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Home  >  All News  >  American Express Chief Colleague Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Talent Officer Sonia Cargan Explains What It Takes to Impactfully Progress DE&I in the Workplace
January 27, 2022

American Express Chief Colleague Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Talent Officer Sonia Cargan Explains What It Takes to Impactfully Progress DE&I in the Workplace

For an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Cargan shares the importance of a holistic strategy, transparency, feedback, and accountability

American Express - Sonia Cargan

In a recent interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, the leading business, investing, and wealth-building resource for the Black community, American Express Chief Colleague Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Talent Officer Sonia Cargan elaborated on American Express’ commitment to advancing its long history of building an inclusive culture, which has been essential to driving the business’ success and to making the company a great place to work. In 2020, American Express achieved 100% pay equity for colleagues across genders globally and across races and ethnicities in the United States with a commitment to maintain this going forward. Among the Company’s executive committee, 56% were reported as women or from diverse backgrounds.

 

To continue this momentum and create impactful, long-term change, Cargan, who has been recognized by Business Insider as a DE&I trailblazer transforming the workplace, told BLACK ENTERPRISE that: “Creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all is a transformational journey—one of continuous learning, growth, and progress.” Cargan added, “It’s important for companies to think through the lifecycle of the colleague experience. Recruiting diverse talent is only one part of the experience.”

 

Initiatives created by American Express to promote a diverse and inclusive culture include supporting a wide range of colleague networks, development programs, and opportunities for dialogue and feedback.

 

When asked how companies can ensure DE&I is recognized as an actionable priority, Cargan outlined the following:

 

  • Create a holistic strategy. Words are powerful and actions are important, but when these are part of a holistic strategy, that’s when meaningful and sustainable impact really happens. At American Express, our DE&I efforts are a fundamental part of our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy.

  • Be transparent and seek feedback. Through transparency, we hold ourselves accountable and not only stand by our words but put them into action. In May 2021, we published our full U.S. workforce EEO-1 data in our DE&I Progress Report. Each year, we conduct an annual online Colleague Experience Survey to better understand the needs of our colleagues and perspectives, and our board of directors and senior management review the results. Feedback from our colleagues suggests that they feel valued and agree that we have their backs.

  • Hold yourselves accountable. Our board plays a key role in guiding our annual company scorecard, which we use to measure our performance on business priorities. This scorecard includes a colleague component with goals related to diversity, talent, and culture making up 15% of the scorecard. We reflect this strategic focus in our recruitment, hiring and, promotion practices across the company to attract, develop, and retain the best talent and enhance diverse representation among our colleagues.

 

To read Cargan’s full interview in BLACK ENTERPRISE, visit here.

 

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