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RBS Multicultural Network meets Eric Holder, 82nd US Attorney General

Simon McNamara, RBS Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Sponsor of the RBS Multicultural Network, recently hosted an event in discussion with Eric Holder, the first black US Attorney General. They discussed career, ethnicity, diversity and even a little bit of politics. At the event, Eric Holder shared his wisdom and experience with attendees from the RBS Executive committee and RBS Multicultural Network. Simon McNamara blogs about his experience meeting Eric, a BAME role model, and why diversity is so important to RBS.

It was a privilege to meet Eric Holder and listen to him share insights from his life and career journey. As a high profile BAME role model who has reached the pinnacle of his profession, it was a fantastic opportunity for colleagues to learn from someone who can inspire and motivate us to help build a more inclusive bank where everyone can thrive and be themselves.

The ambition to make RBS more multicultural and diverse is something we’re incredibly proud of, and something that we take very seriously. We want to be a bank that reflects the customers and communities that we serve. It’s important that we’re taking steps to improve the ethnic balance of our organisation and that we continue to value the contributions that our employees make when they bring their beliefs and experiences to the table.

Eric spoke candidly about his experiences in the corporate world and gave invaluable insight into what he believes will help us to meet our targets. He also stressed the importance of mentoring, and overcoming unconscious bias, both things that we are focussed on.

We were the first bank to put in place ethnicity targets – setting ourselves an ambitious target to have 14% non-white colleagues in our leadership population by 2025, and we’re already making good progress against this. We’ve also been asking colleagues to be 'colour brave, not colour blind' to encourage conversation to help break down barriers and unconscious bias. Last month our CEO, Ross McEwan, led a conversation with colleagues to discuss the importance of becoming a more ethnically diverse organisation to help colleagues understand why we have targets and what we're doing to reach them.

We’ve focused our efforts on initiatives such as our reciprocal mentoring programme, something that our CEO, myself and several other members of the Executive committee take part in. We also participate in cross-organisational mentoring with organisations ‘Business in the Community (BITC)’ and ‘Involve’ and have introduced a number of additional development opportunities specifically designed for our non-white population so that we can reach employees at every level of the organisation, in order to reach our ethnicity targets.

There is no doubt that becoming more ethnically diverse plays a key role in helping to change and improve culture at RBS. We’re making good progress towards becoming a bank truly reflective of the communities that we serve and a more ethnically diverse organisation, but we know we can do more.

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