Diversity AND Inclusion in PACB Leadership…it’s About Time!

Someone once said that “diversity is being invited to the dance; inclusion is being invited to dance”.  If this is true, than PACB is finally dancing!

After over 140 years serving community banks throughout the Commonwealth, PACB has its first woman Chair, Lori Cestra, EVP & COO of Enterprise Bank in Pittsburgh.  This milestone has been a long time coming.  Hats off to Lori for her willingness to commit to the role and to supporting community banks across the state.  And, to their credit, Lori’s peers on the PACB Board recognized her energy and talent, and welcomed her into the inner circle of PACB leadership.

However, the question remains:  how do we rectify this severely unbalanced situation, so that the next woman or person of color to serve as PACB Chair will simply be part of the normal course of events, rather than an outlier event?

On a basic level, while diversity means different things to different people, a desired outcome is often to broaden the range of thought, perspective and experience—while leveling the playing field and seeking to optimize business decision-making.  That being said, in order to achieve this broader perspective, organizations need to recognize the importance and value of a wider representation of diverse talent in both senior leadership positions and on their board of directors. After all, your bank’s customer base and growth markets are all getting less homogenous, as is your future employee base.  Customers in the important Gen Y and Gen Z demographics are now buying homes and starting to save for their young kids’ college education.  This important demographic typically cares a lot about diversity, ethical and responsible corporate citizenship, and equal opportunity.

Sadly, too many community banks fall short here, victims of their own unconscious bias and preconceived demographic perceptions.  We have to do better!  Not to mention that our regulatory agencies have begun moving “diversity” onto their front burner agendas.  For publicly traded companies, the risk of criticism for a lack of diversity is even higher.

There is no secret sauce that will solve this systemic challenge for the industry, especially since this is a long term issue. However, there are a few basic steps which can begin to help move the banking industry along on this journey, and create an organization where inclusion has real meaning:

  • Start by really listening to your colleagues who are black, brown or women, to better understand their experiences inside the organization, and where the bank can evolve to make it feel more welcoming to all future employees. The lack of real inclusion is where many firms fall short, despite good intentions.
  • Address the very real challenges of unconscious bias. To be sure, we all have our own internal biases, and they affect how we might approach people—whether a current or future employee, or a bank customer.  Education in this arena is an absolute must—across the organization.
  • Take a hard look at your leadership team and board of directors. If these groups are homogenous (either in gender or ethnicity), the message being sent is not helping.  Potential diverse employees will not see the role modeling at the top which would indicate that the bank is serious about equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Consider partnering with local high schools, community colleges and other educational institutions in your markets to better inform students about the opportunities in banking. Take a ground floor approach to developing a more diverse workforce.

As part of this, consider how your bank goes to market for new employees in general, especially for entry level jobs and new graduates.  Instead of the traditional boring job advertisements that banks are known for, we need to focus on what resonates with younger Gen Y and Gen Z.  Something like “if you want to work for a technology-driven business that cares deeply about its customers and gives back to its communities…come talk with us!”  These aspects of a potential employer—technology, customer-centricity and a focus on communities—are very meaningful to rising generations.

It is indeed laudable that Lori is PACB’s first woman to serve as Chair.  For added perspective, the state’s other bank trade association, PA Bankers, has had only three women serve as Chair in its 125 year history.  The PACB Hall of Fame has six women members out of a total of 117 (5%).  The PACB Board is better, with 4 women out of 28 bankers serving (14%).  Nevertheless, in a state that at one point had many hundreds of community banks, 4 female Chairs between the two organizations in over a century leaves a lot of room for improvement.   We have an obligation to do better!

Lori’s elevation to PACB Chair is not the end of the journey but the beginning.  If community banks in PA and elsewhere are going to continue to thrive and survive, then grappling with the challenges of equality, diversity and inclusion must be more than a project.  It must become an integral part of how banks do business every day.

<To read the article in its published format, click here  https://hometown-banker.thenewslinkgroup.org/diversity-and-inclusion-in-pacb-leadership-its-about-time/>

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search

and board advisory firm headquartered in suburban Philadelphia.   You can reach

Alan at 610-642-5644 or alan@KaplanPartners.com.

Board Governance For The New Year

<To view the article in its published format, click here Governance For The New Year>

Business conditions, financial markets and competitive landscapes are always changing. But perhaps there is no arena of business undergoing a more significant transformation at the moment than corporate governance.

Whether driven by activists investors, regulators, institutional shareholders, governance gadflies or best practices, corporate governance is in the crosshairs for many organizations today. And in the banking sector — where some in Washington have placed a bullseye on the industry’s back — an enhanced focus on governance is the order of the day.

Bank boards today would be well served to pay close attention to three important aspects of governance: board composition, size and director age and tenure. When left to their own devices, too often inertia will set in, causing boards to ignore needed enhancements to corporate governance and boardroom performance. Even in the private company and mutual space, there is room for improvement and incorporation of best practices if a bank wants to continue to remain strong and independent.

<To read the article in its published format, click here Board Governance For The New Year>

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm headquartered in suburban Philadelphia. Kaplan Partners is the country’s only talent advisory firm member of both the ABA and ICBA, as well as a longstanding partner of Bank Director. You can reach Alan at 610-642-5644 or alan@KaplanPartners.com.

Accenture’s Roxanne Taylor Appointed to AESC Global Board of Directors

Accenture’s Roxanne Taylor Appointed to AESC Global Board of Directors
https://www.aesc.org/insights/press-releases/accentures-roxanne-taylor-appointed-aesc-global-board-directors

Former Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Accenture, Taylor Brings Brand Vision and Digital-First Expertise to Global Executive Search and Leadership Consulting Association.

The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) has appointed Roxanne Taylor, formerly chief marketing & communications officer at Accenture, to its board as an independent director. The AESC Global Board of Directors combines elected representatives from each of AESC’s three Regional Councils: Americas; Asia Pacific and Middle East; Europe and Africa, with now two independent directors. Taylor is only the second independent director appointed to the AESC Board in the association’s nearly 60-year history, after the appointment of Stefan Spang of McKinsey & Company in 2017.

Based in New York, Taylor spent the past 23 years at Accenture, serving as the company’s chief marketing & communications officer for more than 10 years. She was instrumental in shaping Accenture as a global, market-leading brand, and more recently, actualizing the company’s digital-first and innovation-led strategy. Taylor’s passion for technology and her ability to drive innovation in brand-building led to her success in developing new digital platforms at Accenture, where she led a global team of more than 1,000 marketing and communications professionals and served as a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee.

Paul Benson, AESC Board Chair and Regional Market Leader, Europe Middle East & Africa, Global Industrial Market at Korn Ferry, commented, “Roxanne’s deep expertise in global marketing and branding, Professional Services, as well as digital innovation will provide a critical perspective to the AESC Board as we continue to focus on the digital transformations of both the organizations we serve and our own profession.”

Prior to joining Accenture in 1995, Taylor held business, investor relations and marketing roles for Reuters, Citicorp, Credit Suisse and the Deak-Perera Group. Named as one of Forbes’ “World’s Most Influential CMOs,” she is a member of the Marketing 50, Arthur W. Page Society, The Committee of 200 and Women’s Forum of New York. She previously served on the board of the Ad Council and currently serves on the Business Committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Taylor stated: “I’m delighted to join the board for the association of the executive search and leadership consulting profession which has such an important impact on organizations worldwide. As the already rapid rate of change continues to accelerate due to technological advancements—agility, foresight and entrepreneurial thinking will guide tomorrow’s most successful businesses. I look forward to helping shape the future course and strategy of AESC—in turn serving its global members and the clients they serve with the insights I have gleaned over the course of my career at Accenture and beyond.”

Taylor’s appointment follows a search process managed by AESC’s Nominating and Governance committee, chaired by Krista Walochik, AESC Board Chair Emeritus and Chair at executive search and leadership advisory firm Talengo/The Global Community for Leaders (TGCL), headquartered in Madrid. The AESC Board of Directors ensures that AESC membership represents the highest quality standard in the executive search and leadership consulting profession globally. “Roxanne will bring an integral outside perspective to the board as we navigate new opportunities in an era of rapid business transformation and innovation,” stated Walochik.
For inquiries please contact:

Joe Chappell
AESC
+1 646 757 5492
jchappell@aesc.org

Samuel Hyland
Accenture
+1 917 452 5184
samuel.hyland@accenture.com

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

AESC is the voice of excellence for the executive search and leadership consulting profession worldwide. Its rigorous Code of Professional Practice guides members in nearly 1,300 offices in 74 countries and beyond to serve as strategic advisors on behalf of their clients. In turn, AESC members are best positioned to provide companies with a competitive advantage—the ability to find, attract and develop the best talent in the world and ensure that executives are successfully integrated. Visit us at www.aesc.org.

Does Your Bank Have A Dream Team

Assessing Your Bank’s Leadership Team is the Foundation of Successful Succession Planning

<To View the Article in its published format, click here: Dream Team Article A 8-2017>

Many bank Boards of Directors and CEOs are proud of their bank’s executive team. And rightly so! Yet frequently those feelings of pride dissolve into uncertainty when the bank is faced with the decision to promote a banker into a top executive position or even the CEO role.

How does this happen? Why do well laid out succession plans sometimes evaporate in the face of reality when the time to elevate someone finally arrives? One of the reasons, based on our experience working with hundreds of community bank boards and executive teams, is that directors are often missing context when faced with a promotion decision. The lack of relative perspective on comparative candidates for similar roles may at times impede the comfort level necessary for a board to validate a promotion decision.

<To Read the Article in its published format, click here:  Dream Team Article A 8-2017>

This article appeared in the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers Publication in 2017.

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia.  Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA.  You can reach him at alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.

Meet the New Bank Executive

<To View the Article in its published format, click here:  Feature_Hiring_OctNov_Banking Exchange 2016  >

Today’s bank leader is under greater pressure than at any time since the financial crisis.  While the crisis itself was a hot mess, the banking climate remaining in the aftermath of the Great Recession has likely altered the course of the industry for decades to come.  The two most vital ingredients today for a bank’s long-term autonomy are capital and talent.  Without those two key elements, a bank’s future survival becomes much more of an uphill climb.

Much has and will continue to be written about the tangible banking skills and technical proficiencies which have become necessities for leaders in the industry today.  There’s a shopping list of experience with subjects such as regulatory relations, balance sheet management, capital strategy, commercial credit, investor relations, risk management, technology and strategic planning that are now considered “table stakes” for bank leaders and CEO contenders.  Despite this daunting plethora of needed banking skills, the real challenges lie in development of the key leadership requirements for institutional success, and in the navigation of the managerial challenges which lie ahead.

There is no shortage of experts touting their views on the vital leadership competencies of the day.  So we will focus here on three intangible but particularly important areas of emphasis in the human capital arena which are critical for the future bank leader’s success:  cultural agility, workforce flexibility and talent-centricity.

<To Read the Complete Article in its published format, Click here:    Feature_Hiring_OctNov_Banking Exchange 2016  >

The article appeared in the Oct./Nov. 2016 issue of Banking Exchange magazine, copyright 2016 by Simmons-Boardman Publishing.

 Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia.  Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA.  You can reach him at alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.