The importance of fostering an environment of support and confidence for women

Jackie Yoon is St. Louis market president for Bank of America.

Every year, Women’s History Month sets aside time to reflect upon the achievements, successes and powerful voices of women, past and present. Celebrating women and our professional contributions, our positive influence on the broader business community and the impact on our neighborhoods is essential to strengthening our footprint and the city of St. Louis for the years to come.

When I began my career in banking, there were few women executives in the industry. Many of the women I worked with were discouraged from forms of career advancement more readily accessible to men. In such a historically maledominated field, I learned early on that in order to achieve success, it is necessary to find a strong mentor who understands your goals can provide a base of support to further your professional development. Knowing the power this relationship has had in my career, I made it a goal to provide this type of support to other young women looking to break into the finance industry.

Today, in my role as Bank of America’s St. Louis market president, being the only or one of a few female executives is still no easy feat. Thankfully, women increasingly have a seat at the table and our voices are valued and respected. Here in St. Louis, I’ve seen how both the local community and businesses alike come together to ensure women across all paths of life have the tools and resources necessary to advance their careers and make an impact. To personally contribute to a positive, supportive business environment for women, I am involved with United Way’s Women’s Leadership Society’s Financial Markets Group. We network as a team to foster creative ideas and offer support and guidance to other women — it’s collaborations such as this between strong female advocates in St. Louis that builds an involved and passionate female community.

Every day, Bank of America works to ensure all women entering into the financial world feel at home and welcomed. I have learned firsthand that Bank of America understands the important role women in executive leadership positions have in the workplace as well as in the community, especially here in St. Louis, and strives to showcase this talent and perspective on a daily basis. As a native St. Louisan, I am proud to serve as the market president for a company that works hard day in and day out to help lift women up and give them the confidence necessary to succeed.

Reflecting upon Women’s History Month gives me a great deal of pride in the strides women have taken through the years to achieve their professional dreams. I encourage women to be courageous and confident in their professional abilities and to strive for projects and positions that challenge their skills. When you bring together a group of diverse, intelligent and driven women, it brings tremendous benefits to not only businesses but to the community. We must continue to foster these relationships and connections to build an environment that pushes ourselves and St. Louis forward.

5/17/2016


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