In support of the advancement of human rights for LGBT+ people, Scotiabank TT has embarked on an advertisement campaign featuring people in the local community.
The multi-channel campaign, which was launched in mid June, features Scotia employees, members of the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/ questioning, and others) community and allies.
“When I can focus on opportunities instead of barriers, when I can celebrate who I love just like everyone else, when I know/feel like I belong, I can be my whole self,” is the message narrated by members of the community.
Football player and LGBT+ activist Kenwyne Jones concludes by saying, “Inclusion begins with all of us. We all need to embrace and respect each other because when everyone can be their whole self, we all thrive.”
Viewable on local television stations, Instagram and Facebook, the ad has generated many positive responses. Related ads are also available in the print media.
Commenting on Instagram, duaneswift said, “Never thought I’d ever see something like this in TT from a corporation. Great work.”
Le_nel congratulated the bank for being a leader and building inclusivity, koonztara said they respected and admired the stance and message, and gabzwil was impressed by the bank’s progressivess, saying it was necessary for TT.
Kezdband said, “Thank you @scotiatt for providing a safe space to be myself!”
Cindy Mohammed, Scotiabank’s communications and corporate social responsibility manager, told Business Day the campaign promotes the bank’s commitment to “building an inclusive work place and fostering communities where LGBT+ people can thrive.” Scotiabank TT is a subsidiary of Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia.
The bank has also donated to the LGBT+ human rights NGO Outright Action International, and collaborated with PrideTT for its Generation Gap initiative. The initiative is a holistic youth development programme that offers structured character, professional development, and mentorship to 30 participants between the ages of 17 and 25.
Gayle Pazos, senior vice president and managing director of Scotiabank TT, said, “We support all groups in the community, including the LGBT+. We are deeply committed to supporting our communities and believe that the long-term success of our bank and the world around us are fundamentally connected.
“Between 2020 and 2021, we demonstrated our continued commitment by investing in projects focussed on community and youth development, education, health and environmental sustainability, impacting the lives of approximately 78,000 individuals and 50,000 youth through our work with 600 NGOs, schools and communities.”
One important step in providing this support is employee awareness and training.
Mohammed said the bank has several resources on diversity, inclusion and belonging available to employees. This includes guidance on unconscious biases to help employees acknowledge and check their biases to ensure everyone is treated with respect. It also has a curated collection of diversity and inclusion courses offered on LinkedIn Learning for employees globally.
Stephan Lalonde, Scotiabank TT’s human resources director, said, “To be respectful is to be aware and mindful. We encourage use of inclusive terminology and language. Using words that make others, including our customers feel included is how we respect and acknowledge their identities.”
Pazos added that the bank strives to create an inclusive culture where opportunities are created for all, that all individuals are respected for who they are, and differences and similarities are embraced.
“Our most important investment is the one we make in our people. Our customer focus starts with taking care of our employees-ensuring that they feel valued.”
The bank believes that by empowering employees to bring their true selves to work, they can perform at their very best and reach their true potential. It believes this helps deliver an excellent experience to customers and maintain a pipeline of capable and experienced leaders.
Lalonde said, “Workplaces that want to attract and retain the best possible talent must consider that the workforce is the most diverse it has ever been. Diverse and inclusive workplaces are proven to be more successful.”
That was one of the reasons why, in April, the bank announced that its employees’ insurance medical benefit was extended to same-sex partners, making Scotiabank the first in the industry to do so for employees.
It has also established employee resource groups. They provide employees with opportunities to learn, grow and communicate, and provide valuable insight to management about important issues related to diversity and inclusion.
Extending the ideas of diversity and inclusion further, the bank is an enabling and inclusive environment for employees with disabilities, employees are welcomed to observe their religious customs, including clothing, and as an advocate for women, 53 per cent of its senior managers are women and there is 50 per cent female representation at the vice president and above level.
In addition, since announcing its benefits for employees with same sex partners, some of the bank’s “colleagues in corporate TT” reached out for guidance on implementing similar benefits.
Pazos said, “This is an important topic and we hope our action in support of inclusion inspires other companies to follow suit. While our work to build a truly inclusive organisation is never complete, we are pleased with the progress we have made.”