Dialogue about increasing diversity and developing leadership within the banking industry was the focal point of a forum jointly presented in September by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Richmond and St. Louis. 

The two-day gathering, “Banking and the Economy: A Forum for Minorities in Banking,” took place at the Charlotte, N.C., branch of the Richmond Fed. In addition to offering updates on the industry and the economy, the forum provided professional development and networking opportunities for senior-level and middle-management bankers. 

“The Federal Reserve values opportunities that allow us to build strong connections with national bankers while providing industry and professional-development knowledge,” said Chantell Garrett, senior stakeholder engagement advisor at the Kansas City Fed. “Programs such as this assist in developing a population of underrepresented bankers as they prepare for next-level leadership.” 

Among the speakers at the forum: Deborah Elam, president of the Corporate Playbook consulting and executive coaching firm; Melissa B. Donaldson, vice president and chief diversity officer at Wintrust Financial Corp.; Ignacio Urrabazo Jr., president and chief executive officer at Commerce Bank in Laredo, Texas; Dallas Fed President Robert S. Kaplan; and Richmond Fed President Thomas I. Barkin.

The forum was part of the Federal Reserve System’s commitment to providing training, technical assistance and educational programs for the advancement and enrichment of minorities in the banking industry. The St. Louis Fed will host this forum in September 2019.

Learn more about community and economic development trends across the Tenth Federal Reserve District.