Inclusion for Everyone: DEI at Goldman Sachs

February 20, 2021

We recently caught up with two Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) experts at Goldman Sachs.

Mariany Polanco-Cruz is a Vice President on the Global Diversity Recruiting Team at Goldman Sachs and has been at the firm for approximately 8 years. In her current role, she designs and implements the diversity recruiting strategy for Salt Lake City, oversees the Hispanic/Latinx and Women focused recruiting efforts, and leads the learning and engagement component of diversity programming. Prior to this role, Mariany has held various roles within Human Capital Management and strategy teams within Goldman Sachs. She has a Bachelors of Arts from Barnard College of Columbia University.

Jane Berger is an Associate on the Global Diversity Recruiting Team at Goldman Sachs and has been on the team for about three years. Originally from Utah, Jane received her Bachelors degree from the University of Utah after which she briefly worked in marketing and has since found herself passionately educating those on the opportunities Goldman Sachs offers in the Salt Lake region. In addition, she is focused on the firm’s LGBTQ+ and Women recruiting initiatives, and works on marketing the diversity recruiting team’s programs and impact.

DEI at Goldman Sachs
The belief at the corporate level is that attracting and developing a diverse workforce is essential to help the firm advance sustainable economic growth and financial opportunity. Progress on diversity will enhance Goldman Sachs’ ability to execute our strategy and deliver for our clients.

Polanco-Cruz explains: “It is ultimately the company’s responsibility to help employees reach their full potential and express their authentic selves. We work to create the best environment that allows different perspectives and skills to thrive. Goldman Sachs is very public with our aspirational goals, and we’re transparent when working with partners to achieve these goals.”

DEI is incorporated in all aspects of the company. “Being inclusive is not an option; it is how we have to be, and it’s long been a priority. We’ve long had inclusion networks, and have designed programs that assign our Black and Hispanic entry level staff with mentors and training.”

Polanco-Cruz states: “We look at our competitors in financial services and technology for best practices. But we try to be pioneers, not only with our effort to build representation at the VP level, but also with underwriting companies that are building diversity. For example, we will only underwrite IPOs in Europe and the U.S. that have at least one diverse board member, and in 2021, that number was raised to two board members.”

“We also have the $10 million Fund of Equity, which provides direct grants to underserved communities. Another program, that’s well known in Utah, is the 10,000 Small Businesses training program, which supports a lot of women entrepreneurs.”

“We constantly hold ourselves accountable. We assess our diversity strategies biannually to course correct,” Polanco-Cruz emphasizes.

Goal Setting to Build the Talent Pipeline
For a company with nearly 40,000 employees worldwide, a key part of the effort starts with goal setting. One such goal focuses on all analysts and entry-level associates hired either on campus or laterally – a group that represents more than 70% of annual hiring. The company aims to achieve representation in hiring of this population of 50% women, 11% Black professionals and 14% Hispanic/Latinx professionals in the Americas.

In addition, by 2025, the company is striving for representation in the vice president population of 40% women globally; 7% Black professionals in the Americas and the UK; and 9% Hispanic/Latinx professionals in the Americas. Goldman Sachs also plans to double the number of campus analyst hires in the U.S. recruited from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the same time frame.

With two locations in downtown Salt Lake City and one location in Draper, Goldman Sachs employs nearly 3,000 people in Utah. Polanco-Cruz states: “In Salt Lake City, we’re on track for meeting these aspirational goals for entry level positions. Goldman Sachs has more diversity in this office than there is in the community at large, in part because of what we institutionalize. Overall our diversity in Salt Lake City matches that of other Goldman Sachs [Americas] offices.”

Making the Pitch for Utah
The Salt Lake City site has a long-standing relationship with local higher education institutions. Berger explains: “When it comes to campus recruiting, we have strong relationships with BYU, the UofU, USU, and Weber State. We have a whole team that focuses on this, working with the university relations teams and the diverse student clubs on campus, which help us create candidate pipelines. We also partner with the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA).”

The company also invests considerable resources in bringing candidates in from other parts of the country. Prior to the pandemic, the company conducted what are called exploratory programs. “We’d fly candidates in for a two or three-day visit, to show candidates the community and demystify any notions of what it’s like living and working in Salt Lake City. We also held a women’s summit in Salt Lake City for women interested in pursuing careers at GS. We’ve had to change to virtual format for these programs, and we’re developing content to deliver virtually.”

The content highlights cost of living, fun things to do in the area, why Goldman Sachs sees Utah as an important part of the firms’ global footprint, and the upside potential of starting one’s career here. The company has published a one-page brochure on Salt Lake City, and has a video tour to show that the office layout is the same as in New York City.

“At these ‘boot camps’, we want the candidates to succeed wherever they land, whether that’s at Goldman Sachs or not. We focus on professional and technical skills, introduce our inclusion networks, and teach wellness and financial literacy. We train candidates on how to talk to their skills and strengths. This training will help them succeed anywhere they go, and to thrive in different environments.”

For more experienced workers wanting to work at Goldman Sachs, they also host a similar program called Career Pivot Series. Candidates receive training on resume updates, as well as helping them talk more effectively to the skills they developed in other industries. “We discuss the different positions and career paths, where those skills can apply,” Polanco-Cruz states.

“We try to convey what a day in the life is like here. We encourage participants to ask us all of their questions about working in Utah. We strive for an intimate setting for uncomfortable questions.”

The bottom line? “If you are in Salt Lake City, you are likely to see more opportunities, in a more intimate setting. You’ll have more career mobility, be exposed to more initiatives, and be involved in recruiting, inclusion groups, and local community boards,” Polanco-Cruz states.

Inclusion for Everyone
Once a candidate is hired, how does the company provide them support? Polanco-Cruz says: “When it comes to recruiting and retaining diverse talent, we encourage all staff to join an inclusion network. Inclusion groups have been in our playbook since the beginning. They are open to everyone.”

Polanco-Cruz continues: “We see allyship as a verb. Goldman Sachs strives to turn allyship into action. We developed an allyship guide with tangible techniques to have conversations. We teach staff – both mentors and those being mentored – how to have conversations with people different than you.”

“In these trainings, we bring in outside experts to cover institutional racism, microaggression, white privilege, and other difficult topics. One of our sayings is ‘Silence is endorsement so it’s not okay to be silent.’”

“The notion of allyship is engrained in the Goldman Sachs culture. It benefits you to join these networks. It’s a career enhancement move and expands your network. It’s an opportunity to step out of the day to day, and engage with people differently. It leverages a different side of your brain. Ultimately these relationships lead to career mobility.”

Berger explains that there are multiple opportunities for diverse and non-diverse employees to engage monthly. “The scale of these events varies. They can be small conversations within a division at Goldman Sachs, or the site may host a discussion by a leading professor. The intent is to leverage people’s experiences. For example, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer, we asked black partners to share how they felt.”

Building Networks to Increase Retention
A focus of Goldman Sachs is to use community engagement as a means for diverse employees to build networks.

Polanco-Cruz remarks: “Our staff are involved in boards throughout the state, such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission, the Disabilities Advisory Council, and the Black Success Center. We’re corporate sponsors of the Pride parade and the Encircle Summit, and we’re working to help the National Association of Black Accountants to establish a chapter here.”

“We move a lot of people to Salt Lake City. Networks are important and we want people to feel at home here. There are preconceived notions about Utah. So we highlight the cost of living here vs. the coasts, and that you have the ability to buy a house in this market. We talk about the weather, which isn’t always cold, and that skiing and hiking are not the only things to do. We talk about the quality of life, particularly for families.”

Career mobility is a large part of the firm’s culture. Polanco-Cruz says: “This mobility serves Salt Lake City in both directions, bringing talent in and sending talent out. If you don’t find your tribe or community, you’re going to want to relocate. Are there people who feel like Utah is not diverse enough and so they transfer somewhere else? Of course, there are instances, but we try to make it as comfortable as possible for our employees. We understand, so we focus on building that community in all of our locations.”

Advice to Companies
Polanco-Cruz states: “Start having the conversation, even if you don’t have the global resources of a Goldman Sachs. That will make others in your company more comfortable to share how they feel. Encourage others to speak.”

Berger concludes: “For any company big or small, the first step is to acknowledge the goal. Be aware of how you hire, what you post on social media. By acknowledging that DEI is on your radar, you can begin to step up.”

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