Diversity and inclusion up for discussion (Image: Shutterstock).

A few weeks ago, I attended a panel discussion on diversity and inclusion at the $1.3 billion Unitus Community Credit Union in Portland, Ore. With those two words seemingly on the tips of everyone’s tongues these days, the event was unsurprisingly well-attended. Audience members listened intently as panelists from three different Portland area credit unions –Rivermark Community Credit Union, Point West Credit Union and First Tech Federal Credit Union – calmly discussed their strategies for making employees and members of all races, ethnicities, lifestyles, physical abilities, gender orientations and religions feel welcome and included.

The mood in the room shifted during the event’s Q&A portion, when an audience member, who said they use the pronouns “they/them” to identify themselves, stood up to passionately – and somewhat angrily – ask the panel how they manage to get 100% buy-in on their diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout their credit unions, when the current political climate suggests that isn’t possible.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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