SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – All across the region eager young women filed into the branches and offices of regional bank CIBC FirstCaribbean to “fill” a variety of positions for the day on Friday March 8.
The “job shadow” was one of the bank’s key activities across its 16-member regional footprint to mark International Women’s Day observed around the world on that date. It saw scores of female students from secondary and tertiary institutions joining meetings with senior managers and executives or going on the frontlines with retail staff as they got a feel for the various roles performed by the bank’s 3000 employees, seventy per cent of whom are women.
At the bank’s regional headquarters in Barbados, Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney and Managing Director for Barbados and the OECS, Donna Wellington, welcomed three new “assistants” for the day when she was joined by Zwena Knight, 16, from Queen’s College, Alyssa Payne, from The Lester Vaughan School and Danielle Worrell, from The St. Michael’s School.
The three, who have a firm grounding in accounting and business studies, shadowed Ms. Delaney for most of the morning sitting in on meetings with her and Chief Administrative Officer Neil Brennen and other senior members of the bank.
She noted that the students were engaged and “fully participated and had a good input” during one of her meetings. She said that the job shadow was intended to show the students that there was a whole lot more to banking that just the familiar retail functions. The students also spent time in the marketing, legal, risk and corporate banking segments at head office and were later taken on a tour of the Sunset Crest Branch by the CEO and Michelle Whitelaw, Director of Retail Banking Channels. They were also treated to lunch in the bank’s boardroom where they were joined by a number of senior female leaders.
On St. Maarten, St. Dominic High IB students, Selena Wadhwani and Srishti Rajani assisted Customer Service Manager, Carolyn Langhorne and Senior Customer Service Representative, Miranda Hodge. They also had the opportunity to sit with a Credit Manager, Sales Specialist, and Customer Service Officer. Stepping into the world of banking, the students learnt of the many careers available within the industry, such as Human Resources, which was of special interest to them.
In addition to the job shadow there were various activities to recognise and reward the contribution of women to business and the society as well as seminars and mentorship sessions and donations to women and girl’s charities.