Each day at SMBC Americas Division, we leverage Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) as one critical element of our strategic plan to shape an inclusive culture and add value to our Bank’s bottom line. Our vision is to establish and to sustain a strong culture of inclusivity that is modeled, measured, and reinforced at every level throughout our organization.FOCUS ON INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY AT THE TOP

Inclusion and diversity are championed at the most senior levels of our Bank where the mission is to continue fostering an environment where inclusion and diversity are embedded core values and employees feel empowered to use 100% of their capabilities at work every day.

At our General Manager and Presidents’ Conference in April 2018, Howard Tiegel, Chief Human Resources Officer of the Americas Division, presented a roadmap of activities for the next few years.

“We are going to be taking a number of steps that will show our strong intentionality to make meaningful change in growing the diversity among our senior leadership ranks while continuously improving the quality of our organization,” Howard shared at the conference. “Our other goals will include recruiters who are focused on a varied slate of candidates and enterprise-wide training on inclusion and diversity as well as placing an I&D lens across all of our HR processes and the development of an ’inclusion index’ to measure hiring, promotions, and turnover/retention trends.”

The greatest impact of this strategy in the short term will be the creation of the Bank’s Executive Diversity Council comprised of senior management and other key stakeholders. This group will be responsible for linking our I&D strategy with enterprise aims and objectives, trend analysis, multi-level communications, and a focus on a long-term change process strategy.

Mike Sebring, Director, Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Americas Division, is overseeing the Bank’s I&D strategy.  Mike has taken great care in advancing a long-term plan that was developed collaboratively with stakeholders and approved by SMBC Americas Division CEO Nobuyuki Kawabata. The strategy incorporates the best of our Japanese and American cultures while ensuring alignment with our corporate vision and values.

Shortly after the strategy was approved, Mike shared some of his thoughts about going forward. “For several years we have had a grassroots effort supporting I&D initiatives through the Bank’s two Enterprise Resource Groups (ERGs): Our Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN), facilitating and advancing women’s initiatives, and our NIJI Pride Network, focused on LGBTQA topics and initiatives. Our intentionality now is to increase our top-down messaging and middle-out execution of inclusive measures.”

It is my responsibility to help others to understand the positive impact of inclusion and how individual behaviors can enhance performance, culture, beliefs, and acceptance of others who are different from you. Each person’s perspectives can be so engrained that it is difficult for them to accept change and to be open to understanding others. Culture change happens when we can create an environment of intentionality where leaders focus on I&D initiatives with importance equal to any other critical business imperative,” Mike added.


For SMBC, our inclusion and diversity strategy is anchored to four long-term strategic objectives:

  1. Workplace Inclusion
  2. Workforce Diversity
  3. Communication
  4. Collaboration

These objectives were chosen to support our emphasis on inclusion and ultimately, to enhance individual and enterprise-wide performance. They are supported by a framework that has been designed to execute the strategy under the acronym T.H.R.I.V.E. (Talent, Holistic, Reputation, Intentional, Value, and Engagement). This framework will allow for a broad range of initiatives that can flex and grow with our progress as well as our firm’s continued growth.

Mike said, “This approach will also enable the SMBC Americas Division to align with our global partners across many organizational and leadership competencies. It’s an exciting time for SMBC.”

If you are interested in finding out more about I&D efforts at SMBC, please contact Mike Sebring, Director, Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Americas Division at 212-353-7108.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation is a Japanese banking corporation and a wholly owned banking subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC Group). The Americas Division of SMBC Group has offices and subsidiaries in New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Toronto, Bogota, Leon, Lima, Mexico City, Santiago, and Sao Paulo, and provides a broad range of financial products and services through its international network. For more information about SMBC Group please visit: www.smbcgroup.com.

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