On June 27, 41 attendees specializing in technology gathered in Washington, D.C. to attend AfroTech and Bank of America’s “The Power of Connections” recruiting event tailored to Black talent in the field. 

Panelists at the ‘The Power of Connections’ Networking Event/MD2Studio.

The event included a panel of Bank of America senior executives who shared their experiences of fostering diversity in the workplace and nurturing careers within their respective communities. 

“This is the second event we’ve held in partnership with AfroTech and Blavity and we continue to be impressed by the level of talent that attends,” said Ebony Thomas, Senior Vice President of Market Human Resources Strategy & Enterprise Diversity Recruiting. 

“Our goal is to host these very specialized and selective experiences with top talent in the market and leaders in their fields to talk about who we are, and why we offer a great place to work for technology specialists in particular,” Thomas said.

‘The Power of Connections’ Networking event attendees./MD2Studio.

Thomas believes that one of the best ways to source diverse top talent is to be active in local communities and to connect with people from various backgrounds to help them understand the range of career opportunities at large companies such as Bank of America while staying true to themselves. 

“As we think about the impact of artificial intelligence, it’s important to ensure that our development teams are diverse,” said Allyn Shaw, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for Bank of America. “I think with diversity, gender diversity, and cultural diversity, we don’t want technology to be inherently biased and at the end of the day, it takes human judgment and empathy to make sure that we are fair and equitable.” 

As a way to improve diversity in the workforce, Bank of America takes a multifaceted approach to recruiting diverse talent. The company partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and niche organizations, including those that are women-focused and dedicated to veterans, to ensure they are attracting a diverse set of talent to the company.

“Working at Bank of America, applicants can expect an inclusive, diverse environment where they can bring their whole selves to work and can reach their full potential,” Thomas said. “We offer a collaborative environment where our teammates are communicating with colleagues sitting right next to them, or on the other side of the world.”

Last year, Bank of America’s Consumer and Small Business division announced a commitment to hiring 10,000 individuals from low-and-moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods over the next five years, according to a press release from the company. This commitment was further bolstered by the launch of the bank’s Pathways career program, where the bank partners with organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Goodwill and UnidosUS to help connect them to candidates who have strong potential. 

“Companies talk about it [diversity], but for us, it really is the fabric of who we are and what we do,” Thomas said. 

Bank of America has also partnered with four other banks to launch FinTech Focus, an immersive program designed to prepare pre-college students from diverse and underserved backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The goal is to increase persistence in FinTech studies and a career path in the industry.

Attendees listening to speakers at the ‘The Power of Connections’ Networking event. Photo by MD2Studio.

Thomas said seeing a group of technologists brought together through the connection that Bank of America has with Blavity and AfroTech was powerful.

“We want to open the doors and provide access to these technologists and demonstrate the career or the connections they can make with individuals at the bank,” said Thomas. “We also want to highlight some of our best and brightest. These are individuals who are pursuing amazing careers so we’re inviting them to dinner to network and share their career journeys. They are visibly impressed by the groundbreaking, innovative, patent holder technology at the bank.”

To get a sneak peek into what took place at “The Power of Connections” Networking event, check out a recap video from the event below:

Footage captured by MD2Studio

To learn more about job opportunities at Bank of America visit, http://careers.bankofamerica.com.

This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Bank of America.