A Message from Bill York – A Personal Dedication to Diversity and Inclusion.
“We are committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive work environment that values and leverages the uniqueness of all individuals.”
The first quarter of 2012 records another strong performance by AgriBank and affiliated Associations. Associations are continuing to lead in delivering innovative products and services to support the farmers, ranchers and agribusiness in the 15 states we serve.
Bill York, CEO of AgriBank, FCB
Together, we are not only doing the basic blocking and tackling well, but adding in the extra service and dedication that people expect from a market leader like us. Congratulations to each of you for your contributions and commitment to our collective success.
Last quarter, we wrote here about our strategic intent to grow the franchise value of the District. One of the most important ways we can increase that value is through even more inclusion in our employee team. This expands our ability to fulfill the diverse needs of customers. As we incorporate more diverse expertise into our organization, not only do we enhance our business acumen, but we also add to our own personal growth. It is more than just the right thing to do.
I have the privilege of chairing the Farm Credit Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup. This group’s charter is to serve as an inclusive and diversity resource within the Farm Credit System. Success in this worthy objective will assist the System in being more responsive to marketplace needs, strengthen our public position, and contribute to enhanced workplace engagement. It is our goal to make AgriBank a shining example of what an inclusive culture can be.
Early on, like many of you, I learned the value of affiliating with people of different cultures and viewpoints. My family back on the Wisconsin dairy farm included an African-American brother and sister and two sisters-in-law from Cambodia and Ecuador. In addition, in the later 70’s we sponsored two families from Cambodia with nine children who lived with us nearly through high school graduation.
I learned that diversity can come from environment just as easily as from bloodlines. Even simple things like teaching one of our foreign family members to drive a tractor turned into a real learning experience for me on a new way to teach “tractor 101”.
As we at AgriBank strive to make teams the centerpiece of how we work, we are still learning that same lesson I learned back in the alfalfa field: that any kind of process improves when you leverage ideas from a diverse group. That diversity can come from ethnicity but it can also come from age, gender, farm or non-farm background and time on the job. A great idea can come from anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Associations already are doing a great job of interacting with a more diverse marketplace. The people who make up today’s American agriculture are themselves a much more diverse group than ever before.
We at AgriBank must and should reflect that same marketplace diversity in our own internal team’s collective background and include a variety of views in our decisions. Not only will that assist in increasing franchise value, but also make each of us a better person.
When we harness the collective strengths from and live in a culture of inclusion, we are indeed redefining tomorrow.