July 26, 2011

For UBS's Holloway, Networking Is Key to a Proper Diversity Strategy

Increasing diversity within the ranks of a huge institution like UBS and ensuring it becomes a lasting reality that can serve to further business, is a mammoth and multi-layered undertaking that is best accomplished in a targeted and specific manner, says Ci Ci Holloway, managing director for diversity and inclusion for the financial giant’s investment banking business.

Networking is at the core of any proper diversity strategy, Holloway says, and in the three facets of diversity she focuses on – workforce diversity, workplace diversity and marketplace diversity – networking is extremely important.

It is particularly important for marketplace diversity, she says, “because it is very important that we tie diversity efforts to the business efforts of the organization.”

Holloway has been instrumental in setting up several employee network groups at UBS, including a woman’s network, a veteran’s network, a black network and a cultural awareness network. These groups are charged with doing the necessary legwork to “identify new businesses and provide access to dimensions we have never had access to before,” she says.

The women’s network, for example, liases with established womens’ organizations, and this has resulted in UBS putting together some very successful client events, Holloway says, a few of which have resulted in new business opportunities for the firm. UBS also has a group called Business Development Partnership, which looks to source from minority vendors and non-traditional financial service groups.

UBS is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion, but overall, the financial services industry still has a long way to go in these areas, says Holloway – who joined UBS five years ago after a successful career working in the diversity and inclusion space in the entertainment industry. “I strongly believe that tapping into the pipeline earlier will help us identify new talent in a unique manner,” she says.

In Stamford, Conn., where the firm has its U.S. headquarters, UBS employee networks go out to middle school and high schools with majority Black and Hispanic students to speak about careers in the financial services industry.

“There are many challenges to creating a fully diverse workforce, but the earlier we start to identify talent, the better,” Holloway says. “It should also be a shared goal that all members of an organization participate in.”

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