Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Take Our Daughters to Work Day

April 28, 2016, marked the 23rd year of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. On the fourth Thursday of each April, working parents all across America take their children to work with them so they can experience the work world. Some companies have organized activities for youth as well. Such was the case on April 29 when BB&T offered five area teen Girl Scouts a career day at their regional headquarters in Virginia Beach in honor of the national observance.

Senior Vice President and Regional Business Deposits Officer III Cheryle Mack, who is also board chair of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, put this on the bank’s calendar months ago when she and the Council’s CEO Tracy Keller had a discussion about offering more leadership opportunities for teen members.

“I think it is vital for young women to have an opportunity to explore a number of careers before they set their career compass,” Mack said. “I think the one thing they will learn from today’s experience will be the willingness to be flexible and to be open to possibilities. I didn’t set out to be a senior vice president of a bank. There were a lot of twist and turns along the way.”

Cheryle Mack and Genesis
The day of exploration started early for the five teens who were selected based on their demonstrated leadership experience and their interest in the banking field. Mack welcomed the girls with a briefing in one of the banks conference rooms where on any other day important clients would be meeting with bank managers or officers. She shared her own career background and told how finding her voice and taking thought-out risks helped her earn promotions at BB&T. Mack also spoke about the struggles that she as a woman faces in the business arena and how while things have gotten better there still is a lot of room for improvement.

Three women managers who are Mack’s coworkers and had volunteered to mentor girls for the day followed her opening: Beth Reid, employee benefit agent and officer; Jenna Mackay, vice president and wealth management advisor; and Stacy Wells, vice president and small business specialist team leader. Each woman talked about their journeys to leadership, obstacles they faced along the way and what they enjoy about their jobs.

“There is so much that goes on in a bank,” Mack told the girls. “It’s more than the tellers and branch managers. I want today to be about you seeing all sorts of opportunities in the banking industry.”

Based on their career interests for the future, the Girl Scouts split into small groups to meet with the mentors from BB&T and gain an in-depth understanding of their jobs.

Jenna Mackay and Lily
Lily, a Girl Scout Senior from Chesapeake, spent the morning with Mackay, where she learned about strategies for managing wealth and investments. Mackay told Lily about how she worked her way up in the banking industry, after first working as a personal banker in 1999. She also talked about the certifications and licenses she has to maintain in order to do her job.

“I never knew that there were so many different ways to manage personal finances,” Lily said.

The group reconvened for lunch, where they had candid conversations with their BB&T mentors that included discussing important topics such as building credit and protecting themselves against fraud and identity theft, along with some “girl talk” that led to sharing information on favorite vacation spots.

In today’s world, women hold just 14.2 percent of the top five leadership positions at companies. Girl Scouts are working to fill this gap by giving girls opportunities to interact with female role models who are leaders in business so that girls can picture themselves in similar roles in the future.