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World of Opportunity

Two Afro-Latinas drive diversity

By Rafael Romero

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Two dynamic Afro-Latinas, Samantha Santos and Kira Córdoba-Brown, are helping drive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at Citi. 

As Managing Director, Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy, Santos advances Citi’s goals for DEI through partnerships with senior leaders and serves as the DEI Center of Excellence liaison enterprise wide. A New York native, Santos brought over 20 years of experience in human resources from companies such as Goldman Sachs, Meta, and Bloomberg. 

Citing CEO Jane Fraser, Santos explains just how expansive these goals are. In September 2022, Citi CEO Jane Fraser announced aspirational representation goals for 2025, including U.S. Hispanic and Latino talent at 16% and Black talent at 11.5% in North America. For women, the aspirational goal for 2025 is 43.5% globally. In the area of campus recruiting, the aspirational goal for underrepresented communities in North America is 30% and is 3.5% for LGBTQ+ colleagues globally. Citing CEO Jane Fraser’s blog, Santos explains just how ambitious these goals are.

“At Citi, we're really on a journey with our DEI strategy, and we know we must do more to address the evolving macro-demographics of our world,” said Santos. “As such, we established the Hispanic and Latino representation goals in the U.S. and also Black and Pardo goals in Brazil to grow our diverse talent at Citi.” 

“We also continue to evolve and prioritize intersectionality, especially given that no community is a monolith. There’s a breadth of cultures, experiences, identities, etc. across the Hispanic and Latino community, so we’re taking a phased approach to meet the needs of our colleagues across regions. For example, this year, we'll focus more on the Afro-Latino experience because we have a multicultural, multi-ethnic workforce and it is critical that we recognize intersectionality.

Córdoba-Brown is the Head of Talent & Diversity/Inclusion for the Institutional Clients Group (ICG). In this role, she is responsible for overseeing, developing and implementing the diversity strategy for the division. A 16-year veteran of Citi, she’s served in other roles such as program manager for the consumer banking analyst and associate programs.

Córdoba-Brown affirms that Citi’s aspirational goal of 16% inclusion is combined with a renewed focus on Latino talent. “This year, we have increased commitment to the Latino market,” she says.
Santos elaborates that to achieve this, “We’re curating action level initiatives.”

One such program at Citi is Un Momento con mi Mentor, which pairs senior leaders with employees for career advice and networking. It also includes service employees and helps create marketing insights.

“It’s been a  successful program,” says Santos proudly, noting that’s it’s become very popular with those in the bank’s employee resource group, known as the Hispanic/Latino Heritage Inclusion Network.  There are ten inclusion networks at Citi, such as Asian Heritage, Black Heritage, Disability, and Pride (LGBTQ+). Each network has chapters, which are open to all employees. Overall, there are more than 240 chapters in 55+ countries, with 32,000 participating members.
Santos has a mentor of her own in Erika Irish Brown, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and Global Head of Talent at Citi. Both executives have worked together in prior roles throughout the years.

Citi engages with Latinos not just within the company but externally as well. Cordoba-Brown counts off the many Latino groups the bank supports, including HACR (Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility) and HITEC.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, HACR represents 14 national Hispanic organizations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with a mission to advance Hispanic inclusion in corporate America. According to HACR’s website, this is “a corporate accountability survey that assesses companies’ Hispanic inclusion efforts and outcomes.” It collects data in four areas: Employment, Procurement, Philanthropy and Governance.

“We participate in the HACR Corporate Inclusion Index,” says Santos. “This gives us an opportunity to show how we're showing up as an inclusive employer, particularly for the Hispanic and Latino community. We’re committed to continuing our involvement in the inclusion index and have supported it year over year.” 

According to HACR’s website, this is “a corporate accountability survey that assesses companies’ Hispanic inclusion efforts and outcomes.” It collects data in four areas: Employment, Procurement, Philanthropy and Governance.

Córdoba-Brown also cites Citi’s support for HITEC, which empowers Hispanic technology professionals and provides “culturally relevant leadership development, educational programming, and mentoring.”

Both leaders are proud of their accomplishments and proud of Citi’s commitment to creating an environment where all Hispanic and Latino can thrive alongside all colleagues. The global banking giant has 240,000 employees and millions of customers in over 160 countries.

“As an Afro-Latina, I am proud of the accomplishments that I have achieved in an organization as big and diverse as Citi, says Cordoba-Brown. “This organization takes into account the intersectionality of my personal experiences and hones in on how to develop me based on my goals and aspirations. The programming that we have built out and continue to refine shows the desire to do the same for all our diverse talent, with a focus on our Hispanic/Latino colleagues. I couldn’t be prouder of the work that our teams are doing to enhance engagement, development and retention of this population.”

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