Fannie Mae, the private, shareholder-owned company that provides financing for nearly one in five U.S. mortgages, has developed a broad-based approach to guarantee advancement opportunities for women and people of color. Fannie Mae’s unique internal/external initiative, Embracing Diversity to Foster Long-Term Success, ensures that its employee base looks like America.
In order to leverage its diversity leadership and educate the partners that help the company achieve its mission, Fannie Mae provides tailored diversity training sessions to its customers and mortgage lenders, as well as diversity benchmarking sessions to other interested organizations. In addition, Fannie Mae features a multitude of internal programs and policies marked by a high degree of senior leadership accessibility and commitment to diversity. For example, the company has introduced “straight talk,” a tool designed to facilitate candid dialogue between supervisors and direct reports during performance-review discussions. Fannie Mae has also implemented many programs to leverage its internal diversity. Highlights include a program matching 150 mentoring pairs each year, a bimonthly speaker series during which senior employees share their career strategies, and an e-mentoring pilot.
Currently, 44.1 percent of the management group at Fannie Mae is comprised of women; 12 percent of managers are women of color. The percentage of women at the director level has increased from 42 percent in 1994 to 45.4 percent in 2001; and the percentage of women in the officer level has increased from 33.6 percent in 1994 to 40.23 percent in 2001.