A speech presented by Charles L. Evans, president and chief executive officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, on September 9, 2022, at the third annual Exploring Career Pathways in Economics and Related Fields conference, cosponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Sadie Collective.
Good morning. On behalf of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago I would like to welcome you to the third annual Exploring Career Pathways conference. Let me extend my deep thanks to our friends and colleagues at the Sadie Collective for pioneering this event and partnering with us to create a fantastic program. We are very excited that for the first time since we launched our partnership with the Sadie Collective, this event will feature a significant live, in-person component! We hope this will allow all of you to build even stronger connections. Speaking of being in person, I wish I could be in Chicago with you today, but my schedule changed at the last minute. Hence, I’m welcoming you on this recorded video.
This Career Pathways conference has quickly become the cornerstone of the Chicago Fed–Sadie Collective partnership. We look forward to building up our partnership with the Sadie Collective in the years to come through other events, initiatives, and additional support that the Chicago Fed can provide. Earlier this summer, in conjunction with the Sadie Collective, we held an event that highlighted the careers of Black women at the Chicago Fed. Nearly 100 individuals attended!
At the Chicago Fed we have a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program to ensure that DEI is embedded throughout our organization and within each and every one of our business lines. We do a better job of delivering on all aspects of the Federal Reserve’s mission when a diversity of backgrounds and experiences is reflected in our work. So, promoting DEI in our workplace is both the right thing to do and a business imperative for us. We include DEI goals in department and individual performance plans—with a cross-department DEI committee and our DEI consultants holding us accountable. We also work with 16 external partners and community groups, including the Sadie Collective, that support our efforts to diversify our talent pipelines. These partners help us to build and sustain a diverse workforce and an equitable and inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued, respected, and heard.
We believe our DEI efforts are important not just for the Chicago Fed, but also for the broader field of economics. It is no secret that economics has a representation problem—with few women, people of color, and first-generation students pursuing courses of study and careers in the field.
By fully committing to DEI efforts within the Bank and by emphasizing the recruitment, mentoring, and development of future economists from diverse backgrounds, we believe we can not only create a better community within the Federal Reserve, but also contribute positively to the economics discipline overall. Our partnership with the Sadie Collective is a crucial component of these efforts.
We are proud to cosponsor today’s event. It represents a truly collaborative effort intended to provide Black students and early-career talent with opportunities to explore career pathways in economics and related professions. We want to welcome you into these professions and support you in a variety of ways to help you thrive in these fields. As part of our partnership with the Sadie Collective, the Chicago Fed has recruited Sadie Collective Fellows into our summer internship program for the past two years, and we plan to continue this practice each summer. So, if you’re a junior, please consider applying soon to join us next summer!
Today’s conference program features panels of economists and research assistants. You’ll be able to learn about the tools of economics research, and you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a career fair. We’re especially excited to hear from Helene Gayle, president of Spelman College. We know Helene well, as she currently serves as chair of the Chicago Fed’s board of directors. And we very much appreciate her highlighting this conference with a fireside chat conversation led by Marionette Holmes, chair of Spelman’s Economics Department.
Speaking of connections between the Chicago Fed and participants on today’s program, Ryan Perry, Maya Love, and Yetunde Oshagbemi—the three panelists on the research assistants panel—have all been Sadie Collective summer interns with our Research Department! Way to go! Let me now turn things over to Diamondnia Mack, membership growth associate at the Sadie Collective, who will be delivering additional welcome remarks.