“Pursue Excellence until Excellence is Achieved.” – Bishop Robert L. Sanders, Sr.
When I started college, I wanted to be a lawyer, and I had every intention of doing just that. Now, it’s hard to believe that I have been in banking for over 14 years. I never knew I would love working in the banking industry as much as I do. I have met people of various backgrounds, worked in diverse areas, and created outlets to pursue success. Here are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned (so far) along the way.
1. Be Proactive to Reach Your Goals
A professional goal I set for myself is to never remain stagnant in the same position for more than two years. I started my career as a part-time teller, and, being new to the industry, I looked to other staff members as mentors to see what they did to become successful in their roles. From that point on, I received a promotion nearly annually. A major factor to my success has been understanding when and where I can bring value to the organization. When a need would arise, I would meet with leadership to see how I could help the organization.
2. Insert Yourself into the Conversation
Throughout my professional journey, I have always looked to leadership. I believe that every board, leadership, or management team needs someone that can bring new and fresh ideas to the table. Taking risks to contribute new ideas is one of my unique assets. You have to identify your strengths and take opportunities to create your own seat at the leadership table. You can’t wait for change to come a long, you must be the change.
3. Mentoring Goes Both Ways
I started as a mentor at Riverside High School in a leadership program started by HSBC Bank. The program gave me the opportunity to mentor a student from freshman year until graduation. Everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to both be a mentor or have a mentor, whether formally or informally. I had the privilege of having mentors throughout my life, and the greater privilege of being one. Mentors can encourage and guide you while mentees can inspire and motivate you.
4. Remember Where You Come From
I enjoy being involved within my community and am proud to say I am a product of my community. From my teachers to my community leaders, all of the community members have given me guidance along the way and helped shape who I am today. Coretta Scott King stated, “the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members”.
Bonus: Buffalo Pride
Having the heart to dedicate to your community, helps to accelerate change. Buffalo IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE. My friends know Buffalo for snow and chicken wings, but more than that, Buffalo is a place where you can excel in your career, in your education, and in your business pursuits. There is a mural that says “Keep Buffalo A Secret,” but I say, let the secret out “Buffalo is Roaring”.