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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

Melva Nelson is a Client Services Representative and has been at Equity Trust since 2005.

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, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce, Melva appreciates being able to enthusiastically contribute and provide ideas, concerns, and awareness of and for all associates.

Sarah Pearce

Sarah Pearce (She/Her) is a Client Experience and Product Manager, and oversees Equity’s office in Sioux Falls SD. She has been at Equity Trust since 2013.

Sarah is thrilled to be a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce. 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.

Katie Plush

Katie Plush (She/Her) is the Manager, Employee Relations & Benefits and has been with Equity Trust since 2017.

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, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce, as it provides her the ability to learn more about associates’ backgrounds and perspectives to better support them with their work experience.

Jerome Davis

Jerome Davis is the Vice President of Sales at Equity Trust, where he has been inspiring and motivating the sales division to reach new heights since 2013.

Jerome’s passions include revenue generation, developing leaders, and family. He feels it is important to contribute to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce because everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation deserves a voice and an opportunity to succeed.

Will Fitch

William Fitch (He/Him) is a Relationship Manager and has been at Equity Trust since 2022.

William works closely with advisors partnered with the organization to deliver superior customer service to the clients they manage. He works to create and ensure an environment which everyone can be and feel included, represented, supported, respected, and valued as a person. Being a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce provides additional opportunities to improve and enhance the diverse and inclusive culture already established at Equity Trust and help support it’s continued excellence.

Taylor Straka

Taylor Straka (She/Her) is an Operations Associate for the Account Services and Transfers team. She has been with Equity Trust since 2022.

Taylor has had the pleasure of working for and with some amazing people; and is always willing to help where needed with a smile on her face. She is excited for the opportunity to spread the knowledge learned while also helping the community and those around her. “LET’S GO ETC!!!”

Reshawna Sheffield

Reshawna (Shawna) Sheffield (She/Her) is an Operations Associate for the Account Service & Transfers team. She has been with Equity Trust since 2022.

Shawna started at Equity Trust as a temp and loved the moral within the company. She joined full-time in 2022. She always lends a helping hand when needed and loves the idea of coming up with creative ways to include and illuminate the differences of one another in a positive way. She believes it is important that every employee feels acknowledged, and heard, no matter the position held at Equity Trust. Shawna feels that the work being done by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce is the right step in making that happen.

Brian Lynch

Brian Lynch (He/Him) is an internal auditor that has worked for Equity Trust since 2022.

He graduated BGSU a year prior with his MBA in accounting and is excited to be a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce. He hopes to make a positive impact in the lives of everyone in the organization and is committed to ensuring that everyone in the workplace feels valued, respected, and included.

Lizzette Lopez

Lizzette Lopez (She/Her) has been with Equity Trust since 2020 as a Client Services Representative.

Lizzette’s role here at Equity Trust consists of working with internal departments to best service the needs of Equity’s clients. Lizzette represents the Equity Trust employees who have children with disabilities. “I’m a proud mother of an amazing autistic son. It is wonderful to be part of such an impactful team.”

Nicole Kubik

Nicole Kubik (She/Her) is an Institutional Services Processor in the Precious Metals sector and has been with Equity Trust since the spring of 2023.

She believes in intersectionality, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce is a great committee to grow intersectionality outwards. Nicole is proud to be a part of DEI in a company where employees have a voice and actively get involved in communities. She looks forward to working alongside DEI, and their amazing members, while making a continued impact in and out of ETC. It’s important for role models to be diverse, and not a monolith.

Lorenza Dwight

HR Generalist

Lorenza is very excited to be joining the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce! She is passionate about fostering an inclusive environment where all associates feel heard and valued. Lorenza started her career with Equity in talent acquisition and has always valued recruiting in order to grow a more diverse, well-rounded, and imaginative team.

Nick Betancourt

Compliance Associate

Nick is a believer in the transformational power of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and is excited to work with the DEI Taskforce to highlight the strength that comes from bringing everyone’s voice to the table. Advocacy and allyship are both important parts of his life. Nick is proud to help further the culture of inclusion and acceptance and to champion an environment that celebrates the unique backgrounds, skills, and experiences of everyone at ETC.

Sacha Bretz

Team Lead, Client Services

I am a graduate of the University of Florida with a BA in Sociology where I studied a broad series of topics, most notably about race, ethnicity, and minorities, as well as family, and gender. I was introduced to several narratives that were beyond my personal experiences and opened my eyes to other worlds existing within and alongside my own. My motivation to foster equity and inclusion comes from my own diverse background. There are spaces where I feel completely safe and others where I genuinely fear for my well-being. I am eternally grateful to have a community that includes a supportive family and group of friends. I can contribute to my company, my colleagues, and our clients by creating a safe space with compassionate listening and performing professionally no matter what our differences may be.

Ellie Eitnear (she/her)

Ellie is a Salesforce Administrator and has been with Equity Trust Since 2023.

Ellie has a history in LGBTQ+ advocacy and is excited to continue that through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce. She is passionate about restructuring inequitable systems to ensure an equitable playing field for everyone, with a focus on intersectionality. No matter the diverse aspects that make the parts of our whole – gender identity, sexual orientation, race, disability status, income level, etc. – she seeks to ensure every person is able to procure a significant place at the table.

Grace Oritz (she/her)

Has been on the Human Resources team at Equity Trust since 2024.

Grace is new to Equity and excited to join the DEI Taskforce! She is passionate about creating a sense of belonging for all employees, as she has seen the importance it holds for overall work environment satisfaction! She is dedicated to enhancing company culture through inclusivity, and embracing the rich diversity of backgrounds that each of us brings to ETC.

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.

International Women’s Day

Participated in the Cleveland and Sioux Falls PRIDE parades

Participated in the Cleveland and Sioux Falls PRIDE parades

Participated in the Cleveland and Sioux Falls PRIDE parades

Participated in the Cleveland and Sioux Falls PRIDE parades

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