OppLoans, a leading financial technology platform that serves middle income, credit challenged consumers, has announced that Michelle Y. Bess will join the company as vice president of talent & diversity, equity and inclusion.
A highly regarded DEI leader in the business community, Bess brings a strong dynamic background in leading DEI strategies, executive coaching, innovative educational programs and employee development. In her new role, Bess will lead leadership development and talent management efforts, employee DEI education and training, as well as introduce new employee culture programs that promote inclusivity and equity across the company.
“Michelle brings a new level of DEI and talent leadership that will strengthen who we are and how we embody our mission across the company,” said Karishma Patel Buford, chief people officer, OppLoans. “Building upon the foundation we established in 2019, she will be pivotal in helping us infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices into everything we do, and more importantly, learn how we can be a better company for our employees, customers, partners, and the communities we reside in.”
Bess was most recently the global director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Sprout Social. She also worked in college persistence at OneGoal and Posse Chicago and is an Alumna of the Surge Fellowship. Bess is a frequent industry speaker and outside educator. She serves as board chair of Degrees of Change and served as president of the Chicago Public Library Foundation Associate Board. She is also the founder and co-leader of The Brave Space, a collaborative for those leading DEI or interested in developing DEI initiatives at their organizations.
“I am truly excited to join the OppLoans team and work together to create systems that enable us to operate equitably while ensuring that people of all identities can build successful careers. It is my personal mission to connect people of color to opportunity,” said Michelle Y. Bess, vice president of talent & diversity, equity and inclusion, OppLoans.
“It’s important to me that we demonstrate to the world that businesses can lead through a lens of equity, both by doing good and being profitable. We will also expand this equity work to our customers and communities. The excitement and eagerness of the OppLoans executive leadership to do that kind of work is what inspired me to join this team,” adds Bess.