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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Equity Trust

The foundation of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work is steeped in recognizing and understanding the impacts of unconscious bias and the role it plays in the culture of our workplace. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness.

We all hold unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from our spheres of influence. It is vital that we understand this as we interact with people from all walks of life each day. At Equity Trust, we strive to celebrate our differences.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce

The purpose of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce is to develop and promote strategies for best practices specifically focusing on racial, social and gender diversity at Equity Trust. The Taskforce further serves as a platform for members to provide suggestions and challenges that relate to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Meet the Taskforce

Melva Nelson

Client Services Representative, has been at Equity Trust for over 15 years

Melva Nelson is a Client Services Representative and has been at Equity Trust for over 15 years. A United States Army Veteran, she strongly believes in justice, peace, and equality for all. During her time in the Army, Melva was able to experience working with others from a wide array of backgrounds and served as the Equal Opportunity Representative for her Unit while stationed at Fort Sill, OK. Today, she continues to encourage others to be the best they can be. As a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Melva appreciates being able to enthusiastically contribute and provide ideas, concerns, and awareness of and for all associates.

Hope Gonzales

Director of Investments, has been at Equity Trust for 24 years

Hope Gonzales is the Director of Investments and has been at Equity Trust for 24 years. Her primary role is to lead the Investments, Reconciliation, and Quality Assurance teams. She helps develop her managers, supervisors, and processors with a primary focus on our clients’ needs and the execution of their investments at Equity. Hope also supports her fellow colleagues in collaborating effectively across the organization and helping them to achieve their personal career growth. Being part of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force provides her with the opportunity to be part of an organization that supports all associates and their differences. “I believe that by having a workforce that is comfortable with individuals with different backgrounds and experiences, we strengthen the company’s culture. This positivity then starts to spread from our associates to the communities we serve, effectively pushing everyone to be more consciously inclusive in their daily lives.”

Kimberly Eisom

Investments Team Lead, has been at Equity Trust for over seven years

Kimberly Eisom is an Investments Team Lead and has been at Equity Trust for over seven years. She believes the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force “is a way the company can grow and understand the people that make Equity Trust what it is. We are not the same, but we have a common goal of working together and understanding how best to empower our associates.”

Jacqueline Bailey

Relationship Management Supervisor, has been at Equity Trust for seven years

Jacqueline Bailey is the Relationship Management Supervisor and has been at Equity Trust for seven years. Jacqueline works closely with associates throughout the organization to help her team deliver superior customer service to the relationships they manage. Jaqueline has a passion for the experience of the internal and external client. She works to foster an environment which creates a place where all can be and feel included, represented, supported, respected, and valued – her “One Team One Goal” model. Being a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force provides her the opportunity to facilitate the enhancement of the company’s climate through implementation of policies, processes, strategies, and programs that can help promote the model she believes in.

Sarah Pearce

Supervisor for Client Services’ remote office in Sioux Falls, SD, has been at Equity Trust for eight years

Sarah Pearce is a Supervisor for Client Services and manages the remote office in Sioux Falls, SD. She has been at Equity Trust for eight years. Sarah is thrilled to be a part of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. She grew up and currently lives in a very conservative area/state, and has always been passionate about ensuring equality for all genders, races, sexual orientation, preferences, etc. Sarah knew from an early age that her ability to speak in front of groups with compassion for others would lead her on a path of advocacy. She is a proud mom of an LGBTQ+ daughter, the sister of an LGBTQ+ sister, and the friend and ally of many people with diverse backgrounds. She looks forward to additional opportunities to improve and enhance the diverse and inclusive culture at Equity Trust and beyond.

Shanice Collins

Team Lead of Client Services, has been at Equity Trust for four years

Shanice Collins is the Team Lead of Client Services and has been at Equity Trust for four years. Shanice enjoys being able to make a positive impact in people’s lives, whether that be with clients or her fellow associates. Being on the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force is important to her because she believes “every person deserves to feel comfortable and safe being who they are in their place of work.” She is honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the change for a better tomorrow.

Katie Plush

Supervisor of Employee Relations & Benefits, has been at Equity Trust for four years

Katie Plush is the Supervisor of Employee Relations & Benefits and has been with Equity Trust for four years. Katie engages with associates at all levels of the organization and strives to ensure the company has an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcomed by their colleagues and leadership. Katie is excited to be a part of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, as it provides her the ability to learn more about associates’ backgrounds and perspectives to better support them with their work experience.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion guide our:

CULTURE

We strive to celebrate and champion our differences to enhance our culture and climate.
 

SOCIETY

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are valued at every level. We want our company to reflect the experiences and realities of the world we live in.

INNOVATION

Thinking outside the box to serve all communities.

 

CULTURE

We strive to celebrate and champion our differences to enhance our culture and climate.
 

SOCIETY

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are valued at every level. We want our company to reflect the experiences and realities of the world we live in.

INNOVATION

Thinking outside the box to serve all communities.

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Calendar

2021 Diversity Holiday Calendar

Bringing your authentic self to work

How do we foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Equity?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are an essential part of our culture and highlight the ways we bring purpose to our community.

We aim to embed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all aspects of what we do. We plan to achieve these efforts by continuing to build an inclusive culture that recognizes, celebrates, and values the realities and experiences of our associates, and to serve the needs of our clients by engaging with society in the markets where we operate.


Learning, Educating, and Advocating for DEI at Equity 

In 2020, we sent letters of support to our state representatives to sign the CROWN Act into law. CROWN stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” and is a law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination. This is the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists, or bantu knots.


Learning Together

Equity Trust implemented a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training that focuses on unconscious bias, microaggressions, and the relationship between privilege, oppression, and power. Associates at every level are required to complete the training and will do so annually to further increase our knowledge surrounding diversity and inclusion in the future.

“At Equity Trust Company, we believe every associate should be valued for their differences, and our goal is to ensure diversity and inclusion initiatives are a priority as we move forward.”

– George Sullivan, CEO