Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Local credit union’s mission to diversify membership, leadership

How advancing DEI efforts is helping OneAZ Credit Union develop partnerships and better represent the communities they serve

PHOENIX, Ariz. (STN) — As Arizona’s population steadily transitions toward a minority-majority demographic, it becomes imperative for organizations and businesses to accurately mirror the diverse communities in which they operate.

“When you think [of a] credit union, you don’t immediately think inclusive,” remarked Liza Buchanan, Senior Vice President of Marketing Operations at OneAZ Credit Union. “In fact, at one point, you kind of had to be part of an exclusive group to join a credit union. So, all of that has had to change. As we examine the changing face of Arizona, we’re also considering who we need to be to truly serve the community we represent.”

During a panel discussion for the December episode of “It Happens at STN,” Buchanan emphasized the critical need for businesses like OneAZ Credit Union to recognize the necessity of evolving alongside the state’s demographics, both in customer recruitment and in building diverse leadership teams within the organization.

“We can’t claim to be inclusive and serving those communities unless we are ready on the inside,” she stated. “We had to ensure that our associates felt safe in an inclusive space where they could be themselves, so they were prepared to bring people in and treat them the same way.”

Watch the video below to learn more about OneAZ’s inclusivity efforts:

According to Buchanan’s projections, Arizona is anticipated to become a minority-majority state within the next seven years, well ahead of the nation as a whole.

OneAZ’s mission to authentically represent and address the needs of each community in the Phoenix metro area drew the attention of Carlos Velasco, the founder and CEO of Novle, a marketing company focused on cultivating enduring relationships within multicultural communities.

“We’re very grateful to have the opportunity to work with OneAZ Credit Union and the framework we create for our clients in relation to how we help them integrate into multicultural communities,” Velasco remarked about Novle’s partnership with OneAZ. “[It] allows us to think strategically about developing partnerships and working on marketing communication in a way that communicates a commitment to these communities for the long term.”

Velasco highlighted that it is OneAZ’s sustained commitment to inclusivity efforts that excites him the most about the future of the partnership.

“We’re not trying to come in, spend our dollars, and just take the money and run,” he explained. “We’re excited about diversity, equity, and inclusion, but understand that it’s here for the long haul. This is just the beginning.”

While Buchanan acknowledges that success in OneAZ’s efforts to be a good partner and better represent the communities they serve will be measured over time, the commitment to diversity and inclusion is already yielding positive results in recruitment.

“I would say, solidly, nine out of 10 people that we interview will comment that the reason they were interested in working for a credit union was because they saw how inclusive our culture was, and that was the kind of place they were looking for,” she concluded. “So, this decision has to be committed to in order to attract the best talent and truly serve the Arizona population.”

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