2020 GlobalMindED Conference
June 6-8
Sheraton Denver Downtown
GlobalMindED is a 501(c)(3) innovation network that closes the equity gap through education, entrepreneurship, employment and economic mobility to create a capable, diverse talent pipeline.
Jim is one of GlobalMindED's Inclusive Leaders. We had a chance to sit down recently to learn of Jim's path from rural Wisconsin to standard setting equity for Banking and Business. As we get ready to celebrate women around the world this month, Jim is someone who has created tremendous opportunity for women and underrepresented populations within his company, on Boards, and in the communities he serves. Thank you for your generous leadership, Jim!
What is your background and how did your early years form the inclusive leader you are today?

I was raised on a farm in rural Wisconsin with three brothers. My dad had an eighth-grade education and became one of the most successful farmers in the region. My mom was the accountant and kept the books while raising my brothers and me. In addition to the farm, my Dad expanded into a trucking business which eventually became the more profitable engine of financial success. The way in which he managed the farm and later, the trucking business, showed me many of the professional skills that I use daily in my role now. In addition to our family farm, I learned a lot from our neighbor's farm and from the way in which they ran a truly successful business from dairy to chickens to cash-cropping.

Two worlds defined me as a young person as they do now - one of learning and one of music. I learned to play the trumpet and got a music scholarship to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. For a while I thought about being a musician, but I was more drawn to business once I became a junior in college. So, music has always been my passion and my joy side-by-side to my profession. Through the years, my friends who are musicians have kept me grounded, inspired, and connected to my personal creative expressions. That provides perspective, balance, and a way to minimize stress.

As a junior in college, l learned the power of networking. One of my friends in class had a relative who worked at First Bank in Palm Springs which was the one and only location in CA. She wasn't interested in that type of job, but I was, and I asked her to make that connection for me. That was one of the first times that I learned the power of networking and I have built on and benefited from that my whole life, as I've made it a priority to connect others to opportunities that can advance them. So, I made the connection and I got the job as an entry level management trainee. The all winter Midwest grad went to work in balmy Palm Springs, and I felt I had gone to heaven. I loved the climate and the job.

I was hired by Roger Reisher, the founder of FirstBank, and have worked closely with John Ikard, who is now Chair of the Board. FirstBank spans multiple states and 120 locations. We still hire and promote from within to this day. Out of 52 management trainees hired in 2019, 32 are diverse. Diversity and Inclusion is one of our highest values for our organization and for our customers. We have a total 3,000 employees in our 120 locations. 

How did you rise within banking?

I sought broad experiences throughout my career. If you are comfortable, you aren't growing. From continuing my music, to my family, my roles at work, and my service responsibilities, I embrace all manner of difference and all strengths in people.   I'm a rural farm boy at heart and I've never lost that perspective which made me curious, interested in and appreciative of all kinds of people.   I seek situations that make me uncomfortable because that is when one  grows. I also invite people who challenge me and make me uncomfortable because we have to have hard conversations and civil discourse to get to a win/win respectfully. This trait has been foundational to my leadership success in banking.

What Drives Your Diversity and Inclusion Goals Personally and at First Bank?

Diversity drives success. We look for all manner of diversity because that is the right thing to do for business, and it reflects the range of clients we serve. If we weren't actively seeking all types of people from all walks of life, we couldn't be the bank we are or have the reach into every neighborhood and community that we serve. Our tagline at FirstBank is "banking for good". Diversity is banking for good.

At FirstBank, we foster a culture that has support systems within and outside of the bank. No one organization can do it all, and we need to provide professional development and supportive connections with our own diverse team and our diverse partners like GlobalMindED, CTA, and so many others.

Probably most central to our diversity strategy is our pipeline. We have built a strong internship program for diverse students and those who aspire to banking. They do real work and they add real value to our strategic leadership, because they are the emerging leaders. Even if they don't come to work for us, they play a valuable role in guiding our vision and process. They are our future customers. We hire 35+ freshmen and sophomores in college annually, many of whom are the same age as the GlobalMindED First Gen Leaders. As a First Gen myself, I know the value of those students in the world of work, but I also know that we can open doors for them with exposure beyond just the basis of banking. We hire math, finance, information technology, accounting, and general business  majors for our management trainee, data science, fraud detection, cyber security, and other high growth fields. They learn to collaborate, contribute their ideas, and be accountable to outcomes.

The job shadowing, networking, and leadership skills we provide through our internships give students both the banking and the leadership experience to excel beyond entry level. Every company should have a diverse pipeline strategy. Without that, there isn't a good way for diverse talent to find you or vice versa.

We are proud that we exceed the Census Bureau data of CO as a percentage of the population with 60% of women in management and we have lowest turnover in a tight labor market. The range of motion that the perspective of diversity and our actual diversity provides, is the foundation of our business success. As David Epstein says in his book, Range, generalists outperform specialists. We make better decisions because of the broad range of inputs from the very different and diverse stakeholders.

I grew up with dirt under my fingers from working on the farm. I love manual labor and what it can teach you about yourself and others. So, I stay close to the value of the soil, plants, nurturing, and the earth that supports all people no matter who they are, as people all over the world are sustained by this basic and age old way of work. It is an honor to be one of GlobalMindED's Inclusive Leaders and I look forward to working with you to make the world more inclusive for all.

Join us to recognize the most inclusive leaders in key industries for their innovations and bold actions to promote access and equity for women, people of color, and underrepresented populations in their recruiting, development, senior management on their boards, and in their pipeline strategies from education to employment. 

If you would like to nominate a student from your institution for the 
2020 GlobalMindED First Gen Student Leadership Program so that they can meet role models and mentors while networking for internships and jobs with companies who are dedicated to creating a capable, diverse talent pipeline , please encourage them to apply HERE
If you are an educator, you can attend  by yourself, a team or with your First Gen student delegates. If you come with more than 5 people from your institution, you are eligible for the discount.

GlobalMindED and the SDG Impact Fund are delighted to announce GlobalMindED's Donor Advised Fund for your year-end giving and planning your 2020 investment goals. 2020 is the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and and the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Women's Declaration and Action Platform. Many from around the world are thinking of 2020 as the gateway to our most vital decade for delivering equity, the Sustainable Development Goals, and a world where all can thrive. Our key time for these outcomes is 2020-2030.

GlobalMindED DAF and the SDG Impact Fund are a powerful combined force for good as the 2019 year comes to a close and we reflect on the gratitude and the commitments we make to the causes we care most about. The DAF offers immense power and flexibility for giving prior to the year's end as you plant seeds of generous intention for 2020 and the decade ahead.

When you contribute to GlobalMindED, you support students like Emanuel Walker whose story is below. He was in the class of 2018. Since 2015, we have served more than 300 students by connecting them to role models, mentors, internships and jobs. Your generous support will allow us to take our work 10x and reach these talented students at scale who lack the resources and support we provide. Your support also helps teachers who can't afford the conference fees, faculty at colleges which are under resourced and students who persist at those universities despite food insecurity and/or housing insecurity.
The ILO is calling on individuals and organizations to share innovative ideas and solutions to address the skills mismatch challenge. The ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call will recognise and support the development of solutions that aim to address the different forms and dimensions of skills mismatch.   

Submission deadline: April 13, 2020.

As you start the New Year, are you looking for ways to re-engineer your classroom culture? Check out Designing the Future: How Engineering Builds Creative Critical Thinking in the Classroom. The associated website has lots of activities, projects, and resources you can implement immediately. Our fall workshops using the book as a roadmap for change have been highly successful. Start designing the future today - try using the customized Study Guide for a book study in your PLC. Or contact ProjectEngin or Solution Tree to learn how you can bring professional development based on Ann's book to your school, district, or conference.


Since 2006 when the flagship TGR Learning Lab opened its doors in Anaheim, CA, TGR Foundation has had a lot to celebrate, including its most recent milestone of one million students impacted by TGR EDU: Explore, alone.

Developed in partnership with Discovery Education, TGR EDU: Explore is a free digital resource library that offers interactive web experiences, lesson plans, training videos and tools for educators, students and families to explore new disciplines and gain skills for a modern and expanding workforce.

The climate crisis, rape culture, the wall-we think the patriarchy has done enough. Introducing " When Feminists Rule the World", a new podcast series from the Nobel Women's Initiative and producing partner MediaStyle. Hosted by Nicaraguan-born comedian, Martha Chaves, we're talking to badass feminist changemakers around the world about the future they are creating. It shouldn't be groundbreaking. But it is.
Entertainment For Change creates original song and dance (#SDGGROOVE) to educate young people on the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Like any meaningful social change, the original song and dance is a collaborative effort between more than 20 singers, dancers, writers and choreographers. Lauded vocalists Natalie Weiss and Antonio Cipriano lend their voices to the powerful lyrics, while each SDG is  danced by performers of all calibers.

To learn more about Entertainment for Change and #SDGGROOVE, visit our  website
Join the #NeedHerScience Campaign that is aimed at addressing journal-level gender bias. For decades, studies have demonstrated gender bias in publishing. This may occur at various stages in the process, including at the level of the 
journals. The equitable inclusion of women editors at every level is long overdue. Addressing journal gender bias starts at the top. 

AMWA is a strategic partner for the Need Her Science Campaign which is part of the Be Ethical Campaign. More information is available at www.SheLeadsHealthcare.com.

The goal: To raise awareness about gender bias in publishing and share with stakeholders, including journal editors and owners, the overall number of scientists, healthcare professionals and others who have taken the pledge. The pledge can be taken anonymously. Educators and others are encouraged to take the pledge and share information about this issue with colleagues and trainees. 

Here are 3 quick and easy things you can do to join the #NeedHerScience Campaign: 1. Disseminate the infographic Tips for Publishing in Medical Journals. 
2. Take the #NeedHerScience pledge. 
3. Encourage others to take the pledge. 

PLEDGE: "As part of determining where to submit my manuscripts, I will look at the list of editors and consider whether a journal has equitably included qualified women at every level."

The Conrad Challenge is an excellent opportunity for industry, government, research and academia to help support the youth of today and take an active role in shaping our future workforce. Students participating in the Conrad Challenge create innovative solutions to real-world challenges, while preparing for success in a global workplace. The competition encourages creativity, critical thinking and entrepreneurial collaboration among teams around the globe. Learn more and become a judge HERE
GlobalMindED | 303-327-5688 | contact@globalminded.org | www.globalminded.org