Congratulations to our own Mary Jo Cook! After an intense competition and rigorous selection process, Opportunity Finance Network has chosen 25 outstanding leaders from CDFIs across the country who will join their inaugural class of Opportunity Fellows.
Representing different levels of leadership experience, these Fellows hail from all corners of the country, with one thing very much in common: They are committed to addressing inequities in capital to the underserved community through their work with CDFIs, which are critical engines of opportunity in these communities.
The Opportunity Fellows Program is a leadership program for our industry, which will train a diverse cohort of CDFI leaders to lead transformational change and address inequities in access to capital in underserved communities. Through the program, Fellows will develop the skills and perspective to innovate toward the vision of opportunity for all, and facilitate greater equity and inclusion for racially and ethnically diverse communities.
“This innovative and robust leadership program brings together participants with different levels of experience with a common goal: to increase opportunity for all people and in all communities across the country,” said Pam Porter, Executive Vice President, Strategic Consulting at OFN. “We congratulate the 25 Opportunity Fellows, and we thank BBVA Compass for recognizing the impact this program will have and for its generous support.”
The Opportunity Fellows will spend nine months of training with world-class experts in leadership and racial equity from the University of Alabama Collat School of Business and Race Matters Institute. The program kicks off this week at the BBVA Compass headquarters in Birmingham, where participants will engage in interactive activities and experiences, and will learn from other leaders in microfinance. They will also spend time with experts to better understand the patterns and causes behind the growing inequity in racial and ethnic minorities, as well as tour the Innovation Depot business incubator.
“We could not be more proud of this leadership program, and of these participants,” said BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Reymundo Ocañas. “We know that by investing in their future, we’re investing in the future of all of our communities. These are the leaders of organizations who put capital to work directly in low- to moderate-income communities. The idea is to arm them with the tools and skills they need to flourish in this impactful field of community-oriented finance.”
We want to thank the team OFN, and at BBVA Compass for their partnership and support of this program, especially Reymundo Ocañas, the bank’s EVP of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation.