How inclusiveness earns interest at Bethpage Federal Credit Union


Let’s say your work history lacks the kind of qualifications that would make you a pro in, let’s call it, woke sciences. Maybe you’re a manager in accounting or a marketing assistant. You’d love to see your company evolve more in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) realm. But really, who are you to drive change?

Dennis McCue could easily have felt the same way. For 20 years, McCue has worked for Bethpage Federal Credit Union on Long Island. His résumé includes a position as Branch Manager in multiple branches as well as roles in Account Servicing and Loan & Member Services. With over 20 years’ experience managing people and connecting with the community, McCue had one set of experiences that provided him valuable insight in pioneering DE&I at Bethpage: McCue, who’s gay, decided 18 years ago to bring his “authentic self” to work every day.

“Well, it worked out really well for me,” McCue says. “In the beginning, you’re a little nervous about how people will perceive you or what will happen if you come out and say, hey, this is who I am. But it really didn’t seem to have an effect on anybody. Now I want that for my entire organization. We work 40 hours a week, we should all be happy, we should all be engaged, we should all be our authentic selves and bring that portion of us to work, right?”

These days, McCue has the opportunity to do just that. Two years ago, the company’s Human Resources department approached him, explaining that they were putting together a DEI advisory council—a group of diverse individuals the department could rely on to help guide its DE&I journey. “When I saw the direction they were taking, I was like, I really wanna be part of it,” McCue recalls.

More than being just a part of it, McCue now holds the position of the credit union’s DE&I Manager, working to provide ongoing DE&I education. Leading with transparency and collaboration, McCue is confident he and his team can build a workplace where all employees can experience a true sense of inclusion and belonging.

Getting to where he is now did require some training. With the guidance of an outfit called McLean & Co., Bethpage tackled its DE&I initiative. McCue volunteered to participate in DE&I focus groups, fishing for fellow employees’ thoughts, feedback, and ideas. From there, he worked on a strategic workshop, open to company-wide input, to help form the Bethpage DE&I gameplan.

Since then, with McCue’s help and great enthusiasm and support from employees, the company has made important strides in its DE&I efforts—strides McCue expects will be sustainable. McCue educates employees in areas of inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, and creating psychologically safe spaces to encourage and enhance positive interactions and to teach teammates of all backgrounds how to create a more inclusive workplace. On the LGBTQ+ front, Bethpage has made gender neutral bathrooms available throughout the organization and encourages teammates to add their pronouns to signatures. Plus, they sponsor the Queens and Long Island pride parades and participate in National Coming Out Day.

Looking ahead to 2024, Dennis and his team are excited to focus on developing, launching, and supporting Employee Resource Groups.

While McCue didn’t come to his role armed with a DE&I related degree, being himself and wanting to make a difference was enough to drive the evolution. Which just goes to show: Anyone can affect positive social change.