The global pandemic that changed almost everything about our daily lives wasn’t the only societal upheaval that occurred over the past year. Even in the midst of social distancing and lockdowns that kept us apart, the world came together in awakening to the systemic racism and inequality that still exists today.
Shocking incidents of racialized violence sparked social unrest, global protests, and long-overdue conversations about race, gender, sexual identity, and inclusivity. Here at ATB, the realization that we must take concrete steps to be better and do better led us to develop a DIB strategy that will guide our efforts in the coming years. Our DIB strategy aims to address issues of inclusion, social justice, and equality, acknowledging and amplifying the voices of communities that have been marginalized. Over the past year, we created a DIB team that brings people together to celebrate and share diverse cultures while promoting the importance of inclusive leadership and talent.
A key value for ATB is creating an inclusive workplace that welcomes diversity and honours the lived experiences of all our team members in ways that allow people to realize their potential and pursue their goals. Our DIB team was built to help drive inclusivity and belonging for all our team members and you can meet them here.
The first step in our inclusion and diversity commitment was to learn to listen to the stories of those who have experienced inequity, racism, or systemic barriers, which is why we held sessions throughout the summer for our leaders to lean into this learning. Our executives also attended a workshop with Dr. Robert Livingston, a Harvard lecturer whose research focuses on diversity and social justice. Once we listened, we set out to analyze, understand, and take action.
Our new DIB portfolio and accompanying strategy will be a high priority going forward.
To develop our strategy, we did a deep data analysis to understand the biggest areas of opportunity for ATB. The project, managed by a diverse group of team members, began in August and was completed in December 2020. We conducted interviews with executive leaders to capture their perceptions of this work; conducted workshops with key stakeholders to understand where ATB currently stands in its journey toward DIB maturity; and undertook a talent flow analysis and talent management audit to better understand how team members, especially those from equity-seeking communities, enter and move through the organization, with a goal of making our personnel programs more equitable.
Our new strategy addresses four major pillars:
We recognize that before we can demonstrate our commitment to our clients and the communities we serve, we must engage in meaningful inclusive change for and within our own teams; therefore, our strategy’s current primary focus is internal.
Our eight team member networks (TMNs) are employee resource groups that help build awareness and inclusive, safe spaces that benefit team members who share common stories and lived experiences. They speak to the unique nature of particular communities, develop metrics to measure accountability and objectives, and strategically align to the business through their unique perspectives on solutions and innovations that relate to their communities. While our TMNs were limited by public health measures this past year, they were still able to create a number of safe and engaging events such as a virtual discussion regarding Black women in technology; a spotlight on Dr. Wanda Costen, Dean of the School of Business at MacEwan University; a panel discussing women in leadership; an online marketplace through ATB BoostR for Indigenous-owned businesses; and an ATB virtual Pride Lounge, to name a few.
The horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a global uprising that pushed the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront of our collective consciousness. These events brought to light the urgent need for ATB to further address systemic discrimination and racism in our organization and our province. We know change won’t be quick or easy, but we are committed to the work of confronting racism, engaging in active allyship, and creating an environment for team members and clients where they can courageously be themselves and be allies for their communities.
In June 2020, to help support Black, Indigenous, and otherwise racialized communities and in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, ATB donated $30,000 in support of seven organizations that serve BIPOC communities in Alberta: the Centre for Race and Culture, Action Dignity, CommunityWise, the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, and the Calgary Centre for Newcomers’ Rainbow Railroad Station.
We also recognized the need to do more to address systemic racism within our processes and systems and to address inequities in how BIPOC community members access the solutions they need. We are headed in the right direction but have a long way to go to make a meaningful difference.
Anti-racism is fundamental to our allyship, so a pathway was designed in Degreed (our learning platform) to help educate and support our team members. We recognize that people may be at different stages in their journey, and we have selected pathway content that meets them where they are, with the goal to have everyone reach the same destination.
In February, we hosted a week-long event to help Albertans support the local businesses they love, with a focus on Black-owned businesses, which led to 387 being tagged on social media, $500 being given to 27 businesses to hold follow-up activations of their own, and over $14,000 put in the hands of Alberta businesses to use for giveaways.
ATB is a proud long-time partner of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) Progressive Aboriginal Relations program (PAR). PAR is the only recognized Canadian corporate program with an emphasis on Indigenous relations. This framework, which is governed and maintained by the CCAB, helps guide reconciliation strategy development. CCAB PAR Companies convey to Indigenous communities and peoples that the companies are good places to work, good business partners to have, and committed to prosperity in Indigenous communities. ATB is currently in the Committed Level Phase 3 of the three-phase process and will deliver our final Phase 3 Committed report in FY2022.
We are also a member of the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA), AKSIS – Edmonton’s Aboriginal Business and Professional Association, and the Circle for Aboriginal Relations (CFAR) in support of Indigenous business in the province.
ATB is committed to advancing critically important diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation practices. This includes promoting Indigenous cultural recognition, like beginning events with a land recognition, and aiming to launch a comprehensive banking strategy in early FY2022 to better support Indigenous communities.
On September 30, we hosted an ATB-wide livestream event to commemorate Orange Shirt Day. Launched in 2013, this day commemorates the history and painful legacy of the residential school system in Canada and honours the journey of the survivors and their families.
We developed a Degreed learning pathway and connected team members with the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada course to help improve Indigenous cultural awareness. We are committed to helping team members apply this knowledge to be allies and ambassadors of cultural change and to be an active participant in Canada’s reconciliation movement.
Spirit North empowers Indigenous youth through the transformative power of sport and play. ATB’s donations support the delivery of sport and play programming designed to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of Indigenous children and youth in communities throughout Alberta.
ATB was proud to help support the building of the new McMurray Métis Cultural Centre in Fort McMurray. The centre will feature an art gallery, museum, smudging rooms, youth spaces, community kitchen, conference spaces, and offices for various services. The centre will play an important role in healing and reconciliation for the community.
In June 2020, the ATB Branch for Arts & Culture and ATB BoostR created an Indigenous Artist Market that helped 30 Indigenous artists across the province raise over $15,000 by selling their art online.
ATB was a sponsor for several important events that supported Indigenous awareness and economic development, including the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATOA) Trust and Investment Conference and the Cando Youth Economic Development Summit.
ATB’s ongoing commitment to our LGBTQ2S+ communities remained important during the pandemic, as social isolation and economic challenges exacerbated existing barriers. We reaffirmed our support for existing partnerships and looked for new opportunities to assist with promoting mental health and resiliency wherever we could make a difference.
ATB was proud to continue its support of iSMSS in its work of delivering education programs, research, policy development, advocacy, and community services that help the LGBTQ2S+ community thrive, while building awareness, allyship, and hope. Among these programs are OUTpost, a drop-in support centre run by the Community Health Empowerment and Wellness Project that works specifically with at-risk LGBTQ2S+ youth facing houselessness; fYrefly in Schools, a vital program for LGBTQ2S+ youth that was able to continue online this year; and Where the Rivers Meet, a program that uses traditional Indigenous knowledge and teachings to uplift and empower Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous youth through allyship and advocacy in their schools and communities.
Reading with Royalty, supported by ATB, was first launched at the Calgary Public Library in February 2018. The free drop-in program welcomes all ages, with a focus on families with children 0–8 years old and their parents/caregivers. Led by local drag queens, kings, and monarch performers, it celebrates diversity and encourages children to embrace exploration of self and imagine a world where people are free to express their identity.
For this year’s Pride Week, held mostly virtually, we featured videos with our team members speaking to the importance of allyship, the actions that demonstrate that commitment, and the work that remains to address discrimination within the LGBTQ2S+ community. We also submitted a virtual parade entry during the livestreamed Pride Parade.
We took part in Calgary Pride’s #ProudPartners Panel discussion, which explored questions related to investing in diversity, employee resource groups (our TMNs), and how allies can be engaged within an organization. We also got to continue our partnership with the Centre for Sexuality and their WiseGuyz program to launch a one-day campaign with the help of Monogram Coffee Inc. that raised over $5,000 to support gender and sexuality alliance programs provided through the Centre for Sexuality in Calgary and surrounding area.
With increasing societal unrest leading up to and including June 2020, there was a shift from what would normally be a celebratory time during Pride Month to more sombre conversations about allyship, social injustice, and inequity. During this time, we created an internal social channel where team members could safely discuss their own lived experiences related to racism, privilege, inequity, and bias. Those discussions also shared stories of hope and inspired commitments to be better allies, while providing team members resources that might support them.
We made a strategic decision this past year to prioritize women’s banking as a clearly defined focus area and with specific resourcing. This led us to hire a Head of Women in Business Banking, a leadership role that provides accountability for addressing this underserved market.
Research has shown that men and women have different ways to approach problems, and we recognize that any successful women-entrepreneurship strategy must acknowledge and address these differences.
During the third annual Build Her Business crowdfunding campaign, which ran during February and March 2021, ATB BoostR helped 20 women-owned businesses raise over $55,000, including just over $15,000 to help open a new business in a small Alberta town. ATB BoostR is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform that helps small businesses expand.
ATB is a long-time partner of Inclusion Alberta, whose mission is the pursuit of fully inclusive communities for youth and adults with developmental disabilities. ATB increased its financial support for Inclusion Alberta’s most recent annual fundraiser, held virtually, with ATB’s support being used as a “challenge gift” to inspire others to support. The result of this year’s annual fundraiser was nearly as successful as the previous year’s in-person event, an unexpected result given the challenges so many other not-for-profit organizations faced in 2020.
Each year, we partner with this centre to help recognize the accomplishments of artists from their collective. The awards are presented at Here’s Nina, a red-carpet awards show and fundraiser for over 300 guests. With COVID-19 restricting in-person gatherings, organizers came up with a creative alternative: a drive-in spectacular at the River Cree Resort and Casino. We also partnered with the Nina Haggerty Centre to create the ATB Art + Wellness project which supports mental health and staying connected during the pandemic through art.
|Metric||FY2020||FY2021||FY2022 target||Action plan|
|Compensation ratio men vs. women(1)||1.0||1.0||Parity||Ensure compensation plans are fair and equitable.|
|Executives who are women (24 out of 58)(2)||43%||41%||Parity||Work toward more-balanced gender representation, along with other dimensions of diversity, on our executive team.|
|Board directors who are women (6 of 13)||50%||46%||Parity||Support our existing Board diversity policy.|
|Diversity indicators among all team members (as a percentage of population)(3)|
|FY2019||FY2021||Increase representation of Indigenous people, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S+ team members.||Identify gaps in hiring for those who identify with one or more diversity indicators. Continue to grow awareness and create an inclusive workplace through TMNs.|
|Persons with disabilities||3.1%||3.9%|
|Team member feelings of belonging (Cultural Health Index component);
percentage of ATB team members who responded positively to the statement...(4)
|“I would not hesitate to recommend my team within ATB to anyone looking for an inclusive workplace.”||n/a||90%||90%||FY2021 is a baseline year for ATB’s new Cultural Health Index. We will have a better idea of targets as more data is gathered. In the meantime, we strive to maintain the scores, including those relating to team member belonging (“thriving”).|
|“I can courageously be myself around here.”||86%||86%|
|“I feel a strong sense of belonging at work.”||84%||84%|