to the organization, and strong support from their management have made the band's bond and commitment stronger and its members closer.
Back row: Alex (non-DTCC, sax), Mark Wetjen (ex-DTCC, drums), Justin (non-DTCC, keyboard), Tommy (non-DTCC, trumpet), Sal Canzoneri, Jeff Nitka, Rob Chastain, Mark Cucarese, Gordie Sands (ex-DTCC, backup singer). Front row: Barry Tuch (French horn), Samantha Wiltshire (backup singer), Darrin Wang (one-time backup singer), Winston Harvey (one-time backup singer), Wilson Chea (one-time backup singer), Lynn Bishop, Nick Allison, Staci Berkson, Bea Mitchell (one-time backup singer, tambourine)
DTCC's deep-seated D&I culture has helped the band cope with its challenges. They strongly attest that when employees feel accepted and appreciated, and when their creativity is encouraged and applauded, employees are more than happy to give their best to contribute to the company's success.
A colleague recently went car shopping with his daughter, and each had a list. His daughter knew the make and model she wanted, along with the engine and interior features. My colleague's list had a different focus: airbags, blind spot warning system with automatic emergency steering, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and technology to stop the car from drifting in a lane. Did I mention he calls himself #overprotectivedad? Personally, I think he's just being a dad.
But he never worries about being teased, and it's hard to argue with his logic. This safety technology he insisted on was designed to give a driver extra eyes, increased awareness of what's going on around the vehicle and the tools to help prevent or quickly correct a potentially fatal mistake. Any longtime driver knows that your mirrors only reflect to you what is in their line of vision. These other systems augment the mirrors and help to show what you might otherwise miss. Why not use them?
I thought of my coworker and his daughter because, more and more, we rely on the concept of increasing awareness within organizations to highlight things we need to see but might miss, especially when addressing diversity and inclusion. The more we develop our programs, the more knowledge we are mining from the experience and building a greater sense of vision and awareness.
It goes beyond the concept of "walking in someone else's shoes" because you can change shoes, but you can't change where you come from, your culture or the lessons you learned as a child or young adult. You can, however, continue to learn from new experiences and different behaviors or customs, which in turn allows you to adjust the way you work and otherwise interact with people.
Earlier in my career, I was fortunate to spend nearly a decade in Asia and, coming from Canada and then New York, I saw firsthand how cultural mores could impact the way we interact with each other. It wasn't a matter of one culture being right and another wrong, they are just different. To build our teams and conduct business successfully, my colleagues and I had to figure out how to get the best from each other, which meant being sensitive to differences and learning from each other.
Then and now, it's important to encourage colleagues to constantly step away from long-held beliefs and rethink their approach to everything from one-on-one conversations to how to run a meeting. Remember, in a loud room filled with employees trying to solve a problem, the very quiet person who refuses to call out or dive headlong into the fray may have the best solution. That employee, however, may not speak up unless encouraged because some people will not interrupt a leader or want to bring attention to themselves. In some cases, that may simply be due to someone's personality or upbringing. But it also could be that the person's culture may frown upon what could be perceived as aggressive or discourteous behavior, or he or she may feel disconnected from the larger group because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other factors.
In the same way, we know there's no guarantee that every extrovert will be the best sales person or relationship manager but our unconscious bias might lead us to believe this is true.
In fact, it's hard to separate yourself from what's been ingrained in you from an early age based on the unique circumstances of your upbringing. It's human nature to rely on an approach that you believe to be sound, something that has worked well in the past and feels comfortable and familiar. It's a normal reaction, but it can be misguided or inappropriate because that same muscle memory also can limit the ability to find the best solution and even be detrimental to an organization trying to compete in a global marketplace.
The most effective leaders understand the cultural and social norms of the people on their teams and operate from that knowledge base. If encouraging participation in a group setting doesn't work, seek out people afterward and let them know that their views are welcomed and encouraged – in fact, you need their help for the team's creativity.
Leaders also need to slow down and avoid making reflexive decisions based on their muscle memory. Instead, pause and think about other possible options. Ask for input to make sure you're paying attention to the nuances, whether it's running a meeting, managing a project or even writing a job description. If diversity and inclusion are priorities, take your time to consider issues holistically and make good decisions based on facts – not your perception of the situation. Colleagues can help clear a path as well, especially in group settings, by quieting a room to give others a chance or by turning over a speaking opportunity to someone who may be overlooked.
At my company, we've launched aggressive D&I initiatives to create a workplace where every employee can actively contribute to our success while feeling valued and respected. We're calling 2020 the Year of Allies and Sponsors, meaning employees equally commit, actively participate, seek to open doors of opportunity, and hold themselves and others accountable to achieve parity and fairness.
I'm proud of the progress we're making in all our D&I programs, but like so many other companies across industries, we still have a long way to go and need tools to drive home our message.
That's why we've been proud supporters of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion since its founding. This year, we participated in a special initiative, Check Your Blind Spots, a mobile, multimedia experience that will stop at our offices in Dallas. The program offers a wide array of interactive activities and information sessions that will teach our colleagues how to recognize the nuances of "blind spots" or unconscious bias, and provide them with techniques for overcoming bias and cultivating inclusive behavior.
Unconscious bias is a fact of life. It doesn't make you a bad person, but rather human. The key is recognizing this frailty because rejecting or ignoring the idea that we all may have some biases ultimately stifles personal growth and professional development.
Just like my colleague and his daughter buying a new car, if we have tools to uncover and increase our awareness about unconscious bias, let's use them. Chances are, they'll show us something that we haven't seen before to make us better people and stronger organizations.
Derek West, Chief Compliance Officer, DDRL
Kevin Cox, Associate Director, CFO Chief of Staff Team
Kevin and Derek lead our newly rebranded ERG, PRIDE+, which exists to foster a fully inclusive workplace enabling LGBTQIA employees to realize and bring their authentic selves to work thereby enhancing DTCC's reputation as a leading-edge employer in workplace diversity and inclusivity and partner in the LGBTQIA communities.
June was PRIDE+'s sponsorship month. With the year's theme 'Year of the Allies', PRIDE+ partnered with PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) for two impactful training workshops around how to be an “advanced” ally for everyone and what we can do more specifically for our transgender community. PRIDE+ also hosted an internal panel discussion event with DTCC employees sharing their own “ally” journeys and experiences.
My Role at DTCC
I am the Chief Compliance Officer at DDRL, the European Trade Repository. I have been with DTCC in the London office since January 2017.
My Biggest Business Accomplishment to Date
I produced the Quebec Derivatives Act, a modern regulation for the oversight of Quebec's derivatives markets.
My ERG Journey
I began my career in Toronto, an exceptionally diverse and socially liberal city. After moving to Chicago, I got involved in my company's diversity committee, which provided me with the resources I needed to better understand and navigate American culture which I found surprisingly different. I joined DTCC's PRIDE+ ERG as a leader because I feel strongly that DTCC is an inclusive, caring company whose senior management value the diversity that a broad range of employees bring to the workplace. I want to help DTCC encourage lateral and upward mobility for LGBTQ team members and increase LGBTQ recruitment globally.
I am PRIDE+...
I am PRIDE+ because I have been so fortunate in my professional life to live proudly and openly as a gay man, enjoying a successful career that I hope provides a positive example for colleagues who are unsure about being open themselves, or who worry about their gay child, brother, aunt etc.
This past March, I reached the five-year milestone at DTCC. My tenure here involves a few roles across the CFO Organization at the Jersey City office. I started working in the Financial Planning & Analysis department as the finance business partner to GCRO for three years. Last year, I transferred to Corporate Procurement Services in a project management role assisting with the Oracle Procurement Cloud implementation. Since then, I transitioned to a role with the CFO Chief of Staff team as Sr. Program and Change Manager, overseeing the execution of the CFO Organization's portfolio of key initiatives and strategic priorities.
During 2018, I was part of one of the core squads for Financial Systems Cloud Migration (FSCM). I helped design and build the new budget and forecast planning system, while training my CFO peers on the new system and best practices. This project provided me an opportunity to showcase my accounting and finance knowledge, strong problem-solving skills, and dedication to meeting deadlines. With our FSCM initiative, we received the silver award for DTCC's Quality and Process Excellence in 2018.
I joined PRIDE+ for the opportunity to make a difference. Being a part of the ERG has allowed me to expand my DTCC network outside of the CFO Organization. As the co-chair, I have not tried to “recruit” my friends to help lead the ERG; I wanted to work with people in different departments as I know it is important to have the PRIDE+ mission and its messages reach all corners of the organization. At the same time, I believe being an active PRIDE+ member alone has opened many doors for me and hope it will for others.
I am PRIDE+ because I value equal rights and respect of one another in the workplace. I know from experience that only once you open-up to those closest to you, you are able to reach the greatest potential in your career. So, I want everyone to feel comfortable with the people they work with 8+ hours a day. I want everyone to realize and bring their authentic selves to the workplace.
As a 21-year old black male, this has been a challenging number of weeks. As the stats rolled in, it became apparent that my community was bearing a disproportionate blow. I had to take a step back and examine my own situation - and not for obvious reasons. For all intents and purposes, my circumstances have been quite the opposite. While many in my community in the Lower East Side have been on the frontlines as nurses and essential workers, I have been able to work remotely. When my university moved to a distance learning model this spring, I faced no concerns over technology and internet access. As my graduating friends agonized over lost job offers, I took some courage in my consecutive years of intern experience and robust network as I looked ahead toward what is certain to be a wildly competitive and volatile job market when I graduate in December of 2020. Though I could take pride in the position I’m in, instead candidly it has brought with it a level of guilt. Why and how is my experience so glaringly different from what is being experienced by so many? Apart from having a mom with sky high standards, and a clever way of always getting you to meet them, I think it’s the optimal mix of two things: access and networking.
It is often taken for granted that everyone has the same set of information about the world when in fact, many college grads, in general, feel uncertain or entirely lost about how to turn their degrees into fulfilling first jobs and careers. Networking is the key to learning more about the paths you want to take; diving deeper into areas that sound fascinating, while being driven forward by the areas less fitting than we’d initially hypothesized. It is the means by which I have been able to go from initially majoring in media studies to ultimately majoring in economics. However, there is another piece crucial to seeing success: access. Access is the critical piece in realized mobility and is the work of partnerships like PENCIL and DTCC. This is where networking meets opportunity. In this space, the individual can communicate their skills and personality to someone who can either offer or refer someone to an opportunity.
This is the caveat: if you’re an individual from a low-income community, on average, it is likely that you do not have the robust familial or social network that often facilitates this access in higher-income communities. For folks who come from where I come from, the undeniable polarity in lived experiences makes networking an impersonal and even dehumanizing concept that can induce a lot of anxiety. This leaves communities even worse off the in face of very real social and systemic hurdles in education and in the workplace. Organizations like PENCIL tackle these challenges head on by partnering with firms like DTCC who introduce students of my background to the corporate world early on. It came with challenges but those have all been outpaced by the benefits I’ve realized from my affiliation with PENCIL and my time at DTCC.
My PENCIL journey began back in 2015 as a Fellow in the latter half of my junior year of high school. At the time I was coming to understand myself as solely a creative and DTCC seemed like an imperfect “match” for me. My understanding for the term financial services didn’t surpass that which I needed to maintain my Chase high school checking account and the terms “clearance and settlement” seemed extremely left field in the context of securities. This was the context for my interview with John Dalrymple, CFO Chief of Staff. I had studied just about every site I could find to break down clearance and settlement into layman’s terms and I was at least partially ready to answer the tough questions. Instead, John and I talked about my interests; spending our time together to highlight the things that I’d enjoy doing. I spent that summer and the duration of my senior year drafting CFO comms and updating policies and procedures; I got to use the writing skills I had come to take great pride in. In the process of reviewing Treasury and Financial planning P&P, financial services became less foreign and this led me to take a business course my freshman year of college. It has been at several points of uncertainty that my access to professionals – with technical and career knowledge - served as the bumper to ricochet me toward the winning chute. It was what ultimately facilitated my ability to transition from CFO to interning with MarComm in the Solutions organization where I’m on the Media Production team. Simultaneously, through networking and availing myself to new info, I ultimately swapped my film major for economics and have cultivated an interest in the data space.
At DTCC I gained a space to learn more about myself; my likes, dislikes, and newly found in-betweens that I otherwise would never have explored. I feel confident in my ability to take ownership of my professional life. Other non-profits that DTCC partners with and sponsors, such as Girls Who Code and Year Up, are more examples of ways the firm is intentionally making space for underrepresented groups; enabling us to gain a point of access. I don’t take these experiences and the advocacy of Susan Cosgrove and the PENCIL team here at DTCC for granted. We gain a space to grow and refine the skill of networking, to conceptualize a very foreign reality, and in doing so to have full confidence in our ability to one day claim a seat at the table of our choosing.
Adrienne During, DTCC Jersey City
Director, AML & Sanctions Compliance
One of my passions in life is sharing my culture, celebrating what makes each of us unique and creating learning opportunities for people of different backgrounds. That's why I joined the Black Organizers and Leaders of DTCC (BOLD) employee resource group shortly after I arrived at DTCC in 2012. Today, I am proud to serve as the global co-chair of this group.
Part of my responsibility as a person of color and a leader in the organization is to make sure that the people who follow in my footsteps have the resources to succeed.
BOLD is a forum that provides professional development resources for our members and allies, and helps promote a culture of inclusivity at the firm. The group offers insight into the black cultural experience at DTCC and builds greater awareness and community through keynote speakers, cultural events and giving back to the community.
I'm passionate about this mission because, when I was a student at Cornell University and during my years practicing law, I oftentimes found myself in the position of being the only black woman in the room. Because this is part of my everyday experience, I've gotten used to it, but I made a pledge to myself long ago that I'd do everything in my power to support the next generation of diverse leaders.
BOLD allows me to fulfill this personal commitment. It also is a great way to serve as a mentor to provide guidance to my colleagues looking to advance in the organization. In fact, one of the most successful events we've hosted is our black executive networking event, which gave our members access to meet with black executives across the firm. Through those conversations, and more, we get to hear about how these leaders rose to such prominent positions. It's very powerful to spend time with someone who comes from similar cultural background and can relate to your personal experience.
Being part of the BOLD ERG has given me a better understanding of our organization and ways to use my leadership skills to help others. I take great pride knowing that I'm making a difference for the next generation of diverse female executives.
Miglena Lazarova, DTCC London
Director, GTR Client Services, DTCC Solutions
Many companies talk about the importance of developing women leaders, but DTCC's Advancing Women Leaders (AWL) program is proof of how to do it right. I'm one of 16 women participating in the two-year career development program, and it has been one of the most empowering experiences of my professional life.
This program is designed to unleash the potential of women leaders. It's already made a difference by helping me identify my development areas and create a tailored action plan.
One of the best parts of AWL is that we test theory in practice and learn from experience. As a group we created a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. We act as advisors, friends and advocates to help each other develop and succeed. We are also responsible for key deliverables aimed at helping women reach their potential at DTCC.
In addition, we're assigned an executive coach, who works with us to create a leadership vision and career plan tailored to our individual needs, along with an executive sponsor, who helps us build our internal networks and provide organizational exposure. For many of us, this is the first time we've had a formal program for personal development. Through these and other initiatives, we've had the opportunity to meet with senior management and key internal stakeholders, as well as take on different assignments. Last year, for instance, I was asked to deliver closing remarks at an event featuring female members of our Board of Directors. While that was an experience I'll never forget, meeting with our Board members later that evening, gave me insight into their own career journeys and great advice about how I could blaze my own trail in the future.
What I've learned more than anything else in the program is that I need to be authentic and show my colleagues exactly who I am. It's been incredibly empowering personally and professionally. And I have DTCC and the AWL to thank for that.
Reflecting on our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) journey through 2019 and 2020 it has been an unforgettable journey to get where we are today with many accomplishments.
I'm incredibly proud of the collective progress we made in 2019. Together we made significant strides in elevating our commitment to D&I – a feat that could not be accomplished without the dedication and contributions of each of you who had the courage to share your thoughts with me and my team, helping us redefine what D&I means to DTCC. To each of you who have joined us on this journey – thank you!
Together we made significant strides in elevating our commitment to D&I – a feat that could not be accomplished without the dedication and contributions of each of you who had the courage to share your thoughts with me and my team...
There's no doubt that we have a very special culture here at DTCC. Our steadfast focus on D&I as an enabler of our business strategy continues to position us for success and has helped to elevate DTCC as a great place to work. In fact, our employee engagement score for D&I sentiment remains strong at 80% and ranks 7 points above the industry benchmark. Externally, our ongoing focus to create a workplace environment that values diversity and inclusion has been recognized for seven consecutive years by the Human Rights Campaign, which has named DTCC one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality. We've also earned recognition by Forbes on the top 500 list of America's Best Mid-Size Employers for the last two years. And as I write this, we have just been informed that we have also been recognized by Forbes as one of the Best Employers for Diversity 2020.
While it's great to receive this external recognition, it's equally important to have the support and engagement of our leadership to set the tone and expectation for the organization. I'm proud that Mike Bodson and members of the Management Committee are fully supportive of our D&I strategy and are leading our industry forward by participating in events on the topic and publishing thought leadership on this issue.
Our 2019 accomplishments have laid strong, foundational elements for growing and advancing diverse talent globally, in a systematic and coordinated manner.
This year marks the second consecutive year in which the number of women promoted to Executive Director has exceeded the number of men promoted to the Officers' rank. Additionally, the promotion of three women to Managing Director in December marks the first time more women than men have been promoted to the Managing Director level in one year. In total, by March 2020, we will see a 3% increase in the number of women officers compared to the same time last year. While we are strongly encouraged by this progress, we now must amplify our efforts in order to progress further.
We know that without engagement and commitment at all levels, diversity and inclusion does not move forward. As we advance our BPNs into Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) we are working to develop a new structured framework aligned to the D&I strategy and will be announcing shortly what this means to the organization.
It's also important to recognize that at the heart of what we are trying to accomplish is parity and fairness – by creating a workplace where every employee can actively contribute to the company's success while feeling valued and respected. We are proud of our allies and supporters who are actively involved in moving the needle on D&I, but our continued success depends on more of you, in larger numbers.
2020 is the Year of Allies and Sponsors. To be an ally and sponsor means you equally commit, actively participate, open doors of opportunity, put yourself on the hook and hold others accountable.
I am confident in our ability to deliver our D&I mission together and I look forward to continuing our journey together.
Mark Vercruysse, DTCC Jersey City
Managing Director, Head of Global Relationship Management, Sales and Solution Delivery
Sometimes two people can look at the same thing and see it very differently. That was a lesson I learned when I participated in DTCC's Men Advocating for Real Change (MARC) Leaders Workshop, a program designed to help create an inclusive workplace and teach the importance of becoming strong advocates, sponsors and allies.
People often fall back into their preconceived biases. It's hard to stop that kind of thinking, but you have to force yourself to do it.
This was the first training of the sort that I've had, and I can honestly say that it's truly changed the way I look at things. During the workshop, about 30 colleagues and I–both men and women–participated in a series of exercises about gender and racial awareness. While I thought I already knew a lot about my co-workers, I quickly realized there were many sides to them that I had never seen. What I learned is that it's one thing to be taught by workshop leaders, but another to hear directly from your colleagues and to be challenged by their different points of view and experiences.
For example, we held a frank conversation about the way African-American parents teach their children how to interact with police. As a white male, I've never had much of a reason to think about this in detail. When my boys were young, I simply told them to be respectful and courteous to law enforcement. The experience of some of my co-workers, however, was very different. They had to stress to their kids to always keep their hands visible on the steering wheel or to avoid making sudden movements. Listening to their stories, I began to understand their concerns and why they felt the need to do this.
This was just one of many times during the workshop that I had to confront my own lack of awareness or preconceived biases. It was difficult and uncomfortable, but the experience was eye-opening. And it taught me the valuable lesson of questioning my own biases by asking myself, “If I was a person of color, how would I react in this situation?”
After the workshop, I began to apply the lessons I learned by rethinking my approach to recruiting talent. Because most people tend to associate with others who are like them, we often take too narrow a view of candidates when hiring new employees. So instead of focusing solely on subject matter expertise in the future, I'm now committed to finding people with diverse viewpoints or untapped potential. Our long-term success as a company requires us to hire the best and brightest, but how I define that moving forward will be different than in the past. And I have no doubt I'll build an even stronger team because of it.
If you've experienced anxiety as you were heading to a meeting, panicked that you're underprepared or don't even belong, you've experienced "imposter syndrome."
Imposter syndrome is a type of anxiety that results in an almost catastrophic thinking style about your abilities, a fear that you'll be exposed as a fraud at any moment. It often manifests in group situations like meetings but can affect an individual's overall work experience, even slowing career advancement.
But there are strategies to combat and overcome those feelings.
Those strategies were the focus of a virtual talk marking International Women's Day and Women's History Month, sponsored by DTCC's employee resource group: WINS – Women's Initiative for Networking and Success – and hosted by its global co-chairs Gemma Balasingam, a Client Services Administration Director and Chelsea Bardhan, Associate Director and Organizational Change Management Lead.
WINS Executive Sponsor Valentino Wotton, Managing Director in Derivative Services Product Management, kicked off by admitting he was among the 70% of workers who have experienced impostor syndrome. The first in his family to attend University, he had a determination to succeed. "But it also filled me at times with a sense of a fear of failure."Conquering these feelings, he realized, was essential to developing his career.
Talking about these experiences is essential, said keynote speaker Kim Meninger, because it normalizes them. "And unfortunately, despite the fact that there's a lot more conversation about imposter syndrome these days, when we feel like this, we still often feel like we're the only one," she said.
Meninger, a certified development leadership coach and founder of the Massachusetts-based coaching firm 'Your Career Success,' explored what's behind these feelings and offered practical strategies for managing them in everyday life.
Identifying imposter syndrome
While anyone can experience imposter syndrome, it's common for someone who feels like an outsider – perhaps the only woman or person of color in the room or a new team member. "I can remember thinking to myself; I'm one question away from this whole house of cards collapsing," Meninger said, recounting her own experience early in her career. "It's only a matter of time before everyone realizes I have no business being in this room."
These internal statements of self-doubt are characteristic of imposter syndrome, she said, a phenomenon first researched in the 1970s in studies involving female graduate students. But, while initially identified as a problem for women, further study has shown that anyone can experience it.
It's common for high achievers to feel overwhelmed and underprepared, particularly during career transitions like joining a new company or getting a promotion. For instance, they imagine that their success is the result of luck and timing rather than their skills and hard work, Meninger said. The dread that they will be "exposed as a fraud" can be overwhelming.
"When we step outside of our comfort zone into a new space, we are more aware of what we don't know," Meninger said.
At a telling moment during the discussion, Meninger asked participants to post "Yes" in the chat if they've ever experienced these feelings. The result was a cascade of "Yeses."
"We always think that everybody around us has it all figured out. Everybody around us is so much more confident and more competent than we are," Meninger said. "But if you look at that chat, it's a great reminder that we are not alone. You're in excellent company even beyond this chat."
The fallout from these feelings
Problems come when self-doubt does more than producing a moment of panic at the threshold of a conference room. Among the ways that imposter syndrome can manifest are:
Moreover, imposter syndrome can result in physical and emotional stress, overwork, burnout, anxiety, and depression on an individual level. It can also hamper professional relationships, which can be career-limiting and reduce personal and professional satisfaction and motivation.
It can impact an organization, from higher health care costs to greater absenteeism, higher turnover, and lower productivity. Most importantly, especially for businesses that depend on knowledge workers, it can limit the creative power of a team when its members are afraid to speak up and share their ideas.
How to fight back
Meninger acknowledged that factors like systemic bias and racism, and other structural barriers create barriers for women in the workplace that can contribute to the feelings related to imposter syndrome. But while those environmental issues are essential to address, she said, individuals also need tools to navigate the experience.
"I hope that we will continue to make progress and that someday we will have psychologically safe, inclusive environments for everybody that will minimize the experience of imposter syndrome," she said.
"But until then, we need support. We need to understand that this is what's happening, that we are not crazy, and that there are tools and resources we can access to more competently navigate our work environments."
She offered several strategies that women can put to work immediately.
A growth mindset
Meninger encouraged the participants to adopt a "growth mindset" that promotes lifelong learning, including learning from mistakes.
"When you have a growth mindset, you're less likely to experience imposter syndrome," she said. It enables women to identify skills they might learn or areas where they can build their expertise, rather than seeing inadequacies.
Simply adding the word "yet" to the end of a negative thought can be powerful, she said. Rather than "I don't know anything about this topic," the thought becomes, "I don't know anything about this topic yet."
Finally, she said everyone can contribute to creating an environment that minimizes the threat of imposter syndrome by fostering psychological safety. That can mean making more inclusive meetings by providing materials ahead of time so participants can prepare, recognizing those who don't speak up and asking for their contributions, and heading off those who interrupt or try to dominate.
"Meetings are where so much of the action happens and where so much insecurity comes up," Meninger said. "These are things we can all do to show up for one another." Managers likewise can make sure that new hires have the materials they need to get up to speed. She also suggested "celebrating mistakes" by having team members regularly share their missteps and what they learned from them.
"What that does is it normalizes that we're human, we all make mistakes, we don't need to hide it," she said. "And we can learn from each other's mistakes as well."
When Tosin decided to return to work after a near 10-year hiatus, she tapped into her old network and reached out to Phil Anderson, Executive Director for Diverse Talent Management and Advancement, who urged her to apply to the ReEmerge program.
They both made the right call.
The ReEMERGE program is designed for women and men who want to restart their career after a break of two or more years. DTCC offers two programs, one non-technical (HR, Risk, Finance, Operations) and one technical (application development, cyber risk, information technology) that include 12 and 16-week internships respectively. Through this experience participants get re-oriented to working, learn DTCC’s culture and understand exactly what the company does and how they’ll fit in.
The program is especially appealing to women like Tosin, who stepped back from working to raise her children. She always planned to return to the workforce – one reason she earned her MBA while raising two toddlers – but being away for close to a decade, a lot about the workplace changed during that time. Tosin recalls feeling hesitant when DTCC reached out to her in May 2020 to interview for the ReEMERGE non-technical internship as a Business Analyst in the Risk department. With a background in client-facing roles in investment banking, she was concerned that her skills were a mismatch for the job.
“When I saw the job description, my first instinct was that I could not see what in my background was right for this opportunity,” she said. “I didn’t see what value I was going to bring to the table.”
But as she spoke during the interview about her experience, it became clear that she was being listened to. She also liked that she didn’t have to explain the gap in her career. And what really caught her attention was when Risk Business Solutions director Brendan brought up the topic of work-life balance.
“Even from the initial conversation, there was reassurance that I was coming into a firm that was going to fully take into consideration my life and my personal circumstances and make sure that worked into my transition and my career relaunch,” Tosin said.
Brendan, a father of three, said his wife took time off work and then had difficulty returning to the workforce, so he was excited about hiring through ReEMERGE.
“The more I researched the program, the more I realized it was really a mutually beneficial program for both of us,” he said.
The supportive aspect of the program goes beyond the initial 12 to 16-week internship program. Each ReEMERGE participant is assigned a mentor, has focused training in needed software and business essentials, and gets group coaching and exposure to senior management through assignments and projects.
“That support has been great, especially relaunching in a remote setting,” said Tosin, who officially joined DTCC in September 2020 after completing the ReEMERGE program and transitioning into her role as a business analyst.
She hit it off well with her mentor, who provided someone to talk with who was not her manager but could help orient her to DTCC and expand her network, for instance introducing her to the BOLD employee resource group (Black Organizers and Leaders of DTCC). The connections helped make it easier to become part of the company while she was working at home in her “bubble.”
Brendan said the structure of the initial part of the program provided a road map that enabled Tosin to be successful, which was especially important while everyone was working remotely. “We were able to benchmark her success by the roadmap and slowly engrain her within the DTCC culture,” he said. “We were able to bring her along and continuously build on the foundation that we developed.”
It also helped Tosin stretch her limits. “Whenever it was time to be assigned the next level of responsibility or just push me out there, they did more,” she said. “I haven’t had to ask for those opportunities.”
To make it work, Brendan said, “We really doubled down on communication.” They spoke multiple times each day and brought a variety of colleagues on to meet Tosin remotely. “We did our best to enhance the communication that was available to us and make sure that she was getting a chance to integrate.”
This focus on clarity and communication helped Tosin to see how she fitted into her role.
Today, Tosin is an ambassador for the ReEMERGE program.
“I’ve been in the shoes of candidates who are looking to make that transition and relaunch their careers,” she said. “I’m speaking with those who have an interest in joining DTCC and sharing my experience and being part of the recruiting process.”
She is also staying connected to new ReEMERGE participants, helping to make sure the process is as seamless as possible for them. “I’m just sort of giving back to the program,” Tosin said.
Brendan is also a champion for ReEMERGE. “What I really enjoy about DTCC is that I feel like they truly act with empathy,” he said. Being able to bring experienced workers back into business and tap into their skills and knowledge is invaluable, he added. “I would absolutely do it again.”
Studies have found that programs like ReEMERGE, that offer supportive workforce development and training programs can play a key role in closing the gaps for women – and at the same time help DTCC reach our goals for increasing diversity and inclusion in the workforce. There has never been a better time than now to find out more about DTCC’s ReEMERGE Program roles:
Claude Gorham Jr., DTCC Connectivity Team Lead, Connectivity, Activation and Production Support, shares how DTCC makes him feel valued in a way he's never experienced before in his professional career.
When I leave my house each morning, I don't need to hide who I am before I walk into work. I get to be exactly who I am, and I know I have the support of my company and my colleagues. The policies are very clear here, which is important, but it's the actions we take as a company as well as the partnership of my colleagues that make everyone feel accepted.
Creating the LGBTQ Business Professional Network (BPN) was a big step. Like many firms, we have a lot of support for our Pride Month activities, but what makes DTCC unique is the feeling of inclusion. And the BPN plays a big role in fostering and promoting that culture. As a former co-lead for the BPN for many years and a current member of the BPN's Steering committee, I've taken on the responsibility to give back to my co-workers by increasing knowledge of LGBTQ issues, sharing our experiences and creating a safe place for people who aren't out at work or who just want to be part of a positive and vibrant community.
One of the most impactful partnerships we've developed is with PFLAG, who has helped us foster an inclusive environment by reaching out to the straight community and holding onsite workshops to talk about matters that are often avoided in the workplace, such as transgender issues. There was a lot of uncertainty when we began this outreach, but our colleagues were true to their DTCC values and we were able to break down barriers and build deeper relationships among employees. I'm truly appreciative that I have the opportunity to work here and can act as a force for positive change.
For many patients with terminal illnesses – as well as their families, Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham, UK provides vital medical services and crucial emotional support. Christine L. of DTCC Wrexham is one of several DTCC employees who volunteers at Nightingale House as a way to support the local community.
"In our Wrexham office, employees annually choose three charities they would like to support. Our ability to select a cause that is near and dear to our hearts is important because we're passionate about neighbors helping neighbors.
There's nothing better than giving back to the community where we live and work.
"We consistently selected Nightingale House Hospice because the work is so meaningful and relatable to our own personal lives and families. Some of our employees have had close relatives who have spent time at Nightingale and they often talk about the high-quality support they and their families have received from the caring staff.
"We do many things to make a difference at Nightingale House and this provides our employees with the opportunity to give back and allow other families to see their loved ones pass away peacefully. During 2018, for instance, we sponsored the annual Nightingale House Color Run, and we also supported two UK-based employees in fundraising activities such as bake sales, pub quizzes, pool tournaments and raffles so they could take part in a once-in-a-lifetime trip to trek The Great Wall of China in support of Nightingale House.
"I love that I get to join with my colleagues to support such a wonderful organization like Nightingale House Hospice as part of my job at DTCC. There's nothing better than giving back to the community where we live and work."
I love that I get to join with my colleagues to support such a wonderful organization like Nightingale House Hospice as part of my job at DTCC. There's nothing better than giving back to the community where we live and work.
Nightingale House Hospice provides free palliative care services to local patients and their families, along with bereavement support for children and young people.
As a financial technology company, it's only natural for us to embrace innovation. That includes ways we can become more energy efficient and reduce our environmental impact. Our Workplace Design and Services team has created programs focused on making our operations more sustainable and is committed to identifying ways to use fewer resources like energy, water or paper to minimize our environmental impact and reduce our operating costs.
Our Workplace Design and Services team has created programs focused on making our operations more energy efficient.
In 2018, we continued to research and implement leading technologies and practices, including replacing and upgrading end-of-life equipment, transitioning to LED lighting, and conducting a monthly analysis on our power usage to identify and address better ways for conserving energy. We also pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification – a widely used green building rating system – or the local equivalent at all our global offices, ensuring we use leading sustainability-focused products and processes in our global facilities.
In addition to our internal workplace programs, we also support environmental sustainability and conservation through various initiatives globally.
After two years with the company, Seiji K., Relationship Manager at DTCC Tokyo, accepted the responsibility to be the site's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ambassador. Seiji welcomed this new role and the opportunity to try something new and make a difference. Fast forward five years later, his CSR involvement has allowed him to make a positive impact on his community, the industry and his team. Seiji shared how being a CSR ambassador for the Tokyo office has helped him appreciate and participate in volunteerism, and how the role was instrumental to discovering a hidden passion.
Q: Why is community involvement important to you?
Seiji: Participating in activities where I can give back to the community is something I deeply value. I especially like doing volunteer work that involves children – such as teaching them computer and language skills that will help them in their studies and in their future careers.
By being involved in various CSR activities at DTCC, we have helped our team embody the values that are important to the company. As a global firm, we deeply care about the communities where we operate and CSR opportunities enable us to give back. It also provides the local team with a chance to further strengthen the unity among colleagues.
Q: How does being involved in the community benefit DTCC's clients?
Seiji: Because of our CSR activities, we have the opportunity to meet and work with CSR ambassadors from other financial firms. This also affords the opportunity for us to tell them more about our business. For example, DTCC's Tokyo office has been participating in financial industry-established marathons since 2015. It's always good to partner with like-minded firms that prioritize making positive contributions to the community. Through our various CSR activities, we are able to strengthen valuable relationships with our clients because of the special bond we have in participating and organizing such events.
Q: Is there a certain charitable organization that you've worked with that you find most fulfilling?
Seiji: We work with an organization that provides free education for children in junior and senior high school who come from low-income or single-parent families. The organization offers free English language lessons to children, something that I believe is important in this interconnected world. I've been a part of that program for two and a half years, and this is outside of the CSR ambassador responsibility that I have for DTCC.
Last summer, I organized a student visit to our Tokyo office to educate them about all that we do and provide coaching with their English language skills. The event was such a success that we'll plan another visit in a few months.
Q: How has community involvement helped you in your personal and professional growth?
Seiji: As a CSR ambassador, I have been able to gain skills in planning, communicating and organizing CSR events and activities for our Tokyo office.
At the same time, the role has made a significant impact on my life in ways that I never considered just five years ago. Volunteering has helped me become a better and more confident leader, while making a difference within our community. I'm grateful for this opportunity the company has trusted me with. It has helped me acquire new skills and discover my passion for giving back.
James A. La Russo, GOCS Securities Processing Lead Specialist and CSR Ambassador, DTCC Jersey City, started his CSR journey three decades ago. He was identified by Jill Considine, former CEO of DTCC, as one of the 16 employee members in the first Diversity Council within DTCC, which eventually led to the formation of DTCC's Business Professional Networks (BPNs). At that time, he was already involved with United Way, and now has been a United Way Captain for more than 30 years.
Moving forward to 2019, La Russo is the only original member of the Diversity Council still with DTCC. Apart from United Way, he also formed strong relationships with the Hudson Pride Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County, the Hudson Shelter, the Imperial Court of New York and God's Love We Deliver. He has also hosted annual events at DTCC such as the DTCC Breast Cancer Awareness event and the Pancreatic Cancer event which raised lots of funds over the years. To date, La Russo has helped raise and matched funds in DTCC over the years with Annual Pride kick -off fundraisers and Celebration for the Youth Prom and Scholarship Fund of Hudson Pride Center amounting to more than $50,000.
In this article, La Russo talks about his CSR journey at DTCC.
Tell us about your CSR story?
I've been the Treasurer for the DTCC LGBTA BPN for the last seven or eight years, doing all the budget work and hosting events. At the same time, I'm the CSR Ambassador for DTCC Jersey City and we organize a lot of CSR events such as fundraisers and blood drives. We also bring in speakers to educate audiences in diversity training.
One of the events that we support annually is the Hudson Pride Center, specifically their youth program. This is an initiative very close to me because when I was growing up there was never a safe spot where we can be our authentic selves. I did not attend my own high school prom back then because there was no safe place for us or organizations that would welcome and accept us. Hudson County's youth program creates that safe place for teenagers to be their true selves without worrying if they'll get harassed. For five or six years, we have been supporting their program by organizing fundraisers and hosting annual prom events for their youth who can't go to their own proms because of fear of being bullied or lack of money. It's important for me to create that safe place for the youth in my community who need it.
We also organize office tours for them and they get to see that regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, a steady and successful career in finance is possible. We provide them with a chance to dream big – go to college, have a career – and an opportunity to be who they want to be or be better.
Because of the work that we do, I know I'm securing the future of my community by empowering the youth of today.
How has your experience in CSR helped you advance in your career?
Not only with my CSR ambassador experience but being an active participant in employee activities in general has tremendously advanced my career. I got to know more people in the organization since I'm their go-to person when it comes to setting up events in the Jersey City office. I've learned how to organize events and overall, I'm a better communicator because of it.
Why do you think employees should take the time to volunteer?
Volunteering is very rewarding. I'm very fortunate to have the support of DTCC to make smart use of my time in order to give back. When you give back, the rewards are much better. It gives me a lot of happiness and joy, knowing that I helped somebody and do something that will positively impact our community, now and in the future.
Clare Alcantara is a Capacity Planning Manager for ITP and Automation and has worked for DTCC in Manila for five years. From the beginning, Clare has led her colleagues at DTCC Manila to give back because she believes that a small act can have a big impact.
Clare has had a life-long commitment to volunteerism and has been heavily engaged in high school and college which led to the Manila CSR Ambassador role she has held for the last three years.
During that time, Clare and the local CSR team has expanded the volunteer activity options of Manila employees (blood drives, tree planting, back-to-school programs and child sponsorship activities, etc.); all of which has created a strong sense of community and purpose.
This was best exemplified earlier this year when DTCC Manila employees cleaned and refurbished the school Clare attended when she was a child. Seeing the generosity, kindness and enthusiasm of the Manila employee base to give back to her former school was very rewarding for Clare.
Clare was the beneficiary of volunteers and sponsors throughout her academic career and has always felt the responsibility of giving back and has been financially supporting a child for three years through an organization named World Vision.
Very recently, Clare received the great news that the family of the child that she has been supporting is now self-sufficient. She attests that it's very humbling and fulfilling to know that they are now above the poverty line because of the small contribution she made over the years.
Clare explained that the joy of giving back is a two-way street and has given her so much in return. She believes and is a witness that generosity, kindness and enthusiasm can ripple out and positively impact the people in the community and beyond.
We empower the Asian community at DTCC by providing opportunities for professional development and cultural awareness in support of our diverse community, by uniting our voices and embracing our differences.
BOLD leverages the vast diversity of the Black diaspora and its allies to create community, empower and develop others and inspires leadership excellence among its members and in support of DTCC's mission and goals.
We provide a platform for sharing cross-generational perspectives through which individuals spark innovative ideas, develop new skills and business knowledge, expand their networks and advance their contributions to DTCC.
We leverage the uniqueness of the veteran community's leadership, experience, and commitment to enable professional growth while strengthening local veteran partnerships.
We foster a fully inclusive workplace enabling LGBTQIA employees to realize and bring their authentic selves to work thereby enhancing DTCC's reputation as a leading edge employer in workplace diversity and inclusivity and partner in the LGBTQIA communities.
UNIDOS (UNITED) in creating an inclusive work environment, promoting professional development and empowering our leaders to drive DTCC's business objectives.
To create an atmosphere of acceptability where those with a spectrum of abilities and caregivers are provided with an environment where they can thrive, assist each other and contribute to the success of the organization.
WINS elevates the voices of women across the organization, enabling their professional success while promoting a diversity of perspectives and an inclusive environment that drives change to minimize the gender gap and support resilience.
For the eighth consecutive year, DTCC achieved a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index and was recognized as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
DTCC named one of the Best Employers for Diversity in 2020.
DTCC are proud winners for the second year of Forbes' America's Best Mid-Size Employers. Ranking among the Top 500 companies across America, we take great pride in our dedication to our employees' happiness and success.
DTCC President and CEO Michael Bodson joined more than 450 business leaders who pledge to work together to address diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This commitment is driven by a realization that addressing diversity and inclusion is not a competitive issue, but a societal issue.