The journey to success in Corporate America can be both exhilarating and challenging. The career trajectory can be a fast-track race where opportunities abound for equal-level growth. Yet, for some, particularly people of color, the race can be slower and does not always present equal opportunities. Recent events have proven there are still significant social equity hurdles to overcome in our country. To close existing equity gaps, we must nurture a culture of access and inclusivity by making Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) an integral part of business practices.

The road has not always been easy for me, but I learned from managers, mentors, and peers how to navigate my career so I could experience greater opportunities along the way. Because of their counsel, it has been a priority for me to coach and mentor others.

Whether listening to challenges or offering advice, I have always enjoyed helping people. Caring for others is part of my DNA, which made pursuing the Learning and Development path feel like a natural fit. However, after graduating from the College of Wooster, I spent several years working in Information Technology. Nonetheless, my desire to help people never left.

I have always focused on keeping a growth mindset, both in myself and those I work with and lead. Having this mindset means being curious and believing you can continuously develop your abilities through dedication and hard work, with intelligence and talent as the starting point.

I reached a pivotal point when I knew I wanted to do something different professionally but wasn’t sure how to make a change. After conversations with leaders and colleagues I looked up to and respected, I decided it was time for a career move. This change was not free from anxiety. But when I considered the possibilities, I decided to trust my instincts and transitioned from IT to pursuing a Learning and Development opportunity at Nationwide Financial.

After 14 years with Nationwide – serving as the Director of Learning Solutions, and Associate Vice President for Learning and Development – I set my sights on a new opportunity in banking, joining Huntington National Bank in 2018 to take the Learning and Leadership Development Director role. I was not driven to this opportunity by money or title – instead, it was the company’s people-first culture and Purpose-driven approach to business that attracted me.

At Huntington, we bring our values to life by continuously learning. During my tenure in this role, our team developed Pathways, a full-service, internal online training platform focused on developing talent.

Later, I was proud to assume the additional role of Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Culture Officer. Critical thinking, inclusive behaviors, a growth mindset, and a bias for action are key leadership skills I focus on at work and in life every day.

Huntington has proven its commitment to DE&I and the wellbeing of its employees by embracing initiatives that cultivate diversity of thought, experiences, and ideas. From our Business Resource Groups and Inclusion Councils to our $40 billion Community Plan, Social Equity Colleague plan, supplier diversity, and Cultural Celebration Week – a celebration of cultural differences – Huntington continues to create a more inclusive environment that leverages diversity.

All leaders, especially up-and-coming professionals, should join an organization that builds DE&I into its culture, daily routines, and prioritizes learning and development of its people.

To thrive in the professional world, I encourage leaders to seek and become the following:

  •  A Sponsor – seek someone to be an advocate for your development when you’re not in the room and become an
    advocate for someone else.
  • An Apprentice – seek someone to show you the way. Specifically, how to navigate the corporate career journey and
    do that for someone else.
  •  A Mentor – seek someone who will provide constructive feedback, be a truth-teller for you, and become that for
    someone else.

We are all stewards of our personal development and growth. Focusing our time and energy in this space and embracing a growth mindset will go a long way to helping reach our career goals.





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