Their Take: Panelist Angie Ferguson’s Q&A on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Angie Ferguson
SVP, Regional HR Manager
Northern Trust

Why is D&I important to your organization?
Northern Trust recognizes the strength that diversity, equity and inclusion brings to our employees, clients, shareholders and local communities. Our focus on DE&I helps us provide unrivaled service to clients and create a healthy, thriving work environment for employees from diverse demographic groups, leadership styles and skill sets. We value and leverage DE&I to achieve superior business results.

Our core values are service, expertise and integrity. These values are foundational to our commitment to a culture wherein all people feel included, respected, supported and valued so that they can fully contribute to the success of the organization.

When we opened our Tempe site five years ago, one of our objectives was to enhance our brand awareness locally. We wanted to ensure our commitment to DE&I was central to that message. We quickly implemented all 11 of our Business Resource Councils, sponsored a military fellowship program partnering with Hiring our Heroes, and engaged with our local communities. These actions have helped us source, recruit and retain our local talent.

How does your company demonstrate its commitment to D&I?
I’m proud to say that Northern Trust has been an industry leader in DE&I for more than 30 years. We’ve been awarded multiple accolades and awards year over year for our commitment to DE&I. I would encourage people to check out our web page or the Best Companies AZ page to see a list of our awards. That being said, we are always striving to be better.

Last year, NT added “equity” in our verbiage (DE&I). We felt that “equity” was a key factor in demonstrating our commitment to removing and breaking down barriers.

We also refreshed our DE&I strategy to enhance our overall practices and align it more closely with our business goals. Our three-pronged approach is focused on: Driving Accountability, Enhancing our Development Programs, and Advancing our Culture. We’ve instituted metrics to ensure we are tracking and monitoring our progress. We have expanded our development and leadership programs with a strong focus on people of color and women. And we have launched a series of educational forums and trainings such as required Unconscious Bias training and a DE&I knowledge center that provides access to articles, books and podcasts to promote employee learning on these important issues.

In light of the unrest we’ve witnessed this year, have you changed anything about your approach to D&I?
Our strategy continues to be focused on driving accountability, enhancing development programs and advancing our culture. At this important inflection point, we have enhanced our approach to address the racial and social unrest that occurred this year.

Northern Trust closed its U.S. offices early on Friday, June 19, in honor of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

Northern Trust has also committed to spend $20 million over the next five years to reduce economic opportunity gaps created by race, ethnicity, gender and environmental and socioeconomic status that too often keep a person from achieving their full potential.

We also held a number of panel discussions, townhall meetings and small group conversations sponsored by our senior executives around topics such as racism and racial inequities. It is important to provide opportunities for our employees to have meaningful dialogue to better understand and address these topics. Our executive leadership is committed to awareness, action and accountability in the workplace.

What are your recruitment strategies?
We ensure we are appropriately networked with various diverse organizations within the community and our universities. Our internal sourcing team as well as our Business Resource Councils have generated a list of diverse associations that we engage with on networking events, hiring events, etc. And when possible, we will sponsor recruiting programs such as the Hiring our Heroes fellowship program for transitioning veterans.

We also stay focused on the day-to-day actions that can drive change. We track diverse slates at the senior levels and launched an Internal Mobility program designed to deepen the diverse talent pool. We also publish a bi-weekly DE&I newsletter to keep our internal employees informed on key job postings.

6th Annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Event

The sixth annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion event (virtual, this year), hosted by BestCompaniesAZ and Career Connectors, will take place on Wednesday, November 18, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The purpose of the event is to connect Arizona job seekers with more than 20 award-winning employers who are revolutionizing workplace diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives within their company — and are seeking diverse talent today.

The event includes a panel presentation, and In Business Dailies offers this article as part of a series introducing some of the panelists.


BestCompaniesAZ and Career Connectors’ 6th Annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (virtual) event is FREE to job seekers. Registration is required.

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