15:58 PM

Nationwide recognized as top employer for multicultural women

Seramount honors Nationwide for commitment to women and minority employees

When Jayme Smoot began her career as an attorney before joining Nationwide, she says she was fortunate to work at firms that valued diversity. “Nonetheless,” she adds, “I was still only one of two women of color in my local office.”

Smoot wasn’t the only person seeing a lack of role models during her early career. For Nicole Ridley, envisioning herself in roles she knew she would someday be capable of was difficult because she just didn’t see very many women of color in leadership. Today, it’s a much different situation for both Smoot and Ridley. Smoot is vice president of corporate sustainability at Nationwide, while Ridley is a management associate in Nationwide’s financial leadership rotation program.

“What I see at Nationwide is that if there’s not a seat for you at the table, then we will put in a leaf,” said Ridley. “We will make the table bigger, so there is plenty of space for everyone here.”

Because of Nationwide’s commitment to supporting the careers of women and people of color, the company was named on June 30 one of the 2021 Best Companies for Multicultural Women by Seramount (formerly Working Mother Media)—an honor recognizing companies that create a culture that encourages multicultural women to join and rise through their ranks.

The Best Companies for Multicultural Women award is judged on more than 250 aspects of representation, hiring, recruitment, attrition and promotion rates, company culture and retention and advancement programs. Companies that earn the award are those deemed to be among best in the United States for incorporating best practices in hiring, retaining and promoting women of color.

Last year, Nationwide earned the 2020 Diversity Best Practices (DBP) Inclusion Index from Seramount and was recognized for superior achievement by receiving higher than an 80 percent score. This is the second year that Nationwide has earned the Best Companies for Multicultural Women award, and it’s especially meaningful because of the concerted effort the enterprise has put into creating a place where the talents and contributions of all are valued, said Nationwide Chief Human Resources Officer Vinita Clements.

“We believe that in every level in our organization, we should represent the external market and create an inclusive culture, which is essential to our ability to attract and sustain top diverse talent. Ensuring Nationwide has a culture where all can succeed is our continuing journey and key to our future success as an organization,” says Angela Bretz, Chief Diversity and Talent Acquisition Officer.

In addition to developing an intentional framework of development programs, policies, opportunities and partnerships at every level to uplift women and diverse associates, Nationwide also partners with diverse and women-focused organizations such as Catalyst, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the National Black MBA Association, AnitaB.org/Gracehopper, National Association of Female Executives, National Association of Black Accountants, Disability:In, and Reaching Out (LGBTQ+) MBA Association, and others to expand recruiting efforts and offer development opportunities to multicultural women.

Sophia Shen, a Nationwide associate vice president of staff administration-marketing and president of Nationwide’s inspirASIAN employee resource group, says that receiving this award is not just meaningful for company employees, but also for those outside the organization.

“Women of color are underrepresented in corporate America,” Shen says. “This award demonstrates to people in the community that Nationwide supports, embraces and wants us to thrive here.”

Smoot wholeheartedly agrees. Said Smoot: “As an executive leader, I want to see us build on the legacy left by the women who have gone before us as we continue to support Nationwide’s great culture for women of color.”

Learn more about careers and open positions at Nationwide.