MReport September 2018

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26 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY leaders called 'Advice to My Younger Self,'" Millard explained. The discussion, which was open to all employees, was followed by a networking session. Jones also detailed two of Citizens' development programs. "We have an executive mentor - ship program to support profes- sional and personal growth and help accelerate career trajectories. Within the Consumer Bank, we also have a rotational leadership development program that offers participants exposure to different parts of the consumer banking strategy and helps teach col - leagues to make decisions with a customer-experience lens and lead with outcomes and solutions." Jones also revealed that Citizens Bank has a formal recognition program entitled "Credo Awards," which gives "all employees great opportunities for recognition." Encouraging Communication C ompanies let their employ- ees know they are listening when they hold review pro- cesses designed to encourage employee input. Aydelotte expressed her desire to see other companies "perform regular pay-equity reviews for all positions. Pay-equity reviews go beyond ensuring new hires or annual merit increases are within certain ranges. They are much more comprehensive, and they are analyzed by using a variety of data points that include gender, race, and age." "If you want to be involved, raise your hand, and the com - pany will embrace your desire to seek new challenges," said Jones. "Citizens' annual review process includes various feedback sessions and allows individuals to set the direction for their career trajectory and express the areas they are most passionate about exploring or deepening their expertise." Jones added that she has seen instances where the company showed support for women who expressed interest in new chal - lenges, as evidenced by "putting the individual on a key initiative that helps them close the gap they'd identified—even at times when there is not an open role in that space at the time—and to help build their skills for a role they may not be ready for yet. This allows the individual to 'show their stuff' and allows the leadership to evaluate, mentor, and provide the next career chal - lenge." Ramping up Participation E xpanding the horizons of employees' participation in their industry and community is another effective means com- panies are utilizing to integrate women effectively. Companies are actively sponsoring con- ferences, summits, and other events designed to promote women's advancement within the mortgage industry. Millard commended Arch MI's backing of broader industry par - ticipation. Millard said, "In 2018, SVP Valerie Ausband established the Arch MI Executive Women's Conference to bring together female leaders from across the country. At the initial event in Sea Island, Georgia, more than 40 women who work in the housing industry gathered to network, share insights and lessons learned, and discuss relevant trends." "Arch MI plans to present the Executive Women's Conference every two years," Millard added. Jones believes other companies should emulate Citizens Bank's laudable support of expanded industry and community partici - pation. She said Citizens promotes women demonstrating "their leadership, passion, and success, for example, speaking at industry events." According to Jones, such external participation validates women employees' contributions "on many levels." "Our community involvement at Citizens is strong and genuine, and it allows individuals to give back to causes that matter most to them," Jones said, "whether that's a mentorship organization or a women's shelter. At Citizens, our colleagues thrive on working together to improve the financial well-being of individuals, families, businesses, and our communities. While helping customers reach their potential, colleagues have the chance to fulfill their own through ongoing opportunities to learn and grow." Eshoo stressed the importance of women involving themselves in professional and community organizations and using these opportunities such as forums and panel discussions to network with other women and promote and encourage women in business. "I began my career in the 1980s when the workforce was definitely male dominated—I encountered bias against women in the work - place almost every day," Eshoo said. "But I have also been encour- aged by the rise of female leader- ship and the continuity of women ascending to senior-level manage- ment roles. Now is a great time for women in business and we need to nurture one another to achieve our own individual goals. Women need to support other women— we learn from one another and we uplift one another." Advancing Progress A ydelotte adheres to the theory that women need to be aware that companies' efforts cannot replace self-determina- tion. Aydelotte champions de- velopment and education, telling MReport, "Years ago, I attained Six Sigma certification. Pursuing a deeper knowledge of process management helped advance my career with several employers and through the financial crisis." She continued, "At this point, I set a personal goal to obtain a master's degree in economics. I wanted to learn more about global banking structures, bank - ing regulation, governance, and macroeconomics. I completed my master's degree at the University of London in 2016." Goal setting is part and parcel of successful development. "Women should consider how they help their organizations conduct strategic planning, such as assessing industry horizons and setting strategy, and apply the same process to their careers," Aydelotte said. "On a regular basis, you should determine your personal and professional goals for the next few years and cre - ate a strategy and action plan to achieve them. Ask yourself at the end of every week, 'What did I do to get closer to my goals?'" DRU MURRAY has served as an editor of and written for various B2B and consumer magazines, including Les Nouvelles Esthetiques, Southern Boating, Wine News, and The Gourmet Retailer, plus local newspa - pers. Murray also edits for various clients, including American Airlines and Fervent. "The BRGs are championed by executive sponsors and chaired by senior leaders from across the bank to demonstrate commitment at all levels." —Deborah Jones, SVP, Director of Secondary Marketing, Citizens Bank Home Mortgage

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