April is Celebrate Diversity Month and our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are part of Schwab’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive environment. GLOBE is one of Schwab’s ERGs and was formed out of a drive to celebrate our cultural differences and bridge the gaps between employees, clients, and communities. We interviewed two of GLOBE’s national chairs, Raquel A., and Priyanka P., to hear more about the value that GLOBE brings to the firm and our employees, and to them personally.
What is the mission and vision of GLOBE?
Raquel: GLOBE was founded in October 2019 because there were several groups saying “We would like an ERG for the Mediterranean’s or for African individuals,” as well as other countries and nationalities, and these requests came at the same time so we decided we should build an international and multicultural ERG that supports everyone.
Not only are we looking to support those that would consider themselves international, multicultural or an ally, but our goal is also to educate and get other employees interested, and maybe even give them the opportunity to rethink their views about something.
People shouldn't be afraid to share their culture and identity and where they come from, it should be something that's at the forefront of a conversation. On the client facing side, it is also a way to better understand the clients that you're working with. The way they value money, where they want to put it, and how they manage their account, might be different than what we have come to understand as a domestic American. There needed to be something here at Schwab – a space, a platform, for people to do that, and to network with other people as well.
Priyanka: I look at myself as a global citizen, having lived on three continents, and I say citizen loosely - I'm still an immigrant. But traveling and living at these various places, I realized that there is so much similarity, it's just a matter of learning about it. So, for me, when GLOBE was established, it was a platform where I was from the globe, not from a part of the globe.
Being the co-chair of our Austin chapter gave me an opportunity to give back and learn about the various cultures of our employees. If a certain scenario is presented, I can take a step back and think about their values, their beliefs, their assumptions, because of the culture that they come from and then react to it. I'll give you an example: When COVID was really bad in India, someone reached out to me and said, “Hey, how's your family back in India? How are things?” And I thought, “Wow, somebody is taking an effort to identify where I come from.” So that was a good example of how GLOBE is helping people to learn more.
What kind of impact do you feel Globe is making on its members/Schwab employees?
Raquel: There's been a lot of education. I've gotten countless emails from people that have said things like, “Wow, I knew absolutely nothing about Croatia and now I feel like I can connect to my coworkers who are from there so much more.” It provides a fun environment for people to make new friends. I think GLOBE really dives a little bit deeper into those personal connections and really connects people to form strong relationships with each other.
I also think a lot of our employees have found GLOBE to be a really great place to share about themselves. We had a call where we were talking about Bangladesh and we got all these emails from people that said, “I feel like people always forget about my country and I appreciate you shedding light on it and some of the things that are happening there.” Recently we had somebody who reached out to us and said, “The COVID situation in India is rampant, my family's struggling, a lot of people I know are struggling, I feel so helpless. Is there anything that we can do to help or raise awareness about it?” So, we put together an entire event, a platform for individuals to speak on what was going on.
GLOBE provides an avenue for people to bring awareness, make connections, have some of those uncomfortable conversations, like work barriers and stereotypes, but also have fun. In the beginning stages, this was our goal – we wanted people to have fun, to get to know each other, build this network of people and then from there, start making impact.
If I must sum it up, GLOBE has provided a safe platform for people to be themselves on a personal and cultural level and, especially for people who thought they don't fit anywhere. You had APINS and you had all these other networks, but there were a group of people that needed to belong somewhere, and GLOBE has provided that platform, that connection to be themselves. I thought to myself, “How many Caribbean people do you hear from? How many Bangladeshis do you hear from?” So, that's what GLOBE has given to our employees. Plus, when you’re in an ERG, networking is a part of it and people can network by being themselves. That's what GLOBE has done for our employees.
For me, GLOBE is my outlet – I love doing the work. Another big piece is making those connections with London and Hong Kong employees. Being able to include entire functions of the business and make them feel like they have a space and are connected to the overall firm has been big for them as well.
What makes Schwab a great place to work? What advice would you share to international candidates who are considering joining Schwab?
Priyanka: I would say Schwab is a great place to work. I have worked with so many companies with so many clients, but I have not seen the kind of D&I initiative that Schwab takes anywhere else. The inclusion is not just in the words of the leaders, it is something you can see on the floor in the office and the leaders are proud about it and they’re very vocal about it. It’s not something they do as an afterthought; it is something that the leaders think about and try to implement as well. I am very happy being at Schwab and it’s a great place to work at so come be a Schwabbie!
Raquel: Be bold and be proud. Show who you are and be proud of it because there's a place for you. It just gives us one more person to celebrate and to celebrate their diversity and make them feel included.