Meet Dana Young
Want to know how Diversity & Inclusion is embedded in the fabric of everything we do? Hear more from our employees about their experiences.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I currently work as a Senior KYC Specialist in the Client Lifecycle & Digital/ Know Your Customer team and have been with SG for over three years now. Before joining Societe Generale, I worked as a KYC Officer at JPMorgan Chase & Co and Business Strategy Analyst at Jefferies & Company, where I was both actively involved in the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). In addition to my role, I am a Board member of the Black Leadership Network (BLN), which has given me the opportunity to engage and collaborate with remarkable members and allies to help create innovative solutions to help strengthen diversity and inclusion within SG. I'm also a Culture & Conduct Champion, so I conduct new hire interviews and contribute to the best practices working group to help drive company culture and core values.
Due to the pandemic, I decided to grow a forest in my tiny apartment and take virtual cooking classes featuring Food Network Chopped Champion – Chefleen, which has been very therapeutic with all that is going on in our country. Burned a few dishes, but my nephews survived and still think I am their coolest auntie. I've also had a chance to catch up on a few insightful movies, such as ‘The Banker' about the federal redlining that denied Black families access to mortgages and homeownership, and listening to podcasts.
What does "bringing your whole self to work" mean to you?
It means showing up ‘as you are' rather than trying to assimilate or conform in order to blend in. This also means being in an inclusive environment where you ‘matter,' and it fosters interpersonal bonds that allows you to feel comfortable being your authentic self. By bringing my whole self to work, I can focus more on being innovative, engaged and contributing effectively at work.
As a Black woman, I felt the pressure to conform very early in my career to corporate America's standards to avoid being castigated or judged, which meant me chemically processing my hair, concealing my Caribbean accent, not raising my tone and withholding parts of myself. This manifested into mental exhaustion; hence I decided to only work for companies that fostered Diversity & Inclusion and environments where people can proudly be their best selves.
Over the course of the past few years, what changes have you seen?
When I started my career in finance as an intern at a large Wall Street firm, I recall being the only Black female in the program. There were a few Black employees; however, only one Black senior executive in the entire company who became my mentor.
Fast forward to 2020, there are still very few Black executives today, and research shows that only 3.2 percent of executives and senior manager-level employees are Black. I remain super hopeful and truly believe there is still much more to do to move our society forward. I am committed to real change, and that is why I am so enthusiastic about BLN's dedicated involvement with HR recruitment to increase the hiring pool of talented, diverse candidates at SG. As Marian Wright Edelman said, "You can't be what you can't see."
What would you like allies to know?
Inclusive companies are powerful! We all have the opportunity to shape our environment for the better or worse. The time is now. It takes a village to create change, and it's all of our responsibilities, not just people of color. Even if it doesn't affect you directly, we can't thrive collectively if some of us are suffering.
Our allies are so essential, and ERGs rely on your active involvement and support.
There are a lot of ways that you can be an active ally. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Join a club or Employee Resource Group as an ally: Look at how you can have an impact on their activities and on your colleagues' lives. Engage and recognize the diversity among members. Everyone's experience is different, and we are a very diverse group of members from around the world.
- Show your support: participate in events, and get to know your colleagues or classmates. This also includes becoming a sponsor and/or mentor.
- Listen actively and openly: make yourself available and generously listen with an open mind. Avoid invalidating or minimizing someone's experience.
- Contribute to hiring efforts: If your company is hiring, make sure the candidate pool is diverse. You can also support ERGs in their outreach efforts.
- Educate yourself: There are so many books, films, and podcasts. Also, you can look at who you're following on social media and make a conscious effort to follow more diverse voices. Look at your intentions and ask yourself why you're doing this and how you can help.
Really ask yourself what type of world you want to live in, what side of history do you want to be on? What type of legacy do you want to create for yourself? What type of world do you want to see? Only people who look like you, or people with different backgrounds. What kind of change can you be part of to make that happen in your environment?