CIBC FirstCaribbean offers career advice to female students Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

“I didn’t know that a work environment could be so friendly and inviting,” Kisa Greene said after spending International Women’s Day at CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

The Princess Margaret Secondary School Head Girl was one of ten female students who had the opportunity to spend the day, tour the bank’s various departments and engage top officials including Chief Executive Officer, Mark St. Hill; Managing Director, Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean, Donna Wellington; Chief Auditor, Khadija Bourne; Director, Retail Banking Channels, Michelle Whitelaw and Head of International Corporate Banking, Suediann Conliffe.

Greene said she was unaware that the bank had so many departments and such a wide variety of jobs.

“Now, if I am looking for a career in the banking industry, I have a better insight into what I could choose and some idea of how to get there. The experience could help me to decide what not to choose.” She added.

Latish Corbin, a sixth-form student of the Christ Church Foundation School described the day as “enjoyable and yet full of learning” opportunities. Corbin, who is studying business-related subjects said she had gained a lot of knowledge about how the bank works and it helped her to decide what career she could gear herself for in banking or the financial sector.

Director of Organizational Development Liza Bynoe (third right) welcomes the students to her section while Shakida Grant, Senior Manager Client and Employee Engagement (fourth right), Maria Boyce-Taylor, Associate Director, Client and Employee Engagement, Diana Leacock, Officer, Client and Employee Engagement along with students, Deandria Kellman, St Michael School (left), Saraya Lambert Combermere School and Talisia Trotman (right) of Springer Memorial listen.

The bank CEO’s career was mentioned as an example that one could start at the beginning and yet rise to the top. He started as a teller at the Wildey Branch of the bank.

St Hill also told the students that they should be encouraged by the number of women holding top positions in the bank. He explained that this was not by special design but rather because the women were qualified for the jobs.

Greene, Corbin and the other secondary school students -Destinee Bruce, of Lester Vaughan; Akeelah George of Frederick Smith; Ashani Griffith, The Alleyne School; Deandria Kellman, St. Michael’s; Saraja Lambert, Combermere; Talisha Trotman, Springer Memorial; Kayla Prescod, Deighton Griffith; and Dakota Callender, Coleridge and Parry – heard first-hand from some of the bank’s women how they reached their levels. Wellington told them about the turns her career took and pointed out that a career path does not necessarily follow a straight line.

She was supported by Bourne who advised them to be open to learning at all stages of their careers and this would help with their advancement and general self-development. Later, Whitelaw stressed the importance of taking an interest in one’s advancement; as an example, she said, if someone found a position interesting and wanted to know more about it, they should use their initiative to do so, by speaking with the holder of such a position or using their break to shadow that person.

“We really hope that this exercise will help some of our students to become more focused. We’d love to do it with more girls but there is a limit to how many we can physically accommodate in one day, so we encourage the schools to select the student that they think would benefit most from the opportunity. The choice is totally up to the school” stated Donna Wellington.

CIBC FirstCaribbean has used the opportunity of International Women’s Day to share with girls from some of the island’s secondary schools not only in Barbados, but a similar exercise takes place in some of the other territories in which the bank operates in the region.