What D&I innovations has Freddie Mac planned for 2010? In 2010, one of our primary objectives is to increase diversity representation in the company’s officer and senior director ranks. This objective will be met by continuing to focus on ensuring that all interview slates are diverse, and seeing that current senior management supports diverse career events and networking opportunities. Additionally, the Executive Diversity Council, which is led by our CEO Ed Haldeman, will be focused on ensuring we meet this objective.
Most company leaders say diversity drives business results. What part did diversity and inclusion play in your company’s 2009 growth? Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential to the success of the company and its critical mission to stabilize the housing market and support the nation’s economic recovery. We recognize that attracting, retaining, and harnessing top talent from diverse backgrounds and cultivating a spirit of inclusion within our workforce is essential to successfully fulfilling this mission and serving our customers, business partners, and our diverse communities.
Last year, we took important steps to increase diversity representation within our workforce and among our senior leadership, foster a more inclusive culture, and better serve our diverse communities. Some of our diversityrelated successes include:
Freddie Mac is truly a diverse workplace: with almost 50 percent of our population female and 44 percent minority, we embrace a multitude of cultures. Last year, minorities made up 44 percent of the total new hires and 42 percent of all promotions. Also, 48 percent of our officer promotions in 2009 were female and 26 percent were minority.
Freddie Mac’s seven dynamic Employee Network Groups (ENGs) work tirelessly to ensure that all of our employees understand and appreciate the various cultures in the workplace. The network groups host a variety of monthly and bi-monthly events such as DNA testing to discover one’s African Heritage; a recent event with Karem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy; leadership panels; and career coaching, just to name a few. Throughout the year, more than a quarter of our employees actively participate in network sponsored events.
This year, our new CEO Ed Haldeman kicked off events sponsored by the ARISE and ASIAN Employee Network Groups, and hosted last year’s Employee Network Group Recognition Luncheon.
We also encourage our employees to participate in professional development programs organized by diverse organizations such as National Black MBA, National Association of Black Accountants, Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, and the Executive Leadership Council.
Freddie Mac continues to be recognized in the marketplace as an ‘Employer of Choice’ in several ‘best places’ lists including Hispanic Business Top 60 Diversity Elite Companies, Working Mother 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers, Black Enterprise Top 40 Companies for Diversity, Latina Style 50 Best Companies for Latinas, and Black Collegian Top 100 U.S. Employers, to name a few.
In addition, many of our executives have received individual recognition, including our Chief Diversity Officer as one of 50 Working Mothers from across the country by Working Mother magazine, Senior Vice President Ingrid Beckles, and Vice President Tricia McClung as top 100 Women Worth Watching® by Profiles in Diversity Journal, Senior Vice Presidents Dwight Robinson and Paul Mullings as Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America by Savoy magazine, and Vice President zenia Raudsepp as a Top 20 Elite Woman of the Year by Hispanic Business magazine.
Freddie Mac also continues to be a leader in the community. In 2009, we contributed more than $2.2 million in funding to local nonprofit organizations, many of which serve ethnic minority communities.
What resources are allocated to diversity? We have a dedicated Office of Diversity & Inclusion, led by Freddie Mac’s Chief Diversity Officer, Tujuanna B. Williams. The team includes two senior diversity advisors and support staff, as well as a separate Supplier Diversity team. This office integrates and aligns senior leadership’s vision with daily business practices, and communicates goals and progress to the organization.
The diversity and inclusion budget sufficiently supports all outreach activity, education, career, and networking events. Additionally, the seven ENGs are funded through the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
How does Freddie Mac deal with/train for cross-cultural competencies for its leadership? What accountability do you employ to meet objectives? Diversity and inclusion training that raises awareness and builds skills is a cornerstone of professional development for both senior management and employees at Freddie Mac.
We provide the training and skills employees and senior leaders can use to forge strong relationships, and make a positive impact on our corporate environment. Our instructor-led and web-based diversity training and education programs include a mandatory on-line training module for all new hires, and seven different instructor-led courses offered through the year.
Some of the topics these courses are focused on include:
- Four Generations—Four Approaches to Work
- Enhancing Your Cultural Competency
- Managing Micro-Triggers
- Exploring Unconscious Bias
- Self-Efficacy (for African Americans, LGBTs, Hispanics/Latinos, Women, and Asians)
- Recruiting Through a Diversity Lens
- Performance, Image, and Exposure: P.I.E. —Your Competitive Advantage
Who chairs your company’s diversity council? How are decisions about diversity made in your organization? Freddie Mac will be launching its first internal executive diversity council this year, led by the CEO, Ed Haldeman. The council will meet regularly to establish and review the diversity and inclusion goals and progress.
How does a company in an industry as fastchanging as yours keep up with diversity development throughout the organization? Recognizing that the market is ever-changing, our diversity and inclusion efforts are even more focused on meeting corporate objectives, particularly in this current housing and economic climate.
Last year, we made progress in increasing diversity representation—both within our workforce, and among our leadership—to be representative of the diverse communities that we serve. We also continued to provide employees with dynamic and comprehensive diversity training and education, partnered with numerous diversity-focused organizations to recruit diverse candidates and stay abreast of diversity best practices, provided employees with competitive benefits and professional development opportunities, and helped strengthen children and families in diverse communities through our philanthropic and housing-related efforts.
Sometimes diversity is referred to as a ‘numbers game.’ How does your company know its culture is not just tied up in numbers? How do the human stories circulate in-house/celebrate success? At Freddie Mac, diversity is much more than a ‘numbers game’—we are cultivating a work environment where everyone feels included and has a responsibility for appreciating, respecting, and celebrating our differences.
Our diversity is woven into everything we do, and we have a number of opportunities for employees to participate in a myriad of diversity programs and activities, including Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Asian Lunar New Year activities; diversity training and education sessions; and external diversity networking and recruiting events. We not only strive to recruit top diverse candidates, but foster an inclusive culture within our workforce that recognizes and celebrates the unique similarities and differences of all of our employees.
How are employees more involved in diversity and inclusion efforts at the company than they were two years ago? Our ENGs are open to all employees and provide opportunities for professional advancement and personal development, as well as an open environment to share insights and network. Participation in these network groups has increased year after year; today, more than 25 percent of our employees participate in network-sponsored events.
In 2008, the Employee Network Ambassador program was launched to support the efforts of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. These volunteer Ambassadors accompany recruiters to diversity recruiting events to provide potential candidates with an objective perspective about the company culture. The Ambassadors also greet all new hires within the first 60 days of employment, to welcome them to the company and deliver a packet of information about Freddie Mac’s diversity and inclusion offerings.
Our employees also take part in our robust diversity training and education programs throughout the year. Last year, more than 40% of our workforce participated in diversity education and training and employees participated in more than 60 instructor-led training workshops. This denotes a significant year over year increase.
How are employees’ opinions solicited/ valued, and responded to? Employees are able to offer their opinions and/ or make suggestions on a variety of topics and company offerings through an employee ‘feedback box’ on the company’s intranet site ‘Homefront.’ A member of the company’s employee communications team regularly reviews employee comments, follows up with employees, and shares the feedback with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
Can you describe your method for orienting new hires into your culture, and enriching awareness or introducing new issues? All new hires attend a one-day orientation class to familiarize them with Freddie Mac’s mission, business and corporate culture. Presentations are delivered by several divisions and provide detailed information about the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, benefits, professional development and mentoring opportunities, and key business area initiatives. Senior leaders, including the CEO, often attend the new-hire orientations to welcome new employees to Freddie Mac.
As part of our on-boarding efforts and overall commitment to diversity at the company, we have our Employee Network Ambassador Program. Last year, Freddie Mac also launched an Employee Network Mentoring Program enabling network members to be mentees and also select mentors of the same gender or ethnic background if they choose to.
How do you deal with those who perceive inclusion programs for underrepresented groups as being exclusionary for others? Our diversity and inclusion programs have been very well received by employees. We have yet to receive feedback that these programs have been perceived as exclusionary, as we are very deliberate with the positioning of our diversity and inclusion programs. The messaging is consistently inclusive and emphasizes that diversity and inclusion pertains to and affects every employee.
Freddie Mac’s ENGs are open to all employees. The goal of these groups is to provide employees with both professional advancement and personal development opportunities.
We make it clear through our internal communications that every employee is welcome to participate in any one of our ENGs, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, or physical ability or disability.
The seven ENGs are:
- Abilities: Valuing Everyone’s Abilities (focuses on employees touched by disabilities)
- ARISE: African-Americans, Resources and Information Sharing for Everyone
- ASIAN: Asians Supporting Inclusion and Awareness Network
- HOLA: Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement
- Lambda: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Employee Network
- Sandwich Generation: Supporting those caring for aging family members
- WIN: Women’s Interactive Network
Can you name specific ways Freddie Mac supports upward development toward management positions? Freddie Mac provides employees with a myriad of opportunities for professional growth and leadership development. An example of this is Freddie Mac University (FMU), the company’s integrated online and instructor-led learning curriculum that provides employees with professional learning and leadership development opportunities in a variety of areas.
We also have a robust Succession Planning Program to identify and groom employees for management positions at the company. The Succession Planning Program includes both a Leadership Talent Review and a Leadership Development Program.
How does Freddie Mac bring women and minority employees into the fabric of the organization? One of the ways Freddie Mac helps ensure women and minority employees are in the pipeline for advancement and promotions is through its newly developed Leadership Development Program, spearheaded by the company’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It is specifically designed to identify high potential African-Americans and women of every ethnicity to address their specific leadership development needs in a single gender and single identity training environment. This high-impact leadership development program is a multi-year training effort that includes online and instructor-led courses, high visibility, and access to senior leaders of the company. We also offer individual career coaching opportunities and specific leadership development programs externally, such as our Executive Leadership Council pipeline talent program.
Freddie Mac also identifies high-potential female employees from all racial and ethnic backgrounds through its Leadership Talent Review Succession Planning Program. This program is an ongoing effort that identifies high-potential employees from 3 tiers: division heads, direct reports, and those that report to direct report.
What is Freddie Mac’s commitment to minority suppliers? Freddie Mac’s Supplier Diversity program is designed to increase awareness of the capabilities, talents, and importance of Minority- and Woman-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). Our M/WBE suppliers are critical to helping Freddie Mac carry out its important mission to stabilize the housing market and support the nation’s economic recovery. Supplier Diversity is Freddie Mac’s way of assuring that our suppliers reflect the diversity of the American workforce. Our objective is to ensure that M/WBEs receive the opportunity to compete fairly in all of the corporation’s business dealings.
Do you set specific percentage or dollar targets? How do you measure success? We measure how well our Supplier Diversity Program is meeting corporate and business area objectives by looking at the percentage of total spend, the number of diverse suppliers, and the recognition we receive from outside organizations.
In 2009, Freddie Mac generated nearly $375 million in contracts with Minority- and Woman-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). This represents a 200% increase over 2008 and was 26% of Freddie Mac’s total procurement spend. Last year, we also launched a Supplier Diversity Action Council (SDAC), comprised of 25 members from across the company that work to better integrate diversity and inclusion into the contracting practices of all business areas.
Where does your personal belief in diversity and inclusion come from? Was there a pivotal experience that helped shape your view? Like many people, I was taught at home, at church, and at school, that an important human value was a commitment to equality and inclusiveness.
However, this teaching as a child was about a concept. It became more real for me later in life. My wife’s family is Chinese, and I heard stories from them about how, in the 1950s and 1960s, real estate agents would not show them homes in certain neighborhoods of Baltimore because “they wouldn’t be happy there.” I also saw my wife, a Harvard-trained lawyer, attend law firm luncheons at a downtown club in Philadelphia and be unable to walk in the front door with the other lawyers because women had to walk down a side alley and then go in a back entrance. Through my wife’s experiences, discrimination became more real for me.
Who has shaped and influenced your thinking as a business leader? One of my biggest and earliest influences was my father, who worked 6-7 days a week at our storefront family business. Like so many in his generation, he was focused on making a better life for the next generation. He thought of it as the responsible thing to do. And my mother, too—in fact, she continues to work at the family business every day. I have them to thank for instilling in me a solid work ethic very early on in my life.
How did you get to your present position? What was your career path? I grew up in Philadelphia, and was fortunate to be the first in my family to be able to attend college. I knew that I wanted to be successful in a traditional career, which at that time meant business, medicine, or law. So I was pre-med as an undergraduate, while studying economics, and later hedged my bets by going to business school and law school simultaneously.
I graduated in June of 1974 and got incredibly lucky by finding work in the asset management business. The U.S. stock market peaked in 1966 at 1,000, when I graduated high school. By the time I finished graduate school eight years later, the Dow was in the 500s. So I got in at a good time and stayed, which turned out to be very fortunate for me. I joined an asset management firm in June of 1974 and worked with the same five partners for 23 years. We joined a company called United Asset Management, which eventually bought 53 different money management firms. I became President and CEO of UAM in 1997. In 2000, I was recruited to be CEO of Delaware Investments, and in late 2002 I joined Putnam Investment Management. I became CEO of Putnam on November 3, 2003 as a result of a market timing issue that eventually sparked a series of regulatory probes into the industry’s business practices. From my very first day on the job, I was focused on saving the firm, reassuring our employees that Putnam would survive, and visiting our clients. It took a huge effort by a lot of good people, but we successfully reorganized the business and restored Putnam’s reputation. When the opportunity came along to apply that same skill set at Freddie Mac—a company facing similar challenges—I thought I could help.
How did you come to Freddie Mac? I was intrigued when a search firm approached me about the CEO position. Of course, I knew about Freddie Mac generally, because it had been in the news regularly for the past year. But what I found through my research is that the public perception of Freddie Mac, its work, and its people, is at odds with reality. The truth is that the company has a critically important mission—to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the nation’s housing finance system—and Freddie Mac serves that mission every day. Freddie Mac’s employees are deeply committed to their work. And the company’s mission has never been more important than it is today, as the nation works its way out of this long, deep recession.
Freddie Mac not only plays a vital, ongoing role in stabilizing the housing markets, but we’re also working very closely with the Obama Administration to help struggling families avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. So I took the job because I wanted to lead and motivate a talented and committed workforce. I wanted to help the company contribute all that it could to the nation’s economic recovery. And I want to help reshape and strengthen Freddie Mac for a successful future once it emerges from conservatorship. Finally, I realized that Freddie Mac has a great story to tell, and I wanted to help tell it.
Were you aware of its D&I? Not initially, but I was really pleased to learn about Freddie Mac’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, because it’s something I’ve believed strongly in throughout my career. Freddie Mac strives to be an employer-of-choice for workers of all backgrounds, by providing satisfying professional development opportunities, dynamic and comprehensive diversity training and education, strong compensation and benefits packages, and an inclusive work environment. Its commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace is paying off: minorities make up over 40% of our workforce, and more than 40% of our new hires last year were minorities.
Who were/are your mentors? Are you mentoring anyone today? Norton Reamer, the founder of United Asset Management Corporation, taught me a lot about management. Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, has taught me a lot about ethics and investing. They were both important mentors for me. In some unofficial capacity, I’d say I am mentoring a young man who is in his first year at Yale Law School. His name is Damaris Walker, and his story is amazing. Entirely by chance, I got connected to him. He is from North Philadelphia and he went to Dartmouth, entirely on financial aid. He did so well there that he got into Yale Law School. We see each other 4 to 5 times a year and we stay connected by e-mail. My whole family has benefitted by knowing him.
If you were in a roomful of colleagues, what might they say about you, your style, or your business sense? I hope that they would say that I seek broad input and then decide. I also hope they would say that I was fair and direct.
What books would you recommend for new leaders? One of my favorite books is The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw, because it speaks so well about the contributions made by my father’s generation. A book on leadership that I’ve always liked is Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times, by Donald T. Phillips.
How would you describe your concept and style of leadership? First, ethics and integrity are essential components of my management style. Some people think there is a trade-off between business success and ethical behavior, but I believe high ethical standards and integrity are necessary pre-conditions for success. I want Freddie Mac to lead with integrity and ethics. In fact, I believe we can’t be successful unless we live up to that standard. Second, I believe in transparent and candid management. Of course, that’s easy to say but hard to do sometimes. But we have to be willing to be open and direct with each other, and if there’s a problem, we need to deal with it directly. Openness, candor, transparency, and being direct are always the best approach.
Were there any experiences that discouraged you about D&I implementation? I sometimes get discouraged because talk is easy and it often doesn’t lead to action. Talking and training are necessary preconditions, and although it takes time to change behavior and see results, if you work hard enough at it, you can make a real difference.
What has been your proudest moment as leader at Freddie Mac? My proudest moment at Freddie Mac has been watching all the divisions throughout the company come together to support the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable program. The hard work and passion of employees in support of keeping families in their homes has been amazing to watch.
Company: Freddie Mac
Time in current position: 9 months
Education: M.B.A., Harvard Business School, (Baker Scholar); J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School; A.B., summa cum laude, Dartmouth College.
Professional: I am a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College. I also serve on the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors, and formerly served on the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute
First job: I began my career at Cooke & Bieler, Inc., in 1974, where I was a Partner. Cooke & Bieler later became an affiliate of United Asset Management.
Philosophy: To be successful, we have to lead with integrity and ethics. Manage people the way you would like to be managed.
What I’m reading: Enough, by John “Jack” Bogle. Family: Wife, Barbara, and three children.