Susan Sutherland Talks about OMWI

Susan A. Sutherland, senior vice president and director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) discusses why OMWI was created and how the initiative is being implemented.


Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Section 342


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Speaker: Susan Sutherland

The Office of Minority and Women Inclusion was established as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Section 342 of that Act stipulates that each regulatory agency (The Reserve Banks included) establish their own Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. The legislation in that Section gives us a broad “mandate”, if you will, and says that we should ensure the inclusion of minorities and women to the maximum extent possible and fairly, in all of the business activities of the Bank.

Specifically, there are 3 areas of work that the legislation calls out: one (which would probably seem fairly straight forward) is work force diversity. Who we hire, who works for us, how they grow and develop in the organization, is really a focus of the legislation. The second area has to do with supplier diversity. So, all the regulatory agencies and the Reserve Banks do business with a lot of vendors and suppliers, and the legislation asks that we look at increasing the amount and the opportunity for woman-owned businesses, and minority-owned businesses. The last body of work is to work with the Banks and financial institutions that we regulate on their diversity posture. That work is currently being done by the Board of Governors.

Inside our Bank, and for a while now, we have had a diversity philosophy, which is actually broader than that which is stipulated by the OMWI legislation, and we believe that we can accomplish the goals of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion in conjunction with broader definition of diversity and inclusion inside the Bank.

To both ends, I work very closely, as does my colleague Beverly Hawkins, with the HR department, Public Information department (which does outreach and financial education), and our Procurement department (which does all of the work with our vendors and contractors). Together, we form a partnership that helps us achieve the goals set out in the legislation for the OMWI.