What’s In A Name: Diversity And Inclusion Officer

Esmi Rivera helps Notre Dame FCU spread financial wellness and opportunity one member engagement and workshop at a time.


Notre Dame FCU
Data as of 06.30.18

HQ: Notre Dame, IN
ASSETS: $628.1M
MEMBERS: 58,021
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 24.7%
ROA: 0.50%

Notre Dame Federal Credit Union ($628.1M, Notre Dame, IN) prizes diversity and inclusion in its service to 58,000 members. So much so, in fact, that it has created a staff position devoted to those principles.

Esmi Rivera ‘s job as diversity and inclusion officer formalizes what the Catholic university-based credit union has long worked toward: financial wellness and opportunity for everyone in its field of membership and the communities where they live.

Rivera joined Notre Dame FCU in November 2017 as a business development representative and became the credit union ‘s diversity and inclusion officer this past August.

Here, she describes her new role and how it fits with her credit union ‘s commitment to its fundamental principles.

Is the diversity and inclusion officer a new title and role at your credit union?

Esmi Rivera: Yes, we recently created this position. Given our efforts to be visible and impactful in our communities, we thought it important to formalize what we ‘ve been doing for many years.

Why did Notre Dame FCU create this role?

ER: It has been a longtime passion of Notre Dame FCU to continue to do more for underserved communities. The Latino community is one of the largest underserved and underbanked communities, but what started as our Hispanic Latino Initiative quickly grew to an all-inclusive initiative. The position is designed to ensure intentional universal equity and inclusion for all individuals.

Did the credit union create this position specifically for you?

ER: No, this position was created to promote equality for all members and for the communities we serve. I was a huge advocate for the underserved and was helping lead a small group of partners for the Hispanic Latino Initiative the credit union had created earlier in the year. The new role was an effortless transition to something bigger and with more direction and definition. Currently, the main goal is to implement strategies that maintain an inclusive and diverse membership base while ensuring the execution of strategies that improve market presence.

Inclusive Resources For An Inclusive Job Title

As the diversity and inclusion officer for Notre Dame FCU, Esmi Rivera focuses on financial wellness and member engagement. Here, she breaks down how she stays current on the topics that allow her to excel at her job.

  • In Print: I ‘m currently reading Latinos in the United States by David Abalos.
  • Online: I attend webinars and am constantly learning about diversity and inclusion. The NCUA offers helpful webinars and training programs, which I have taken full advantage of.
  • In Person: Conferences are also helpful. I ‘m excited about an upcoming supervisory development program that I ‘ll be attending at the University of Notre Dame.

What qualifications made you a great fit for this job?

ER: I ‘ve worked in the credit union industry for more than 11 years. I ‘ve held front- and back-office positions and have learned what it takes to power a credit union. I ‘m fortunate that Notre Dame FCU executives like John Wilkening, our chief retail officer, seek individuals that are eager to grow and lead others.

Something very important in this role is to be able to connect with our members and communities in a real way. Coming from a diverse, multicultural background, I ‘m able to relate to a diverse set of community members.

What ‘s your daily routine?

ER: My day revolves around the needs of our members and communities, whether it be through community engagements or planning for future financial literacy workshops. I could spend my day assisting a credit union member or helping our marketing department or business development team.

I also try to research more about being organizationally inclusive and other ways to create relationships through financial education.

What are your areas of responsibility?

ER: At our mission-based financial institution, my prime responsibility is to help create an inclusive credit union for all members. I help create financial workshops and community engagements, research better ways of reaching members, and break down barriers that stand in the way.

Read more about Notre Dame FCU and its commitment to providing a living wage at A Boost In Pay For Labor Day.

What ethnic or other distinct communities do you work with and how?

ER: We started with the Hispanic Latino community, as it ‘s the fastest growing and largest underbanked group. However, there are many other groups in need of outreach, and I ‘m part of that effort as well.

Diversity has many layers. It ‘s our goal to go beyond the superficial and connect on a deeper level with all individuals. Times have changed, and it ‘s important credit unions understand that all members are not the same. It ‘s time to do more than offer products and services to our members, we need to change their lives by being their financial physicians.

How does the Juntos Avanzamos designation help you do your job? What does it do for Notre Dame FCU as a whole?

ER: The Juntos Avanzamos designation offers additional resources such as training, roundtables with other credit unions, and partnerships with other not-for-profit organizations that share our values to reach and market to the Hispanic Latino community.

With Juntos Avanzamos, we can reach individuals outside of our community that need an inclusive credit union like Notre Dame FCU.

How do you track success in your job?

ER: This is a bit of a challenge that we are still working on. If we can change at least one life a day, then we are succeeding.

Who do you report to? Who reports to you?

ER: I report directly to Jessica Meyer, our director of retail sales and SEG development. I have no direct reports, although I do help lead the Hispanic Latino Initiative team within the credit union and am becoming a leader to those in our community.

Do you know of anyone else with a similar role or responsibilities?

ER: I ‘ve met several individuals outside of credit unions that are also in diversity and inclusion roles, a few of them serve as mentors to me. Although we share the same or similar job title, our focus is entirely different. Most DI roles focus on the internal organization; however, Notre Dame FCU has such a great culture that we decided to focus externally on our members and communities.

Job titles say as much about the organization as they do the person. Have you seen a title you ‘d like to know more about? Let editor Rebecca Wessler know at rwessler@creditunions.com or (202) 223-3920, ext. 503.



October 29, 2018

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