Capital Region CATALYZE

Fresh Take ft. Evelyn Lee

November 09, 2021 Greater Washington Partnership
Capital Region CATALYZE
Fresh Take ft. Evelyn Lee
Show Notes Transcript

This Fresh Take interview featured Evelyn Lee, President, Greater Washington Region at Truist Financial Corp. JB Holston and Evelyn discussed Truist’s inclusive growth efforts in the Capital Region, the imperative for cross-sector collaboration to power meaningful change, and the intersection of diversity and innovation.

Hosted by JB Holston.  Produced by Jenna Klym, Justin Matheson-Turner, Christian Rodriguez, and Nina Sharma. Edited by Christian Rodriguez. 

Learn from leaders doing the work across the Capital Region and beyond. These conversations will showcase innovation, as well as history and culture across our region, to bridge the gap between how we got here and where we are going.

About our guest:

Evelyn Lee is  regional president for Greater Washington Region at Truist Financial Corporation. She assumed her current position in December 2019, upon the closing of the merger of equals between BB&T Corporation and SunTrust Banks, Inc.  

In this role, Lee is the company’s senior leader in the market responsible for delivering the full complement of the company’s services to clients in the area and directing the commercial business.   

Prior to her current role, Lee had been with SunTrust for 20 years and was senior vice president and head of senior living for the wholesale banking practice where she led a team of bankers, who covered national clients in the senior living and skilled nursing sectors. Previous roles included senior risk officer for Greater Washington, commercial team leader for the Not for Profit Division and senior portfolio manager for Corporate Banking for SunTrust Robinson Humphries.  

Lee is a founding board member of the DC International Charter School (DCI), one of the district’s largest charter schools. Lee sits on the executive committee of the Board of Trade as well as the boards of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, United Way of the National Capitol Area, Goodwill of Greater Washington, the Metropolitan Police Department Foundation and the Washington Airports Task Force.  She will complete the Leadership Greater Washington program in June of 2021.    

Lee was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and is fluent in French. She resides in the District with her husband and two daughters.  

Fresh Take featuring Evelyn Lee

Nina Sharma  0:02  
Welcome to fresh take a candid interview series featuring thought leaders and innovators from across the capital region. These one on one conversations, highlight the incredible work happening in our communities and showcase both where we are and where we are going as a region.

JB Holston  0:22  
And my guest today is Evelyn Lee, who's the president for the greater Washington region of truist. Evelyn, thanks very much for joining us.

Evelyn Lee  0:30  
Glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

JB Holston  0:31  
Great. I'm gonna give you folks a little bit of a bio about you, Evelyn. And then we're gonna dive right in. But Evelyn is as I mentioned, the regional president for Greater Washington at truist Financial Corporation will talk more with you about truist and who they are, how they came to be and sumed your current position in December 2019. responsible for delivering the full complement of the company's services to clients in the area. Evelyn's been with SunTrust, which is a predecessor organization to the merge the merge to us for about 20 years, it has done a great number of things there, but also does a number of things in the region as well, including the founding board member of the DC international charter school. You're on the executive committee of the board of trade on the boards of Junior Achievement, United Way of the National Capital Region, Goodwill of Greater Washington, the Metro Police Department Foundation, and the Washington airports Task Force. And then twist and Evelyn have been working with us on our inclusive growth effort for the last few months, as well. So it's great to have you here as we as we were observing prior to starting this, you've you've you've got Maryland, Virginia, and DC, all there so we couldn't have a more perfect guest for our for our conversation. Evelyn, let's talk a little bit about how you came to the role that you're in. You've been in banking for about 20 years. But let's start a little bit about you how you got into it and how you came to this particular role, then I'd love to talk more about truist.

Evelyn Lee  1:53  
Yeah, that'd be great. And thanks again, for having me really appreciate it. As you mentioned, I've been with the bank and its predecessors for a little bit over 21 years. And I joined right out of college and born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, although my family is here now. But I spent my entire career here in Greater Washington joined the bank really as I guess we call a baby banker. So analyst and then really taking care of small clients, business clients. And, and I've just done a bunch of different things at SunTrust. Now truist over the years,

JB Holston  2:24  
how do you folks think about that? How has it affected your organization? How does it permeate the bank, if you will?

Evelyn Lee  2:32  
So a couple of things that come to mind. The first is that, you know, I was I was very proud of how truist and our CEO at the time, he's now the chairman of the board. Kelly King addressed the events of last summer very early, very directly, and very steadfastly, no hesitation. And I think that really sent a message to you know, both our stakeholders, and all of our teammates who are really come together coming together to know one another hadn't really been the office together, that we that we did stand for something different, and we're willing to stake ourselves out on, you know, not just sort of the catchphrases associated with Dei. Now all that being said, you know, I think we've done a lot of a lot of good work. And there are certainly as we've kind of taken that hard objective, look at all different angles of the company. There are areas of improvement that we've identified, and we've been pretty, you know, forthcoming and vocal about those. And there are also areas where, when we took that good, hard, objective look, there was a lot to be proud of. So, you know, I think really knowing where you are, and being frank about that has been very helpful. And then you can come up with, you know, different ways and initiatives to address the gaps that you do have

JB Holston  3:50  
One of the things that the partnerships that go through inclusive growth work is minority business enablement. Yeah, the whole CDFI and MDI, sub industry, etc. And of course, your you folks are directly involved in financing those kinds of businesses, and to some degree, those kinds of institutions, as well. If you think about the role of larger financial institutions like yours, but also other kinds of organizations, relative to supplier diversity relative to minority businesses, etc. Do you see do you see an opportunity to do more collectively on that front?

Evelyn Lee  4:25  
I do. And I actually think it's one space where banks of course, where we have competitors have have really stepped up and have worked in conjunction with each other in a lot of cases. I mean, as an example of being on the partnerships, Inclusive Growth Council, you know, it is a huge positive to see my banking peers large and small in that group to be able to learn from one another, and really just hope the kind of all boats rise with that tide. So it's been a nice place for us to be able to collaborate. You know, I think I think truist is doing some interesting and unique things. And I love that other institutions and other companies are all So finding ways to, you know, to differentiate and just do something different that drives impact in the community. I mean, the two things that really jumped out the most in terms of high impact from from an investment perspective are of course, the community benefits plan that BB and bb&t and SunTrust, announced at the merger, which is 60 billion with a B, to be invested in Lent into LMI communities in all different sorts of way, whether that's mortgage lending, small business lending, you know, making sure that we've got branch coverage in the right spots. And so that that's been, that's been very high impact. And we are that those dollars were intended to be committed or spent in 2020, through 2022. And we're already ahead of pace to to do that. So there's just been a lot of energy and engagement there. And of course, you mentioned CDFIs, you know, we've we've certainly been, you know, active in that space. We have some interesting partnerships there. And, again, but the focus of how do we get those dollars to a place where they can quickly get into the right hands, where we don't have to build out a massive new infrastructure that takes you know, a couple of years to do it, and, and just drive impact with those dollars. So at a high level, at the corporate level, I think it's really just all about how do we lead our teams? And what sorts of things are we prioritizing. So, you know, here locally, we have our own initiatives that are sometimes aligned with some of those big dollar spends. And sometimes they're just new things that teammates bring us they're, you know, really good at granular and a particular community, or they really drive home a particular kind of area that teammates, his identity have identified as a focus of need for them. So I think making sure all those things are lined up from top all the way to, you know, local leadership is really important. And that's when you feel that sort of authenticity of culture.

JB Holston  6:53  
Yeah. You mentioned the the community benefits plan and six 60 billion are responsible for deploying that. How does that how does it work?

Evelyn Lee  7:04  
You mentioned the different divisions of the bank. So certainly, mortgage lending is a big one, small business, we have community development officers, each market has their own community development officer. So my partner here, we really work in lockstep and bubbling up places where we think this could really fit with the investment need. And again, going back to that kind of community banking approach, when he and I, or any of our teammates, you know, bring something and say, This feels like it really lines up with a mission, the purpose and falls up under one of these different categories of places where we, you know, we're looking to invest or lend. There's a lot of there's a lot of momentum there. So we're doing, you know, community development lending, and we mentioned small business lending, CRA qualified lending, mortgage lending, I mean, you name it, it's, it's, you know, it's a, it's all on the table, as long as it's accomplishing what we want that that benefits plan to do.

JB Holston  8:00  
Right? What do you think about the greater Washington region? Obviously, our remit is Richmond to Baltimore, we tend to we talk about our work in that context. How do you folks define the region,

Evelyn Lee  8:12  
the region that I that I have responsibility for the bank is really I would call DC and sort of the commuting suburbs, although I guess the community suburbs do expand sometimes. So it is montgomery county, PG County, at the counties all the way up to Dulles, and then sort of down to Alexandria in in Virginia. And then I have a counterpart, who does the same thing for the remainder of Maryland. He's based in Baltimore, and then I have a counterpart who covers Virginia, except for Northern Virginia, because we really think of that as sort of a, you know, a, from a business perspective, part of the DC suburbs. And he sits in Richmond, and of course, we we get together and coordinate frequently, especially on these sorts of things. So as an example, there are a lot of organizations, the one yours included, that cover a broader swath of geography. And so my colleague in Baltimore, his name is Greg farno, will often get together and say, you know, there's an organization's doing great work in Baltimore, you know, they're starting to do work in DC, they're replicating How can we get together and kind of bring that partnership to bear for a larger, a larger part of the truest footprint? So there's a lot of collaboration from that perspective, it's not competitive, or I want that dollar and so he can't have it. It's really how can we maximize impact, you know, across the full tourist footprint? Great.

JB Holston  9:27  
You're involved in a variety of civic organizations in this in this region. And as you think about the region and you think about what stands out about the region, particularly the region that you're that you're covering? You know, many ways DC is very different from some of the some of the suburban areas and each of those are somewhat different one from another. But how do you think about it as a as a region, what differentiates it what makes it more competitive?

Evelyn Lee  9:53  
I think Greater Washington is so unique. And in my prior role for the bank, I had a chance to create Cover a national footprint, and, you know, really get to know lots of different business communities and geographic areas. And I still love coming back to Greater Washington and a couple things jumped out. I mean, first of all the level of diversity, and there are lots of different ways to look at diversity. But you know, I think there's a stats like close to 15% of the population here, wasn't born here. And you have folks who have immigrated here for for work for opportunity, you have folks who are here, because they are in the diplomatic corps, or they work for an international corporation. So you just have a really wonderful cultural arrangement here, think about all the different languages you hear just walking down the street, there's so many different parts of the community. So I do think people often say, oh, diversity is a strength here, for sure, I think that it is a strength. And then of course, you have a couple of unique aspects in terms of wealth and education. So when you put all those things together, you just have a lot of energy, and a lot of momentum. And I think that's what makes for me, being in the Greater Washington region. So fun and exciting.

JB Holston  11:08  
There's a lot of talk now about the new world of work that, you know, we're not going to go back to the way things that we're, we're probably not going to be back to having all information or knowledge workers working five days a week, nine to five, commuting five days a week, nine to five, into an office, etc. And there's been there's increasing, talk about the the potential implications, risks to some degree, particularly to the downtown, areas where you got a lot of small businesses that were kind of dependent on that historic modality, about half

Evelyn Lee  11:37  
of our workforce has been remote through the pandemic. I know, we don't often think of bankers, as essential workers, or as sort of the COVID heroes. But I mean, to me, it's important to keep in mind that our branch staff was in and had the branches open, even in modified format, all through the pandemic, and we lost some teammates to the pandemic, particularly in in the branches. So, you know, those folks have been on the front line throughout and continue to be, of course, now, with advances in vaccination and more understanding, we're not doing things like, you know, just opening the lobby or forcing people to make appointments. But if you needed to access your banker, during the pandemic, you could, the rest of the workforce, you know, was more flexible and predominantly worked remote. And then I think it really just depends on the person's role. So we have roles where working remote is much less viable. And then we have roles, you know, particularly folks that are out and about caring for clients, business clients, corporate clients, where, you know, they were, candidly relatively remote before, you know, they'd be in an office for a period of time, but that wasn't their job to sit in their office in front of their computers. So I think I think it's going to it's going to vary depending on roles, but But certainly, we are going to be layering in more flexibility than then we did prior to the pandemic. So if you think about the corporate real estate consolidations that are happening for truest now, which are pretty extensive, or taking into the corporate real estate that both institutions owned, or leased, and thinking about how do we put teammates together? And then how do we put them together in an environment that's safe, and and that's productive. So we're probably not going to be looking at lots of offices, but we still need space for collaboration, we still need space for people to come in, see their teammates meet in conference rooms, things of that nature. So I would say, you know, our footprint reduction from a real estate perspective isn't different, necessarily post pandemic, it was sort of the original plan associated with with the merger. But you know, I certainly think we'll see an increased degree of flexibility, we've technology enabled a lot of our teammates who previously were not to be able to do parts of their job, remotely, and so especially given the commuting challenges in this area, and you know, the cost of commuting in this area, especially with gas versus where they are now, it's definitely a consideration. And look, we we need to retain our talent. And if we're not kind of flexible, and creating a great culture and environment, first of all, for folks, they have choices. And so we want to be the place where they want to work and feel like they can have that work life balance.

JB Holston  14:20  
Yeah. Where do you recruit talent?

Evelyn Lee  14:24  
You know, that's an interesting question. So we have our traditional routes, which is, you know, other bankers, but really, I think one of the things that the pandemic and the merger have accelerated for us is getting a little bit more creative there. So, there are if you think about the role that a banker plays, you know, certainly they need financial acumen they need to understand accounting, they need to be able to really advise on, you know, how do you take a company from where it is today to where it wants to be? And then beyond that, but a lot of what we do is people right it's, it's meeting people, it's understanding them, bringing the right partners to bear, we have this huge platform that's available to our clients. So how do we bring the right people in at the right time to help our business owners get to where they ultimately want to be? So there are certainly other types of careers that provide, you know, both of those sorts of skill sets. And so and so how can we, how can we think a little bit more expansively about the fields from which we are recruiting? And then of course, we're also, you know, starting to think about different ways for the original intake. So the analysts programs, internship programs, things of that nature? You know, do we really need to think about things the exact same way we have for the past 2030 years in terms of absolutely having to have a four year degree to do X role, when you break that role down into its component parts? You know, how much of your four year degree are you applying there, I have successful bankers on my team have associate's degrees, and you know, they've got the people skills, and they've got the financial acumen to be able to do that role. So I think there's been a lot more discussion and a lot more creativity as it relates to, to recruiting and and that's energizing honestly, it really is. Because, you know, again, we want to make the field interesting. It's a great career, it does provide really nice work life balance. It's different every day, which I think is unique, especially in a finance realm. And so how can we how can we attract people that really want that sort of a dynamic experience that may not have the exact resume fit, if that makes sense? Sure,

JB Holston  16:36  
no, absolutely. Is there someone? Or is there a subgroup specifically tasked with figuring all that out? Or is it a little bit more organic?

Evelyn Lee  16:44  
It's both. I mean, we certainly have dedicated resources, which I think is smart. If we didn't, the folks with their regular day jobs, you know, may not may not be able to get it done. But I think what's been great about truist is the level of collaboration between those sort of corporate level resources, and the folks who are doing the hiring who are out in the communities. And we just as an example, I'm getting together this evening with our head of all dei for the corporation, just to meet to talk about what's happening in her world, what's happening in my world, how can we be doing more things together? And again, going back to that theme, how can we make sure that what we're doing here is coming all the way through? And that we're really getting the impact when it gets to the teammates doing the work? And to the clients? who are experiencing the interactions with the teammates?

JB Holston  17:27  
Yeah. You were mentioning what it is appealing about the banking career. And I think if, if you kind of look at the popular mythology about most industries, but also financial services, I think a lot of people are going to go well, gee, it's, you know, technology is going to automate so much that, you know, it's surprising to hear that people skills matter, because that's going to be algorithmic ties, or something that which is now a word that I've made up. But But how do you think about that? Or how do you talk about that with your people, you know, sort of the path for them in light of how digital? Of course, so many functions are becoming?

Evelyn Lee  18:07  
Yeah, well, it's definitely an interesting question. And, you know, I certainly think that the the general theme is more digitization of the client interface, more streamlining of how the client interacts with the bank, especially in terms of things that are routine. So you know, think about submitting your financial statements, you think about renewing a line of credit, you think about doing a check deposit, these things are routine. And sometimes you don't need a human touch to do them. And yet, because the technology hasn't been there, you are experiencing human touch in order to do them, right. So moving those sort of items, from an efficiency perspective, away, really towards something that just just much easier, much smoother for the client for the teammate. But if you think about, if you think going back to that example of taking a business, let's say it's a small business, with ambitions to be a midsize or a large business, or to acquire or to be acquired, or to transition the business to the next generation, or to take some cash off the table, you know, all of those different things that factor into how a business owner thinks about their biggest asset, typically, which is their business, those those require people to help to consult, and they require people with all different sorts of expertise. None of our bankers have expertise and all the things I just described, but they bring to bear the partners who do. And I mean, you think about any sort of collaboration in your world, in my world, accounting legal, and when you get the right brains are on the table trying to solve a problem. It's there's just something magical about that, that can't be digitized. So we have this concept that we talked about, we talked about a lot internally and externally, and it's T three so it's this combination of touch, which is the interaction, the relationship, technology, and the combination of that Two things, the right balance of those two things is what creates trust. And trust is what creates our value in terms of both our financial value and, you know, and how we feel about the work that we do every day.

JB Holston  20:11  
And if we think about some of the constraints to the region, growing faster than any other part of the country, which of course is our is our not so hidden objective, but you mentioned transit and the transportation system, what else comes to mind as, as constraints we need to be thoughtful about, and we need to be investing in

Evelyn Lee  20:28  
a big one for me is education. You know, education and workforce. Candidly, I mean, this is these are two things that that we think about a lot, and that we hear from our clients all the time, every type of client right now, is talking about workforce, and workforce development, how do we take folks who given you know how quickly technology is moving, you know, given some of their educational background may not fit for an organization today, and really train them and equip them to do something that's going to be high impact, and it's going to create sustainability for them from an income and a career perspective. So that that's a huge nut. And then education is tied into that. So you know, it's, it's certainly no, I'm not an educator, I wouldn't say I have expertise in education. But having been involved in the charter school space. You know, the, the, the changes that happen in middle and high school are so significant, the challenges that kids have to address in middle and high school are just a really dramatic. And so you know, how do you set that platform starting in kindergarten and beyond for, you know, really solid education so that these kids can have a great shot at it, maybe a college education, and maybe something in the trades, but you know, just positioning them again, for a fulfilling life. So those are two areas. And when I say we should invest more, I think there's a lot of great work being done there. Absolutely. But those are two that are sort of both near and dear to my heart, and I think probably the highest impact. And for us, you know, the bank isn't necessarily going to solve those problems. ourselves, although I will highlight workforce, which maybe some folks have heard of, and others haven't. But this is a technology that really was a passion for our executive leadership team. And it is a literacy tool for kids. It's free. It's, we're working with ever FY on it, and it works incredibly well. So that's an example of, you know, really putting money where our mouth is, but in general, we aren't going to solve workforce and education issues and all of our different markets. So there, it's about the partnerships, and just making sure that we're partnered with the right folks. And then we're bringing the resources, not just the monetary resources, but the volunteers and resources, the intellectual resources, and certainly the monetary resources to to the right places for the highest impact.

JB Holston  22:52  
Yeah. Maybe talk a little bit more, if you don't mind about is it word forest that I get that name, correct? Yes. Yeah, exactly. But I'm not familiar with it. I should be but talk a little bit more about what it is. You mentioned, it's a literacy program.

Evelyn Lee  23:05  
Yeah. So it's a game. And it officially rolled out, I hope I don't get the dates wrong, my leadership will be unhappy with me, but roughly during the pandemic is when they went very broad with it. And the timing for that was was really, really was really, really good. Because there were so many kids that just, you know, are struggling with online, or didn't have access. And so it is literally a reading game. So it teaches children to read. And the idea there is really simple. And that is that if you cannot read at your grade level, it's going to be very difficult for you to succeed. And as that continues to advance as your grades advance, you are just an increasing disadvantage. And so how can you make that fun, and they've made it available to all teammates, to anyone who wants it, they work with school systems. And it's been a big initiative for for the bank. And I think something really, again, tangible for our teammates to see that we aren't just talking about making a difference, but that we're really taking a hold of that. And again, finding the right partners to make it happen.

JB Holston  24:07  
Yeah, that's great. Well, and it's not. I think when people think about literacy and a bank, they tend to think about financial literacy. Right? So it's fascinating that this is a focus on on reading literacy, and and the partnership with it with ever fi the question of entry into careers like banking. And you mentioned potentially looking outside of the traditional four year grad, you mentioned associates. How do you folks think about things like apprenticeships, there's obviously a ton of talk about trying to open up that aperture, more, how are you folks thinking about that?

Evelyn Lee  24:42  
So I have been talking internally about the apprenticeship program that you are probably involved in and that I've know a couple of the larger corporations here locally and some of the council are involved in and trying to find a way to launch that at truist. I sit on a chair, I co chair, our D I counsel for the commercial bank. So it's a footprint wide Council. And we have a number of initiatives, the one that I've selected to spearhead is an is a hard look at apprenticeships and whether we can make that work at the bank. And I think the answer certainly is yes. And so I, it's one of my sort of pet projects that that I've been working on, in conjunction with some of my esteemed colleagues on different boards, etc, who have already launched it at their institutions. So certainly not blazing the trail there. But hoping to do it internally at truist. I think it's, it makes a lot of sense. It solves some key issues. And and I just think it's the right thing to do for the communities. We've got great community colleges here, locally that we can partner with. And, and I just think it makes all the sense in the world. So I'm very hopeful.

JB Holston  25:56  
Yeah, well, it's, um, I don't know if you're at the point where you can share, but I know in our talks with companies that are moving aggressively on that front, he clearly is a, I want to use it, be careful in my terminology here. But it's a non trivial amount of work to take and curate talent from those non traditional sources at that stage or different stages. And then and then get them to the point where they truly are able to land a career. And that can be difficult for organizations to figure out how to how to structure are you finding as you do the exploration that you know, the work on what the wraparound services may be, or whatever you may call them, the sorts of things that are needed to support? Is that is that part of what is required to figure out to make all that work? Well, that true is

Evelyn Lee  26:40  
absolutely, and I will just have no pride of authorship and say, I'm just looking to replicate what some of my peers at companies here locally have already done. And so leveraging, you know, their lessons learned, some of the pitfalls that they've identified that that's going to be kind of how we'll look at it. And of course, we'll tailor it to to truest because we are a unique organization, again, the culture is unique. You know, I think I think one of the most interesting things about those conversations has been not only how do you get folks in to an apprenticeship program, but how do you make sure the career flourishes. So you don't want to do is create kind of a second group of folks who are the apprentices. And then that's, that's what they are for their careers. I don't think that's a recipe for success. It's a recipe for maybe near term success. But that, to me, that goes back to that commitment. And the commitment has to be from the top, and then again, down gradually into how are we how are we thinking about the rules that those hopes can have, initially, the career progression, the continuing education, etc, etc. So that really, those folks are truly part of our company and part of our culture and not, you know, not temporary or pigeon holed?

JB Holston  27:51  
Yeah, I did want to talk a little bit about continued education as well. So I'll come back that that in our last couple of minutes here, but in talking with a lot of the organizations that have had historically an apprenticeship like model, one of the benefits that I think you've got in that world is you do have in person matters a ton. I mean, the work you folks do is very dependent on on an in person relationships with with your clients. And also you have retail establishments where people actually are in prison. I think a number of the organizations that are struggling with retaining and recruiting the next generation of talent, don't necessarily have that model implicit, and so are trying to figure out what, gee, if no one's going into an office, then how are we going to actually provide them an opportunity to learn to work with other people in some successful way, you kind of have a structural advantage potentially, in some of that.

Evelyn Lee  28:38  
Yeah, I hope that's the case. I mean, you know, I don't think people typically think of banking as the sexiest industry. But But again, there's so much happening from a technology perspective. And it's such an interesting and fascinating space, you get to meet with entrepreneurs, you know, community leaders, not for profit leaders all day, every day. And so there's just there's just a lot to be said for, for the space. But, you know, we compete with, you know, all the different professional services out there when we go to recruit. And so we have to differentiate on on that basis, I think we've been successful. We've got, you know, some really great talent here in Greater Washington, you know, spanning generations extremely diverse, which I'm very proud of, of really reflecting the community, which is important. So, but you know, it's a, you can't you can't waver, right, you have to continually reinvent and think about ways to make to make it a place people really want to work.

JB Holston  29:35  
Yeah. You mentioned continuing education in the context of think about how to make apprenticeship programs work. Do you do much or have you historically has the bank historically done much around continuing education for its teammates?

Evelyn Lee  29:48  
Um, yeah, both both organizations have I can't speak to the bb&t platform because I was on the central platform for so long. So but I think you know, that goes both to the monetary aspect and then I think into the work life balance. And, you know, the willingness to invest in teammates who, you know, may need to be leaving at four to do coursework, those sorts of things. So, so yes, we have a program and teammates can apply and get assistance with continuing education. I think one of the interesting things that we're doing now, which is not related to outside education, but really internal career advancement, is we have a group of people that are really thinking about in certain job groups, what are those sort of natural roadblocks that come up? It could be education level, it could be the need to be licensed, and the time and investment it takes to get licensed before you can actually get the role? And how do we sort of unblock some of that, so that people can really look at the bank as a place where they have a true trajectory? The same thing goes for how do we think about kind of cross line of business education. One of the things that I've been really excited about that we've done in this region is we had these sessions, of course, I mean, people think of bank such as a banker, but think of all the different things that a bank does, you know, we've got lines of business, multiple lines of business that, you know, do very unique things. And our teammates don't always know what the job opportunities are in those different lines of business, because again, they're tending to think more, not our teams. But in general, people tend to think linearly, you know, I'll do this, and I'll get a manager's role. And I'll kind of climb the chain that way. So we had sessions that were led by hiring managers, and each of those different groups. And they really were just about what do we do for a living? What sort of career trajectories are available here? What do we look for when we're posting a role in a teammate, and then now you know, me, I'm the face of that line of business, reach out to me network with me. And let's think about ways that if you're in a, if you're in a branch that you could ultimately move into treasury management, or if you're in commercial, that you could look at an opportunity in our wealth segment. And really think, again, more expansively, as opposed to, you know, I've got to look straight ahead of me, and just and wait for something to happen there. And, of course, we've really tried to lay our dei into that, too. So making sure that in those presentations, the manager, or one of the folks that they bring to the table looks like are the rest of our teammates and matches kind of the complexion and fabric of our teammate population, so that people can really envision themselves in a different line of business or in a different role over time. So I mean, we've done a couple of really interesting things like that many of those ideas have been bubbled up from teammates, and it's just about as leaders, how do we execute on them? And just make sure that we're making all the opportunities that are available at the bank? You know, front of mind?

JB Holston  32:35  
Yeah, that's great. Well, I think there's a there's a big market, you know, amongst traditional education institutions, but other channels in the community as well, to see and hear from those people. Exactly what you said. I think that's, that's really that's really fascinating for, for many of those folks, we're coming up at the end of 45 minutes, these things always go faster than they anticipated. This one's been the case as well. But if you think about truist, and you think about sort of look three, five years down the line, think about the Great Western region. For a business that is in the region, what would you like them to think about truest five years from now?

Evelyn Lee  33:07  
That's a great question.

JB Holston  33:09  
We didn't write it down before just to make it surprising.

Evelyn Lee  33:13  
It is, it's a great question. So, you know, I think at the end of the day, I, of course, we have our broader brand. And of course, we want the connotation to be positive associated with the broader brand. But what I'm really tasked with here, and what I tasked my leadership with is to be present in the community. I mean, you mentioned the boards that I'm on, I get more out of those boards, and I give to them, I guarantee you, but but my leadership team needs to be there. You don't know what's happening on your community, you don't really know the business or the community needs unless you're close to it. And so what I would say, in my ideal world, folks would know who represents them a truest folks would know who to reach out to, and they would associate those folks with the work that they're doing in the community, with the volunteerism, with the different foundation endeavors, with the visibility associated with our, our marketing, you know, approaches, which are really based on on care, on diversity, equity, inclusion, all those sort of positive sorts of things. So that's what I would hope for truest. And I think, for our teammates, because we have a lot of teammates in this region. You know, the hope is similar, just that they find rewarding careers and fulfillment in that kind of day to day work. I think we get caught up in what we do every day. And it's really important to have that kind of third leg of the stool, the work the family and the community. And I think truist gives us a really great platform to do that. And to still do great business. It's a place I'm proud to work.

JB Holston  34:40  
That is a great way to express the purpose led organization that is that is truest. And thank you for your time, I guess has been excellent Lee, who's the president for the greater Washington region of truest and Evelyn again, thanks for your partnership with respect to our inclusive growth efforts. I can tell you that your your organization's given to us certainly as much as I hope we're able to get back to you but Thanks for all that you're doing. Good luck with everything and thanks again for your time today.

Evelyn Lee  35:03  
Thanks for having me. Great to be with you.

Nina Sharma  35:05  
Thanks for tuning into fresh take. This episode was produced by Jenna Klym. Christian Rodriguez, Nina Sharma and Justin Mathis and Turner. If you liked what you heard, share it with your network. For more information and to access all of our podcasts, events and publications, visit Greater Washington