Bridging the Gap: “I believe a lot in diversity, not only gender”

In June, 2018, ABN AMRO received a Diamond Award by Talent To The Top, a Dutch foundation that promotes diversity in senior management. When it comes to bridging the gap, they’re making a big impact on the banking world and beyond.

As our Platinum Sponsor for the third year running, we caught up with Daphne de Kluis, CEO of Commercial Banking at ABN AMRO, to find out her thoughts on diversity and inclusion, and teaming up with TEDxAmsterdamWomen.

Thanks for talking with us Daphne. We’re excited for another year of Platinum Partnership. Can you tell us why ABN AMRO supports the TEDxAmsterdamWomen movement?

We’re very inspired by the TEDx brand as we believe in storytelling, which is what speakers are doing on stage. This is our third year as a TEDxAmsterdamWomen partner because it’s an inspiring event; it provides a stage for all kinds of women to tell their stories, and we’re very happy to help make that possible.

What is ABN AMRO doing regarding diversity and inclusion amongst staff and the industry?

Our CEO is really committed to the full diversity agenda (gender, ethnicity, disabilities, etc.). In 2010, for example, we committed to get more women in senior management positions, as it used to be around 20% women. Today, our senior management is approximately 40% women – so it’s been a big step!

We have diversity circles in all of our business lines, in which we discuss progress on our diversity targets. Each action plan ensures progress is monitored up until 2022.

We also regularly host internal TED Talks, which occur every two months, as a way to give the floor to different types of individuals throughout our company. I’ve told a story myself about courage and trust, but it can be about anything. It started with senior management and now there are all kinds of people who want to tell their story.

What are some of the positions that women hold at ABN AMRO?

All kinds. The Executive Committee, for example, is quite a diverse team. We have two women, the CRO and myself, and two individuals from abroad – a CFO from the UK and a CIO out of Denmark.

I am responsible for Commercial Banking, which includes all the SME companies in the Netherlands. My Management Team consists of nine people including five women. I meet a lot of other companies and we try to share diversity agendas and learn from each other.

What are your own views on diversity in the industry?

Personally, I believe a lot in diversity, not only gender. If you look at the transformation that the banking industry is going through, both from the digital and regulatory point of view, it’s necessary to have a lot of people with different types of backgrounds and different views. Because everything is changing so quickly, if you have everyone thinking the same way it doesn’t work.

Thank you, Daphne. It sounds like ABN AMRO has several initiatives aimed at inspiring women in the banking industry. We’re excited to join forces for this Platinum Partnership as we both support diversity.

If you wish to partner with TEDxAmsterdamWomen, contact us today. We would love to hear from you.