Senior Vice President and head of supplier diversity at Wells Fargo and Company
February 5, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Joyce welcomes Regina Heyward, senior vice president and head of supplier diversity at Wells Fargo and Company. Founded in 1852, this financial institution is a diversified, community-based financial services company. Headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations. Ms. Heyward will discuss this company’s commitment to a diversified workforce, including hiring individual with disabilities and her commitment to as vice-chair of Disability:IN

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FEBRUARY 5, 2019

1:00 P.M. CST



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     >> Welcome to "Disability Matters" with your host, Joyce Bender.  All comments, views and opinions expressed on this show are solely those of the host, guest and callers.  Now the host of "Disability Matters."  Here's Joyce Bender.

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Hey.  Hi everyone.  Welcome to the show.  I hope you are having a great day.  Special shout out to my good friend, Yoshiko Dart.  And just think next year is the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Yoshiko, Justin, the late Justin Dart were certainly a major part of that great Civil Rights Act being signed.  Then I want to thank Highmark/Blue Cross/Blue Shield for being the lead sponsor of the show once again three years in a row.  And for the first part of the year we have audio live that is also a sponsor.  And what a great company this company is.  They have a software product that they sell for web accessibility, digital accessibility.  And it is a great product. 

Okay.  Now around the world, here we go.  Ireland, what are you doing?  You are in first place again as our No. 1 listening country.  We have 17 countries, that you guys are going to have to move it up if you want to compete with Ireland.  Ireland, thank you.  I thank you on every show.  It means a lot to me.  Thank you for everything that you are doing.  And oh, what a great treat you are all going have today.  What a great treat because you are going to hear my great friend, rock and roll star, senior vice‑president and head of supplier diversity and supply chain management, Regina Heyward.  Welcome to the show. 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Thank you so much, Joyce.  It is so incredible to be back with you again.  And I appreciate the opportunity to share with your listeners.  And I know we are going to have a wonderful time together today.  Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of today's podcast. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Absolutely.  A few things I want to tell you.  No. 1, Regina Heyward was one of the most listened to shows last year.  So there you go.  You better tell everyone you know about this hot radio star.  Listening to one of the top ten.  And I want to say something about Regina.  She is a major supporter of people with disabilities.  So everyone listening now, I want you to know that because of Regina Wells Fargo purchased iDisability, our software product that's a learning management system that teaches companies how to communicate to and work with people with disabilities and you know what that means, bringing down and bursting through stigma.  But in addition we have this big thing at Disability:IN called the Disability‑Owned Business Enterprises owners.  I want to tell you, Regina, you signed a contract with Adobe.  Don't forget that.  You signed it. 

But anyway, let's talk about you and Wells Fargo.  This company is huge.  You have 7800 locations.  This is the data I found that blew me away.  13,000 ATMs.  Wow.  That is unbelievable when you think about that number.  And though this company is ‑‑ and here we have this huge corporation, huge and yet this organization has always had a commitment to diversity throughout history.  So Regina, why do you think that is?  And how would you describe the culture?  Like what's it like there at Wells Fargo? 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Yeah, and Joyce, I'm so glad you started with that question because Wells Fargo is a remarkable organization.  I started with the company in 2014.  And one of the things that immediately connected to me was Wells Fargo's commitment to delivering value to our shareholders and becoming a leader in corporate citizenship.  We think about diversity and social inclusion from the standpoint of how do we advance things for the communities in which our company is operating?  We really focus on creating economic opportunity and promoting things like environmental responsibility across the business and across our things of influence.  Some of the things that we have been involved in the past few years are the investments that we are making in our team members.  We have raised our wage to ‑‑ we added four new paid holidays for our U.S. team members of when you think about folks having the opportunity to spend time with family and friends and take a break outside of the workforce to do some things that resonate closely with them.  So those additions of paid holidays really, really critical to our team member engagement.  In addition to that something that, you know, we'll get in to today we have been very supportive of communities and this is a data point that a lot of people don't know about, but Wells Fargo invests over 286 million dollars annually in our communities throughout philanthropy efforts.  When we think about that that's 2 million plus hours that we volunteered in non‑profits in 2017. 

We created 15,800 homeowners in 57 communities across the country to our list programs that really help people to understand how to access credit and how to get in to a home, but more particularly in my space the way that we have been advancing diversity and social inclusion through awarding scholarships to diverse individuals, increasing access to education.  Over 4.6 million dollars invested in that area.  And then very near and dear to service disabled veterans and veterans we have hired over 1400 people who have a military experience.  I can continue to go on, but these outcomes are really indicative of the culture at Wells Fargo.  A culture which values people, customers, team members, shareholders, stakeholders and a culture, wherever day the leaders at Wells Fargo shows up asking ourselves a pretty challenging question what can we do next to really help advance and to move our communities forward.  So really excited. 

I joke with folks saying hey, I love can a part of the stage coach.  I have learned a lot over the past five years not only about the financial services industry, but about how being a part of a company that really walks the talking, allow you to create enormous value and that's what I'm all about.  So really excited about the culture at Wells Fargo. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Wow.  That is so great.  You know, you can tell that this company is focused on employees, even just by the four additional holidays.  And, you know, when I was there Regina was kind enough to ask me to come down and speak to her leadership.  And you could just feel that.  You could just sense that camaraderie.  And just down to earth friendly people.  I mean I was really impressed when I was there.  And Regina, they are so lucky because they have you as senior vice‑president and head of all supplier diversity for Wells Fargo.  Listen, Wells Fargo, you better take care of this woman.  I will tell you she would be a great leader at any company.  Now they are going to really get mad at me.  But as senior vice‑president. 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Smile on my face.  Whoo Whoo. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  As senior vice‑president and head of all supplier diversity.  As I said even, you know, with me I'm a Disability‑Owned Business Enterprise but you go to the Disability:IN meetings, you are on the board.  You are always like a leadership role there at the Disability:IN conference which is the most phenomenal conference period.  This year I know it is in Chicago.  Everyone should go to that Disability:IN website.  I love this whole group.  But Regina, you are a leader there.  And at Disability:IN there has been a very vested interest through supplier diversity and Disability‑Owned Business Enterprises.  Why are you so focused on that?  Why is that so important to you? 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Yeah.  When I look at what's happening in the United States and across the world, it is very apparent to me that diversity businesses are at the forefront of creating value.  Not only within corporate supply chain but within communities and that value is really translating in to bringing forth innovation, raising ideas, being a part of the technological advances that are happening, that are really making everybody's life a lot better.  When I see that I know we have a part to play at Wells Fargo and helping to empower those diverse businesses.  A few years back we ventured in a number of different ways that I thought would be very helpful to doing what I call building capacity in diverse businesses. 

We provided 55 million in grants and capital to grow small businesses in 2015 through some specific programs around diverse community capital and in my space employer diversity.  And this is amazing for me to think about we have grown our spending with diverse businesses to 1.27 billion dollars and that's in 2017.  We are working on finalizing 2018 which is shaping up to be another year of growth.  But from 2014 to 2017 that's over 400 million dollars of expansion with diverse owned businesses.  And when we think about everyone having a seat at the table to play, it is very important to me that we include Disability‑Owned Business Enterprises and we call those DOBEs.  But from myself I kind of reframed what a DOBE is to me.  I say DOBEs are people who do business with excellence and they do outstanding businesses excellence.  So I kind of highjacked the DOBE term and I use it in different ways, but I do that to make sure that people understand when we are looking for specific expertise within Wells Fargo whether it is training and development like your organization provided to us, or people who are working in the space of technology and digital acceleration.  We are looking for those within the business arena who have the best and brightest ideas and concepts.  And in my experience we have been able to tap in to that brain trust through our relationship with Disability‑Owned Business Enterprises.  As you mentioned the Disability:IN organization has been a great organization for us to really leverage because it serves as kind of that one‑stop shop for us to bring in what we consider to be best practices.  So we look across and we ask ourselves what are other corporations doing that are helping them to advance inclusion of people with disabilities. 

So Disability:IN puts together information each year.  They allow us to have ourselves assessed of a disability equality index and that adds value across the organization and our human resources and recruiting functions and supply chain functions and in our marketing and in customer facing functions of the business.  We have come to understand that suppliers who have different experiences, perspectives or coming from different cultures and backgrounds, those suppliers help us to think differently.  And inherently help us to create exceptional value for our customers. 

So Wells Fargo recognizes this.  We are putting resources behind ensuring that we are building capacity.  We are working across the United States and across the globe.  We actually ventured in to India and the Philippines as we are building out our capacity building, region scale.  In fact, just last year I was able to spend some time over in Shanghai, China continuing our efforts to make sure we have the right partners around the globe that are working with us on this.  If I think about where we are going it is about continuing to see that 1.27 billion grow, that's a metric we set for ourselves, we had 11.4% of our controllable spend with diverse‑owned businesses.  And we have a goal to reach 15% by 2020. 

My team knows and I share it with people, we are going to continue to keep our eyes on this because it is so incredibly important when diverse businesses, when our communities and our society collectively wins.  Really important that we focus on building capacity in diverse businesses. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  And I would like to say on behalf of all people with disabilities thank you for including us.  Not everyone does that, Regina.  And I want to thank you for including us as part of your supplier diversity.  It really means so much to everyone.  Thank you so much for your commitment to us and not leaving us out. 
    And some people, Regina, when you talk about any type of diversity, I hate to say it, but they see it as oh, that's that nice thing to do.  Yeah, we have to do this charity work.  Oh, that would be good to include these other groups.  But it is much more than that.  It really does have an economic input.  It is not just about doing this charitable thing to include this group.  And I wondered if you could talk about that coming from your vantage point for our listeners. 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Absolutely.  I'm the type of person from a leadership perspective some of my strengths really are around vision and strategic planning and being able to really galvanize and develop others towards the attainment of goals and that's just who I have been over almost 20 years now in my career in corporate America.  Lots of folks know that I'm a trained attorney and licensed in North America.  And my undergraduate degree is economics focus.  And I am one of those people that loves ‑‑ understands the business case and practice policies and rules of the road of getting things done.  My approach to supplier diversity has always been from a vantage point of value creation.  So for the teams that I have had an opportunity to lead across different organizations and different industries from forestry to financial services to manufacturing I do come in to these teams with a vision that says we want to go from here to there.  And between those two points has to be value that's created and recognized by the organization.  So I love to talk in terms of revenue creation and cost savings and margin expansion and supplier diversity I look at through that lens.  When I talk about the why, it is necessary for us to bring in diverse suppliers.  I'm looking at things like competitiveness.  I'm looking at the ability to expand innovation.  I'm looking at access to new and different markets and new and different consumer segments. 
    But I'm also extremely focused on the best and the brightest.  So when we talk about supplier performance management my team is right there next to our supply chain management team going through scorecards, doing quality evaluations and having third party risk conversations with the suppliers to ensure that they understand the rules of the road of engaging with Wells Fargo.  And what ends up happening then is supplier diversity becomes a strategy.  In fact, when I am having conversations within my team I don't allow them to use the word "supplier diversity program".  From my standpoint supplier diversity has to be at a level of strategy for an organization. 

And what is a strategy?  Living and breathing and growing things that at the end of the day it should deliver significant value within an organization.  If we get to a point where that's not happening I will have to rethink some things.  I am hard wired for that to be the case.  The organizations that I have had the opportunity to work within have nine times out of ten taken their supplier diversity efforts to a new level.  We talk a lot at Wells Fargo about reimagining our business.  And we are going through some great transformative processes and phases right now.  And so for supplier diversity it certainly gives us an opportunity to kind of step back and think new thoughts with our business and that keeps me engaged.  And I mention that number of 20 years.  I cannot believe I'm at 20 years in corporate America.  But I see myself continuing forward as a leader in this space as long as the organizations that I am working with are synced up with me around the fact that supplier diversity is about value creation.  I think if we were to ever go in any other direction that it would probably become very uninteresting to me really, really quickly.  I will try to stay oriented towards the value creation. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  And you know what, when I am listening to you talk, Regina, you did not just come up through sales marketing or HR.  I mean in your academic background.  You are an attorney.  And you have a background in economics.  I mean, you know, you are truly the full package.  I mean you have a great background.  And I want to stress that to everyone, because, you know, Regina is a business person and a leader.  And I really think it is great how she ‑‑ I love that, when you said you don't allow your staff to use that term "supplier diversity".  I love that because you are looking at it from a business standpoint, period.  And that is really what makes all the difference. 

Looking at it is something that helps the company from the bottom line.  And that's what you are doing with your leadership, Regina.  And again thank you so much for that.  I have to ask you a question, and even when I hear you talk, I'm always thinking wow, she is so good.  As a matter of fact businesses, this would be a great conference for you.  I mean, you know, just an all around great person that you are.  So I'm going to ask you, you have won awards.  You won't believe her background.  So impressive.  It isn't exactly easy for a woman or a person of color to achieve all the things that you have in corporate America today. 
    And as you know women are fighting for equality.  And you have achieved so much.  So I want to know what gave you the fortitude and the courage to make all of this happen. 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  I share my story and this is a story that's still unfolding for me but I'm getting to a point where it is really starting to make a whole lot of sense to me as to how I arrived where I am today.  I am from a very small town in Georgia called Thomasville, Georgia.  That's about as far south in the state of Georgia that you can possibly go before you get to Tallahassee, Florida.  I was raised in a community that folks were focused on Civil Rights and education.  And I constantly said that we can be everything that we want to be.  I didn't realize until I left how incredibly insulated we were in this environment of extreme nurturing where everyone was focused on bringing themselves up through education, through a commitment to their faith, through helping out within the community.  And those are just deeply entrenched that were engrained in me.  As I branched away through college and law school and moved away from Thomasville, Georgia.  It was that nucleus within me that continued to guide me throughout my career.  I have been so incredibly blessed with mentors and sponsors.  And let me just say not all of them were minorities or diverse individuals.  Some of the greatest moves in my career have come from majority individuals who saw my talents or lead‑in leadership ability who allowed me to step in to places where I was going to take some risks and gave me a little bit of grace by taking those risks.  And folks who have continued me to encourage to say I think you can be successful.  Even at times where I looked at the opportunity and said I'm not sure that's completely for me. 

As I'm now starting to kind of look back and put all of the pieces together, you know, one of the things that I know has helped me was that foundation that I have from Thomasville, Georgia.  But the other thing that has been incredibly helpful for me is the folks and people that have been around me to help usher me to the next level.  A part of what I do now as a leader is I see myself in that role of helping other folks to access networks, access capital, access opportunities.  I have a lot of opportunities each and every day to speak with folks.  My mentoring perspective where I am serving with a mentor where folks a little bit younger and coming up through their careers.  I am talking to them about the possibilities and hopefully sharing some encouraging words. 

The other thing that's very special about the role that I'm in now is I get to interact with a number of organizations within Wells Fargo.  I serve on an internal advisory board called I Am, Too.  We have been providing grant funding to organizations who are creating these cutting edge technologies within (inaudible) and allows me to go up to Colorado and work with some of our stakeholders.  But I think of experiences like that where it is just a very niche opportunity, but because I have the seat at the table it allows me to encourage and hopefully create a pipeline of diverse businesses in to these opportunities.  And I know we have already touched on the visibility in the organization and the fact that I sit on the board of directors there.  And I am a Vice Chair of that organization along with some really incredible leaders from organizations like Microsoft and CVS and other financial services organizations.  But that's another opportunity where I am paying it forward. 

I am kind of taking all that goodness that was baked in to me and I am looking for other opportunities to really help pull either that next cohort of diverse businesses up or just in general to help provide some leadership to people who I believe can have as incredible a journey as I have had.  Now I want to say my story is not over quite yet.  We will have to see what's coming up for Regina Heyward, but I'm so incredibly thankful, Joyce, and I have been so incredibly blessed from the beginning to the point that I am right now with people and with the energy and with the vision to just continue forward. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Wow.  That's what I would say, wow.  And we are also lucky to have you.  Before we go to our news break I want to say one thing that means so much to me that this board of directors did, Disability:IN for years was called USBLN.  USBLN, this huge trade membership organization or trade organization of all the major corporations, and they had to rebrand and come up with a new name.  And they chose Disability:IN.  Not ability IN.  Not special ability IN.  Not diversability IN.  But Disability:IN.  So you know, Regina, that just did so much in the disability rights community that here is an organization where corporate leaders get it, that we are what we are, people with disabilities, you know, don't try to change our name.  I'm living with epilepsy and I'm a person with a disability.  And thank you so much for doing that, Regina.  Thank you.  And with that ‑‑

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Absolutely. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  With that we are going to get ready to go to our news break that you all know, we have a news break every half hour.  And today once again Peri Jude Radecic with Advocacy Matters is going to give us an update. 

   >> PERI JUDE RADECIC:  Hey.  Thanks, Joyce.  And thanks, Regina, for all of your work.  And we have great news today on our Advocacy Matters segment.  We are going to talk about the Disability Integration Act.  The Disability Integration Act was reintroduced in to the 116th Congress.  And it was reintroduced in both the United States House and the United States Senate.  This legislation is so important to the disabled community because it addresses a fundamental issue related to long‑term services and supports. 
    Essentially the bill protects the rights of people with disabilities to live in to the community instead of being forced in to costly institutional settings.  We bill numbers.  The Senate bill number is S117.  The house is HR555.  And this legislation has bipartisan support and as we know disability issues are bipartisan issues. 
    So we have members on this legislation like Chuck Schumer, the Senator from New York and Senator Cory Gardner who is a Republican from Colorado.  On the house side you have Jim Louis and Congressman Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin.  This bill will clarify that every individual who is eligible for long‑term services and supports has a fundamental federally protected right to a real choice in how they receive supports and services. 
    So our goal in the advocacy community, Joyce, is to pass the Disabilities Integration Act by the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  And we know that date is July 26th, 2019. 
    I'm happy to say that over 100 national organizations and 600 state and local organizations support the Disability Integration Act.  If you would like to act and send a letter to your member of Congress this week asking them to cosponsor this legislation, you can do that.  Visit us at  You can click on our Twitter or Facebook page and find the feed that will take you right to your member of Congress where you can send them a note and ask them to cosponsor this legislation. 

We know advocacy matters.  And all we need to do is push a button, send a letter and make sure disabled people live in the most integrated setting with the services and supports that allow for greater independence.  So join us this week, contact your members of Congress and send an e‑mail about the Disability Integration Act. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Thank you so much.  Boy, that is great news.  I love that bipartisan support.  And one more time the website.

   >> PERI JUDE RADECIC:  Yes.  Joyce, it is and you can click on our Twitter feed or Facebook feed.  The information is up where you can read about it and then click a link to take you right where you need to go to send a quick letter to your members of Congress at 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Thank you.  Thank you, Peri, for doing all of this great work that you do.  You are phenomenal.  And we look forward to talking to you on our weekly news break. 

   >> PERI JUDE RADECIC:  Thanks, Joyce.  Take care. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Okay.  Regina, we start to have our own CNN News break because we want to make sure people around the world but certainly here in the United States are up on, you know, any news.  And this is such good news, especially that bipartisan support. 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Exactly.  That was a great update. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Well, we like to keep everyone informed.  But Regina, I read an article in a magazine and, of course, who would be in it, but Ms. Regina Heyward, talking about unconscious bias.  And you know, you hear this term so often.  But a lot of people in corporate America such as operations people, whether it is IT, finance, marketing, all don't realize what this means.  So I thought maybe you could take a couple of minutes and talk about what is unconscious bias and do you believe that we still have that today in the workforce? 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Yes.  So I'm glad you asked me that question because I have actually been doing just a lot of not only research and studying on unconscious bias but having a lot of what I consider to be courageous conversations about those things that we might not necessarily be fully conscious or fully aware of but may be factored in to how we make decisions or how we stay up in the workplace or how we process through that which we are seeing, hearing and perceiving.  When I think about unconscious bias it is at a very high level.  It is those things that may be coming in to our minds, hearts, feelings; emotions that may not necessarily be how we actually feel or think we are perceiving information.  I think about unconscious bias as almost like an iceberg.  It is that piece of the iceberg that's underneath the water.  So when we show up each day in the workplace we are presenting ourselves in one way.  And for me the folks that I am working around are very team member oriented, teamwork oriented, people who are really trying to make the right decisions and kind of move things along.  But every now and then when we just stop and we think about hey, why did I approach that particular issue in the way that I did, or what did I really hear that maybe my colleague just said and do I have any sort of filters that may be an operation that I'm not 100% conscious or aware of. 

So taking some time to really ensure and this is how I approach unconscious bias in and of my own self.  Taking some time to think through what did I hear, what did I see, what did I feel in this situation?  How did the individual that I was interacting with really intend to come across?  And might there be anything that I'm not fully aware of that may be an operation that may be factoring in to decisions that I'm making or ways that I am actually perceiving other individuals. 
    So, you know, unconscious bias is very nuanced; and it is a bit complex.  But to me it is really an opportunity for us to take time to get to know each other just a little bit better.  And I have also learned from myself that it is an opportunity for me to pause, reflect and observe when I come in to a situation where I may be quick to maybe react or make a decision based on something that has happened in my past.  Or something that I may have heard that I'm not even aware is still active.  Maybe in my mind or in my space.  I do think we are in an interesting time from a ‑‑ just a societal perspective in that it is very much accepted for us to have the conversation.  And I personally like that.  When I think about my 20‑year career it feels like we are at a great inflection point where being able to be transparent, being able to be open, being able to be candid in conversations with others is absolutely not only expected but it is very, very helpful.  I feel that as long as we can kind of keep that openness, and we can keep that real transparent dialogue coming to the forefront, that we have a great opportunity.  And as I talked about at the beginning of this broadcast the opportunity that I see is to really ensure that we are getting contributions from everyone.  That's how our economy is going to win.  That's how society is going to win.  That's how our communities are going to win.  That's how families are going to win. 

Anything that may be shutting down the contribution of everyone is something that I think we all have to be fully conscious of.  Fully aware of.  And really working intently to change.  And just to bring it back to Wells Fargo, I think they have an interesting approach to space of diversity and inclusion.  And this is where we get to have a lot of conversations internally about unconscious bias.  We focus on inclusion from a team member perspective.  That's where we are striving to have a culture where policies and programs and engaging, retaining team members is really oriented to ensure that we have the best talent and that talent is diverse.  So we think about the marketplace that's where supplier diversity comes in.  And we integrate diversity and inclusion in to the business decisions we make every day.  So every category, every sourcing event, we are thinking about how do we ensure that we have an inclusive slate of venders.  And sometimes that means sitting down with our business and supply chain management team, with our supplier diversity team and having some real candid conversations about who is in the market place.  How are we approaching this deal?  Are we thinking differently here or are we coming back to an incumbent.  Those conversations allow us to chip away at maybe any status quo assumptions. 

And then this last space of advocacy, my team is out in the marketplace about 80 times a year, conferences, mentoring sessions.  We are investing over 3 million dollars a year in building capacity with universities like Stanford and Dartmouth, where we are sending diverse business owners for executive education.  We have some great stories about disability‑owned businesses.  The owner of Gemini who has benefitted from our program up at Dartmouth and we are looking at advocacy.  It is also what we are doing out in the community that matters, through providing opportunities for small diverse businesses to grow.  Through working with organizations like Disability:IN and AATD to advance the rights and the platforms for people with disabilities. 

And really when I think about that it makes me so encouraged that Wells Fargo as a corporate citizen that is stepping in to spaces that are beyond the shareholder value space but thinking about the responsibility we have as a corporate citizen. 

So the answer to the question about unconscious bias but I think it is really important that we understand what it is.  And that we have that conversation.  And that as Wells Fargo is doing that we are thinking about really strategic, tangible tactical ways that we can be a part of positive change and sometimes positive change means being able to sit face to face with someone who you may not know or you may not normally interact with and just simply getting to know that person on a human to human, person to person basis. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Well, I have a couple more questions about that.  But right now before we close the show, we are going to go to break.  And then we'll be back again with Regina.  This is Joyce Bender, America's voice where disability matters at  Don't go away.  We will be right back with Regina Heyward.  

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Hi everyone.  Welcome back.  If you just joined us we have been talking today to Regina Heyward, the senior vice‑president and head of supplier diversity and supply chain management who I feel is just a great advocate, a great leader.  Someone that includes everyone including us, people with disabilities.  And when you were talking about unconscious bias, Regina, just as an example, would this be like someone as they grew up, when they heard about people with disabilities, they heard more about poor them, and oh, it is a shame, you know, glad that isn't me.  And then they get a job and would that unconscious bias be something like, you know, I don't want to hire this person because they really just need charity or, you know, someone to help them but they wouldn't be like a productive person.  Would that be an example of what you mean? 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  You know, I think those could be and are valid examples.  Think about unconscious bias, it is really those perspectives that we have that don't necessarily come from any sort of one‑on‑one observation that we have made or experience that we have had.  It could come from something that we heard or just say a belief that maybe is a part of our family system.  But it is coming from somewhere other than the reality of the situation.  And so, you know, one of the things that we have to do and one of the things that I'm very thankful that we do at Wells Fargo is we have to set conditions where people have the opportunity to be included then have the opportunity to succeed.  I mean the question you asked me earlier about, you know, how did I make it to where I am, I wouldn't have been here if there weren't people until my past that, you know, looked at me for who I absolutely and positively love at that time and have the potential in me and gave me the opportunity to work in jobs where I had progressive responsibility and management level accountabilities and then provide new feedback of how to get better. 

None of us come in to the world fully locked and loaded to do just about anything.  We all have to learn and grow.  And as long as we are setting conditions for success that give everyone that opportunity, I think we are going to be very successful as a country and as a society.  Some of the examples that you gave there those are absolutely examples where having a close‑minded perspective or allowing unconscious bias to really fester within an organization can literally harm and hurt an organization's abilities to be able to accelerate forward. 

And let's just be frank.  We are in such a competitive business environment today that, you know, limiting or having limited beliefs or having unconscious bias operating within an organization that's not going to get you where you want to go.  It is really all about right now being as innovative and creative, as inclusive and as open as we possibly can be to ensure that we have a seat at the table for everyone that wants to be at that table. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Well, there you go.  When you were just saying that I'm thinking, of course, you would want a diverse, you know, environment that includes people with disabilities.  Because these can be your consumers and just as you are, you know, score every year very high in the disability equality index, you just through your leadership and that participation also causes people with disabilities to say wow, you know, this is a great place to work.  And ‑‑

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Yes. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  ‑‑ and I want to purchase from them.  I want to bank with them.  So, you know, it goes both ways.  When you are hiring people with disabilities, then you are talking to people with a disability.  It is like wow, they hired people.  I feel good about going there. 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Yes, yes.  Absolutely.  And you think about, you know, as a country with the unemployment rate, you know, varying amongst diverse communities, although the overall unemployment rate is at about 4%, we got to make sure that we are being inclusive within bringing people with disabilities in to the workforce.  We just have to do that.  It is no longer a good thing to do.  It is about ensuring as a society that we have enough folks to continue to be competitive across all industries.  And so, you know, that makes me very excited.  But it also makes me really lean on others in corporate America to say we need you to be a part of Disability:IN.  We need you to ensure that you are coming to recruit.  Well, Wells Fargo brings recruiting teams in to the Disability:IN conference just as we bring our supply chain management teams and marketing teams and other folks in to the conference.  And we are hiring people for roles.  Had a great situation about a year and a half ago where there was a young man here in Charlotte that was working for another corporation and I met him at the conference and he sent me his resume.  And we were able to snatch him up and bring him over to Wells Fargo.  And he is working within our technology division.  And we brought him to the Disability:IN last year with us. 

Back to the point of competition, absolutely.  I was super excited when he called me and told me he had joined the stage coach.  When we think about this, Joyce, absolutely.  It is very important that we are approaching what's happening within the country, what's happening within the diversity community, opportunity for people with disabilities from the standpoint of we are better as a country, as a society, as companies when we have the collective mind thrust of individuals participating.  And absolutely positively that includes people with disabilities. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  And I have to say that if you haven't been to this Disability:IN conference you are really, really losing out because I just feel it is such a great place.  First of all, to meet other great leaders like Regina where you can sit down and talk and say hey, how does this work for you and get ideas from them,  And the conference is in July.  And guess what, you will be able to meet Regina Heyward because she will be there.  So Ms. Regina, what message would you like to leave with our listeners today? 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  First of all, I want to say thank you to you for your leadership and for continuing to carry the mantel for people with disabilities.  Not only as a business owner but also as a powerful and influential advocate in this space.  I want to say to your listeners that I appreciate this platform and this ability to come back and talk about the work that's happening at Wells Fargo and how we are continuing to set increased goals for ourselves, not only in supplier diversity but across our business in diversity and inclusion.  I have to mention that we have a wonderful advocate within Wells Fargo in Kathy Martinez who has been so incredibly active in helping Wells Fargo to orient its strategy and strategies across the business in relation to people with disabilities and Kathy are tied together hand in hand to ensure that we are working with our senior leaders, our executives and teams at Wells Fargo. 

So more to come from us on our people with disabilities strategies.  And look forward to any and every opportunity, Joyce, that I might have to spend with you.  You have been incredible and I hope that everyone has enjoyed today. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Oh, I know that everyone has enjoyed today.  And Regina, thank you so much for being our guest and sharing your thoughts with people throughout the world. 
    Thank you.  I know how busy you are.  And I loved having you on the show. 

   >> REGINA HEYWARD:  Thank you, Joyce.  Thanks, everyone. 

   >> JOYCE BENDER:  Well, before we go, I end every show with a quote.  And today it is from Albert Einstein who says "Imagination is more important than knowledge."  And how true that is.  This is Joyce Bender, America's voice where disability matters at  Talk to you next week.


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