Launched initially in 2015 in San Antonio, Texas, USAA’s home office, Elevate expanded to Phoenix in 2016. Since then, Elevate’s enterprise membership has reached over 3,300 employees with over 400 members in the Phoenix campus. Elevate also has a presence in all other USAA offices.
‘Elevate’ Soars High in Phoenix
What makes a leader great? It’s all the little things that combine to form the larger picture. And USAA knows a thing or two about being great. Among the many accolades and honors it has been awarded for creating great workplaces this year, it received another recently that recognizes the outstanding work it does year round in Arizona. USAA was named as one of the Top Companies to Work for in Arizona, sponsored by azcentral.com, ranked No. 2 in the Large Employer category, and they were recognized for their “Exemplary Diversity Practices” out of the 100 winner companies.
In talking to USAA about its Diversity and Inclusion programs earlier in the year, we gained some insights into their culture and support of participation in Employee Resource Groups, which they’ve aptly named Diversity Business Groups. Having recently launched a new group, we found it insightful to learn more about how these groups engage employees and encourage participation.
Launched just under two years ago, Elevate is a relatively new Diversity Business Group designed to create opportunities for education and awareness for gender diversity issues in the workplace. Elevate’s Phoenix Chapter has an active membership led by a board of 20 members, with meetings and events planned by a steering committee.
Monthly meetings provide networking opportunities as well as a safe place to discuss and navigate complex situations pertaining to gender diversity that arise during the regular course of business. Employees are able to converse freely with individuals from all departments and levels of USAA, exchange ideas with people of different backgrounds, while expanding their knowledge and skills through programs that help build leadership skills while delivering educational and inspirational information.
Serving as role models through community outreach is an important part of Elevate’s mission and extends its reach beyond the workplace. It also helps participants gain leadership skills and visibility by planning and leading activities. This summer Elevate hosted a Career Skills Workshop and Mentoring Event for Girl Scouts, held at the Phoenix Campus. Scouts were treated to office tours, discussions with managers, and shadowed executives to learn about the range of financial careers that USAA offers. They were introduced to opportunities in the Financial Services industry, and could see how USAA serves military members and their families by helping them attain their financial goals. They gained career tips and were taught how to create and manage budgets.
Membership in Elevate is open to all USAA employees. It’s surprising to some, but Elevate’s membership is comprised of both men and women, all of whom share an interest in creating workplaces rich in gender diversity and opportunities for women to embrace empowerment at all levels of the organization.
Latasha Causey, Director, Regional Operations, Regional Site Management and co-founder of Elevate explains, “Diversity and inclusion are essential components of our business strategy that help us remain competitive and improve our ability to serve our service members and their families.”