International Women’s Day 2019 celebrated by CIBC FirstCaribbean with ‘Job Shadows’

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.

Branch Manager of the Warrens Banking Centre Malcolm Martindale (centre) presented all female staff at the branch carnations on International Women's Day.

Branch Manager of the Warrens Banking Centre Malcolm Martindale (centre) presented all female staff at the branch carnations on International Women’s Day.

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 they were 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.

Manager of the Sunset Crest Branch Carolyn Cozier (left) greets St. Michael School student Danielle Worrell while Michelle Whitelaw, Director of Retail Banking Channels (second left) Lester Vaughn student Alyssa Payne, Queen College student Zwena Knight and the bank's Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney share in the moment.

Manager of the Sunset Crest Branch Carolyn Cozier (left) greets St. Michael School student Danielle Worrell while Michelle Whitelaw, Director of Retail Banking Channels (second left) Lester Vaughn student Alyssa Payne, Queen College student Zwena Knight and the bank’s Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney share in the moment.

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.

CIBC FirstCaribbean's Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney welcome students Danielle Worrell (St Michael School), Alyssa Payne (Lester Vaughn) and Zwena Knight (Queens College) to the bank on International Women's Day.

CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney welcome students Danielle Worrell (St Michael School), Alyssa Payne (Lester Vaughn) and Zwena Knight (Queens College) to the bank on International Women’s Day.

Danielle Worrell, who spoke on behalf of the trio said the day was a “very wonderful experience”.

Earlier in a message to staff to mark the day, Ms. Delaney, the first female CEO of the bank said while the bank was proud of the number of females serving at very high levels, there was still room for improvement especially at the senior executive level.

“I am reminded of this every time I chair a meeting of our executive committee and realise I am the only female around the table, although I do have some company in the senior executive team and the senior leadership team,” she said.

Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean Colette Delaney hosted the students for lunch and they were joined by other senior female members of staff.

Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean Colette Delaney hosted the students for lunch and they were joined by other senior female members of staff.

However, she added that she was “proud of the support system we have put in place to help our women develop and rise to whatever level of our organization they may aspire to“.

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.

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