As AMDC concludes recognizing Celebrate Diversity Month, we asked AMDC Advisory Council Chair Lola Oyewole what diversity means to her. Oyewole is VP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Ocwen Financial Corporation.
- What does diversity mean to you?
For me, diversity is synonymous with beauty. Diversity is so much more than someone’s race or gender. It includes all the unique qualities that make us who we are. Bringing diverse teams together fosters new ideas and perspectives that others may not have considered or might not be aware of. The open dialogue, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking brought about by having a diverse team are the primary drivers of better problem-solving.
These factors are at the heart of diversity. When we connect and engage with co-workers from different backgrounds and with experiences different than our own, we learn and grow, our horizons widen, and we share the achievement of not only company goals, but a better understanding and appreciation of each other. Through this process, we discover we are not only better but stronger together. I find that to be the beauty of diversity and its most gratifying aspect.
- How do you champion diversity within your organization?
Ocwen champions diversity through four main pillars: Leadership, Workforce, Vendor Diversity, and Community Engagement.
The Leadership pillar is intended to strengthen the understanding and commitment of diversity and inclusion (D&I) throughout all levels of the organization and ensure leaders fully understand the benefit of D&I. D&I training is required for all employees globally.
The Workforce pillar’s purpose is to increase the company’s ability to attract, hire and retain diverse talent across the company. We have multiple programs, including a women’s affinity group that promotes career development and a mentoring program specifically for women leaders across the company globally.
Vendor Diversity is a commitment to form partnerships with diverse supplier groups in the U.S. and encourage supplier diversity efforts.
Finally, Community Engagement is the driving force behind Ocwen’s efforts to support the communities that it operates in and to be a socially responsible corporate citizen.
- How would you advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with those that do not understand its importance?
I would point to the data that overwhelmingly shows that diverse teams perform better than homogenous teams. When diverse teams work together, the discussion is richer, the decision-making process is more comprehensive, and the organization is stronger. According to an article published by Great Place to Work, “Why Is Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace Important?” by Matt Bush April 2021, research has shown many benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace: higher revenue growth, greater readiness to innovate, increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool, and 5.4 times higher employee retention. But it’s not just having a diverse workforce that matters, it’s ensuring that team members work in an environment where their voice is heard and valued. In this same article, research on company culture shows that when employees trust that they and their colleagues are treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or age, they are:
- 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work
- 6.3 times more likely to have pride in their work
- 5.4 times more likely to want to stay a long time at their company
Fostering and growing an inclusive workplace culture will not only help attract a diverse workforce but will also help to retain the talent that you attracted, to begin with, creating long-term stability, increased productivity, and a more fulfilling work experience.