Blog Post

Wells Fargo’s Native Peoples Team Member Network: Small, but Mighty

March 22, 2016
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By: Mike Miller, Communications Chair, Wells Fargo NPTMN (Enterprise)

When you are a company as large as Wells Fargo, with 275,000 employees (as of 2015), promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives presents a formidable challenge. It’s not only the number of employees – Team Members in our vernacular, which is an important distinction – but also the geographic locations in which we are all based: we have team members located around the world, and in the U.S. alone in nearly all of the 50 states, including D.C. A broad, or macro, approach would not work – messages would be diluted (at best) or “lost in the wash” (at worst).

The solution: Team Member Networks. Wells Fargo currently has ten (10) Team Member Networks (TMNs) that focus efforts on a specific diverse segment. One of those is the Native Peoples Team Member Network (NPTMN) – the “Small, but Mighty”.

Our Mission Statement:

We are Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, and non-Native team members committed to the support and education of all Wells Fargo team members concerning the value and culture of Native peoples.

The Native Peoples Team Member Network helps provide insight and understanding to the company concerning the value and culture of Native peoples.

We encourage team members to:

  • Work with us to find opportunities for career development, networking, and community outreach.
  • Learn with us to understand the richness of our heritage and our future.

Who We Are:

As of this publication, the Native Peoples TMN has over 1,064 members across the Wells Fargo enterprise, which is a 21% year-over-year membership increase. How do we get the word out regarding our Team Member Network?

  • Line of Business Diversity Calls – diversity and inclusion is actively encouraged at Wells Fargo, so being tapped by team members across our lines of business to attend conference calls and speak about Native Peoples is a great way to build career skills and promote our work
  • Diversity Fairs – in locations with concentrated team members, diversity fairs allow us to set up a table and display and provide that important person-to-person touchpoint
  • Team Member Network Campaigns/Profiles – Wells Fargo does a fantastic job promoting the various TMNs – including Native Peoples TMN – by way of internal communications, posters, postcards, and Teamworks stories (our “home page” for all WF and line of business news)

Spotlighting our Native Peoples Team Member Network and increasing membership is a boon, but it would all fall apart if not for successful management. The leadership structure we employ is consistent across all Wells Fargo TMNs and includes the following required positions:

  • Enterprise Level: President, Vice President, Communication Chair, Finance Chair, Marketplace Outcomes Chair, Team Member Outcomes Chair
  • Executive Sponsors: our ambassadors back to Wells Fargo leaders
  • Chapter Level: President, Vice President, Communication Chair, Finance Chair, Marketplace Outcomes Chair, Team Member Outcomes Chair

The win with this organizational structure is not only oversight, transparency, accountability, and consistency from TMN to TMN and chapter to chapter, but we also provide interested and motivated team members an opportunity to serve in leadership roles. It harkens back to one of the main points in our mission statement, which is to provide skill building and promote networking for our TMN members, and meshes with Wells Fargo’s idea of active and engaged team members.

In addition to leadership, and it sounds trite and rote, but effective communication is key. We hold monthly meetings with the NPTMN President where all enterprise and chapter TMN leads attend and we perform a round-robin for updates, notices, and accomplishments. When key events, articles or requests need to be shared with our 1,064 members, I collaborate on the message with the originating party (if applicable) and send out via the chapter communication chairs. It’s very much a top-down/bottom-up process that works great for our TMN: it empowers our members to work with us and vice versa.

What Sets Us Apart

We benefit greatly from our partnership with the Tribal Advocacy group within Wells Fargo. This group provides funding/financial services to tribal entities (home loans, business credit, etc.), but also includes ties to the Government and Philanthropic team. This pairing allows us to not only see the immediate returns on Wells Fargo’s efforts to impact our communities from a marketplace focus, but also provides us events to participate in to personally realize the great work we are achieving. One great example is the $3MM education grant Wells Fargo recently awarded the American Indian Graduate Center for tribal students, which is effective January 2016 for the next three years. Another is a tribal land development business case review that would have been otherwise stonewalled had this connectivity with our Team Member Network not existed.

The ability to spotlight, promote and sustain marketplace outcomes with tribal communities puts us in a unique position to see real, impactful results.

Highlights and Accomplishments:

It’s been mentioned twice that Native Peoples TMN is small and mighty – it’s not stated lightly. Here are some accomplishments of which we are quite proud:

  • Wells Fargo awarded a $2 million grant to GRID Alternatives for their Tribal Solarthon initiative, which kicked off end of September in Bishop, CA for the Bishop Paiute tribe
    • Some of our Native Peoples members volunteered at the CA solarthon event
    • GRID Alternatives provides and installs solar power energy solutions, as well as on the job training and career development opportunities
    • They will also perform installs in: Arizona, South Dakota and New York
  • Partnered with a Charlotte, NC non-profit for the Wells Fargo 2015 Flash Philanthropy event, which saw the non-profit awarded a $1,000 grant.
  • Diversity Best Practices/Network + Affinity Leadership Conference – honorable mention at 2015 Above and Beyond Awards (external peer recognition)
  • AK chapter represented Wells Fargo at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, which is a 3 day annual event hosting Alaskan natives from across the state
    • Presented our TMN curated traveling exhibit
    • Coordinated a staffed table of financial experts to provide financial education
  • AZ chapter recognized for Community Impact Award
    • Over 350 volunteer hours
    • Raised over $139,000 since 2014 for local AZ charities
  • NM chapter annually represents Wells Fargo at the Gathering of Nations Powwow
    • Volunteers lead activities and games for the event, which sees over 100,00 attendees
    • Hand out Wells Fargo promotional items as ambassadors of our company
  • Virtual chapter led three successful efforts:
    • Curated the small and large traveling exhibits, which include Native American artifacts and can be requested and sent to team members across the Wells Fargo enterprise
    • Coordinated the Made With Love campaign – receive donated or hand-made outerwear items to send to reservations: expected to hit close to 1,000 donated items
    • Native Peoples Reading Awareness – 60 team members reading A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry to schools and other non-profits (in progress)
  • Identified chapter presidents for new chapters in California and Minnesota