How Capital One is Building Innovation Through Diversity: An Interview with Tommy Blanchard


At Professional Diversity Network, we understand the value and innovation that comes out of workforces built on a foundation of diversity. Inclusive and culturally diverse environments bring collaboration to a new level with varying backgrounds and experiences coming together as one team. When we come across companies that put these values to work in their businesses, we can’t help but share!

Tommy Blanchard, VP of Recruiting

Capital One is just one of these examples, using a culture based on diversity to drive their business forward. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tommy Blanchard, Vice President of Recruiting, to get the inside scoop on what makes Capital One an awesome place to work for professionals that embrace differences in all. Here’s what we found out about daily life at Capital One.

 Company Overview

In a nutshell, what are the main goals of Capital One?

“Capital One is one of the 10 largest banks by deposits in the country and a Fortune 500 company. We’re a diversified bank with a broad array of financial products and services.

One of Capital One’s goals is to lead by innovation. We approach financial services challenges the way an Internet start-up would approach a development challenge.

Another goal we have is to continually foster a diverse, dynamic workplace guided by our values, Excellence and Do the Right Thing. Our values serve as the cornerstone of our culture and guide how our associates interact with each other and our customers. Our values set Capital One apart from other companies and serve as a measure of our success.”

What do you see ahead for your company in the next five years?

“Capital One will continue to focus on being a digital leader through innovation. We’ll harness technology to enhance the purchasing and banking experiences of our customers through new products and services to help them reach their goals. Internally, we’re focused on initiatives such as process redesign and ways to do more within existing budgets.

One of Capital One’s unique tools is our Innovation Lab that solves business challenges for the organization in a rapid-cycle testing environment to develop insights with a focus on quality and speed to market.”

Hiring and Career Advancement

What are the skills and attributes you value most for someone being hired at your company?

“At Capital One, we don’t hire people for positions—we hire people to build evolving, fulfilling careers. We encourage our associates to challenge themselves to grow in new areas as we push forward in the industry with innovative ideas. Our philosophy is simple: Hire great people and give them the opportunity to be great.”

Company Culture

What’s different about working at your company than anywhere else you’ve worked?

“Capital One believes it has the best and the brightest talent. Combining this great talent with our culture that promotes excellence and do the right thing; we create a culture that fosters a sense of “can do” attitude and innovative ideas that compares favorably with just about any other organization that I have seen.”

What is the company and team culture like?

“Since Capital One’s inception, we’ve had a unique, fast-paced, and entrepreneurial culture that embraces and celebrates our differences. We strive to attract great people and to give them the opportunity to be great. An essential part of our approach is to bring together associates with diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences that reflect the customers and communities we serve.”

What’s your favorite office tradition?

“Our team spends time together volunteering and building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Field Days and Team Cook-Off events are also favorites of mine.”

Diversity and Inclusion

What does diversity mean to Capital One?

“At Capital One, we are committed to providing an inclusive environment that values diversity—where the best people want to work, development opportunities are widely available, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are valued, and associates are encouraged to pursue their professional and personal goals.

Diversity at Capital One is about putting our differences to work to add value to our business. It goes beyond race, age, and gender to include ethnicity, nationality, culture, accent, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, education, physical ability, age, demographics, philosophy, and style.”

What systems do you have in place to create an inclusive work environment?

“To help foster a culture of innovation, engagement, and development, we have seven Associate Networks: African American Network, Asian Network, CapAbilities Network (support for disabilities), Hispanic Network, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Network, Military Network, and Women’s Network.”

What are the key benefits of Associate Networks for your employees?

“Associate Networks provide support in the form of programs, resources, and tools that enable Capital One’s associates to achieve their full potential in an environment that values the differences we all bring to the workplace.

While the programs of each of the Networks may vary, all seven include professional development and networking opportunities for their members as well as community volunteerism events. Currently more than 11,000 associates participate in Associate Networks.”

Lastly, what are some of the specific programs employees get involved in for these networks?

“Capital One also has Associate Connection groups, which are similar to Associate Networks, but less formal in structure and operation. They are driven and maintained by associates. Those include Adoption Connection, Autism Spectrum Connection, Microfinance Connection, Parent Connection, and Virtual Team Connection.”

Capital One is a prime example of a company doing great things to build a foundation with a diverse backbone. Are you looking for your next career move? Make sure you check out job opportunities at Capital One. They’re hiring nationwide and want you to apply!

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