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A Colleague's Journey to New Career Experiences

At Citizens, we recognize everyone’s career journey is unique. We encourage colleagues to follow their interests and curiosity to explore new opportunities within Citizens when they’re ready for the next chapter. With programs, upskilling and networking opportunities, advice and guidance, you can build the career you want with us. In 2023, almost 30% of colleagues accepted new roles internally.

Jessika, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Product Associate of Commercial Liquidity, shares in her own words how pursuing curiosity, being open to learning and growth and building meaningful relationships across the organization paved the way for her career.

My career in banking began when I was still in college. I was working as a universal banker full time and going to classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When I graduated, I was searching for what felt like the right next step for me. I applied to multiple gap year programs during this time – and continued to work full time in a branch.

It was in this period of my life, when I was ‘looking for what's next’, that my regional manager and I had a development conversation.

My regional manager asked me what I wanted to do now that I graduated. I told her about my passion for community work. She didn’t miss a beat, quickly telling me all about Citizens’ commitment to community development. She also offered suggestions about how to orient myself toward this goal. A seed was planted, but looking back, there was a lot of work I had to do to make things happen.

About six months following this development conversation, I moved into a small business specialist role. It was in this role that I pursued some critical development opportunities that opened important doors for me. Specifically, I participated in a non-traditional training and education program that allowed me to obtain the necessary requirements to become a business banker.

Throughout my career, building relationships with my team and managers has always been really important, including sharing my career ambitions.

My management team knew I was putting in the time and effort to become a business banker, and they knew this was an important next step for me in my career. In March 2020, when a virtual business banker position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity to take it on. I remember getting my laptop in hand the same week the world seemed to shut down as a result of COVID-19.

Pursuing growth will look different for each person, and for each unique situation.

It was during this time, with COVID changing our lives and me working in a new business banking position, that I partnered with a career coach outside of Citizens. Pursuing growth will look different for each person, and for each unique situation. For me, coaching complimented what I was working on during my day job – managing my work strategically and with increased autonomy. But coaching also helped me see more clearly the intersection between my passions for community, the environment, and this increasingly recognizable effort known as ESG. I followed my curiosity on this topic and pursued a lot of self-education.

There is so much potential and value in participating in BRGs.

Participating in Business Resource Groups (BRGs) provides colleagues with not only professional development resources, but also social resources too – networking with fellow colleagues! Being a part of the Women’s Impact Network (WIN) helped me connect with other members to learn about what’s out there and practice leading initiatives in a safe environment.

Through BRGS I learned about professional development resources offered by our Citizens Talent Acquisition advisors. They hold ‘Office Hours’, where you can spend time with a recruiter who will review your resume 1:1. And their ‘Day in the Life’ series are virtual info sessions where hiring managers host events to answer questions about the open role on their team. I took advantage of both these opportunities to help me explore where I could take my career next.

Finally, I established critical connections through BRGs – people who supported my curiosity and passions. Kristy Olinger, Development Consultant for the Enterprise Experience Organization (EXO) and a WIN leader at the time, was a huge supporter of my leadership development. And Hugh Peltz, Head of Corporate Services, Property and Procurement, offered a lot of ESG insights and guidance – including books to read and trends to follow in the ESG space, etc. Combining the career resources Citizens offers and the support I received through people I met in BRGs, I finally found – and accepted – the role I’m in now in February 2022.

Being a Citizens colleague… is honestly part of my identity.

Being a Citizens colleague is really important to me. It has honestly become a part of my identity. There have been times where I feel like Citizens, my managers and other leaders across the organization have truly gone out of their way to advocate for my career, celebrate my accomplishments, and take a chance on my potential. My advice to anyone looking for ‘their next career move’ is to follow your passion or curiosity and find the people who want to help – they are here!

Read more stories showcasing the unique paths our colleagues have taken to achieve career success.

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