Last year, we experienced one of the many crescendos to bring a centuries-long struggle for social justice to the forefront of both private and public conversations.
At ACAMS, we encourage our colleagues to speak up and speak out when they see something wrong. The public outcry over the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor in the U.S. rippled across the world and was a pivotal turning point for change. Our colleagues, too, spoke up and challenged us to bring more attention to the injustice experienced around the world.
We are, and have always been, committed to embodying and displaying values that create a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture, but over the past year, we have reflected more deeply than ever. At ACAMS, our commitment is grounded in our belief that change always starts with us―from the inside out.
ACAMS colleagues engaged in countless conversations about what diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) look like across different continents and parts of the world, discussed how we can and will lead by example on DEI and how we can further integrate DEI across all of our operations.
We also looked outside of ourselves to better understand history and how the private and public sectors are taking steps to address these issues.
Through these discussions, we identified three key pillars that will anchor our DEI work including:
- Our commitment to our colleagues: By creating platforms for our global colleagues to share their own diverse stories and personal experiences. By doing so, their diverse perspectives will bring more awareness, understanding and empathy to our work and ultimately the impact it has on our global communities. We encourage cross-cultural and multi-geography team projects to keep inspiring our team with the work that we do in DEI globally.
- Our commitment to our community: By training, developing, mentoring and providing scholarship opportunities. Recently, we signed up with the #10000BlackInterns initiative, we will be rolling out a scholarship scheme for FinTech professionals and we are developing training modules for aspiring panelists from our global community.
- Our position and influence as a convener of changemakers: To be a global platform for anti-financial crime (AFC) professionals of all races, genders and backgrounds in pursuit of more diverse and equitable representation across all our touchpoints. Our goal is to improve the profile of our panels by 10%-15% annually, leverage our channels to drive conversations related to social justice that may occasionally be uncomfortable but incredibly valuable, and create platforms that will shine a spotlight on the issues preventing a truly just and equitable AFC environment—one that encourages young professionals to thrive—be they Black, Indigenous, people of color, female or LGBTQ.
This work is central to our mission and priorities. It will enable us to more easily identify and remove barriers―and make progress toward uprooting the deeply interconnected systemic injustices baked into society, even if just in our corner of it.
This endeavor is a journey and these issues will take time to fix. And, if all organizations are committed and active participants in providing solutions to these challenges in their part of the world, we can ensure that we will create a better society with better systems that are inclusive and equitable for all generations to come.
Scott Liles, president and managing director, ACAMS