Meet Valley's Chief Diversity and
Inclusion Officer

Library | 8/18/2020
tammy mata, diversity and inclusion

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We’re excited to share that Tammy Garnes Mata has joined Valley as our Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Tammy will lead the development, delivery and communication of a holistic Diversity and Inclusion strategy for the organization and partner with our Board of Directors, Executive Leadership Team, and Business Lines and Functions in driving awareness, commitment and accountability for Valley’s D&I initiatives, both internally and externally.

We recently asked Tammy a few questions to get to know her better and her vision for Diversity and Inclusion at Valley.


1.  What are you most excited about in your role as Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Valley?

I am incredibly excited to work with the great people at Valley. I have had some wonderful conversations with associates and have found that there is already a groundswell of support and interest in participating in D&I initiatives. I really look forward to amplifying and codifying the informal and department-based programming that is already taking place at Valley and building on our values of community impact and empowerment. I also know that partnering with so many associates will allow us to create a program that fully represents the diversity of talent, perspectives, backgrounds and interests that comprise our workforce.


2.  What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

There’s a saying that I love that I think explains it well: “Diversity is being invited to the party, Inclusion is being asked to dance, and Equity is being asked to contribute to the playlist.”  For me, diversity is about celebrating the many things that make each of us unique. Inclusion exists when each of us can bring our authentic selves to work, share our perspectives and feel both seen and heard. Equity and belonging are also important components of a positive and innovative work culture—equity ensures that every associate has the same access to career opportunities and belonging ensures that associates feel included and respected by their coworkers and teammates.


3.  What inspires you in your career?

My parents have always been a source of inspiration for me. They emigrated to the US from Panama with very little in the 1960s and built a life for my sisters and me. They worked hard to give us as many opportunities as they could and supported and encouraged us throughout our lives. Whenever I think that an obstacle is insurmountable, I think about the sacrifices that they made and what they were able to accomplish through hard work and perseverance.


4.  What is the most helpful advice you have ever received?

A mentor once told me to be like a rabbit and keep my ear to the ground. I don’t know if rabbits actually do this, but what he meant was to pay attention to everything that is happening in the workplace. It’s really easy to stay singularly focused on your immediate tasks and duties, but if you lose sight of where a company is going and the skills and relationships you will need to grow with it, you miss out on the opportunities that will help you grow your career.


5.  Is there a moment in your career that you're most proud of? 

As a former employment lawyer and a current D&I practitioner, my proudest moments have been those where I have been able to ensure that people are treated fairly and equitably in the workplace and where I have been able to create an environment where employees feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work.


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