March 8 is International Women’s Day, which has existed since 1911 as a way to celebrate the role women have played in strengthening international peace and security. It falls within National Women’s History Month — a time to recognize the achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.
It was nearly 100 years ago that Annie Grimes started at Merrill Lynch as the first bond saleswoman on Wall Street. Today — women make up more than half of our company’s global workforce, much more indicative of the modern workforce population.
The diversity of our employees is essential to our ability to meet the needs of our diverse customers and clients around the world. Let’s take a look at how we’re supporting the careers of women through recruitment, development programs, networks and mentoring initiatives.
Our commitment to invest in women starts with our people, even before they become bank employees. Through early identification programs, internships and partnerships with more than 200 schools, universities and organizations, we’re attracting women early in their careers to financial services and technology.
We’re also committed to develop and promote our female talent, build strong leaders and empower our female employees to thrive in their careers.
For the past two years, our top female leaders from around the globe have convened for our Global Women’s Conference, where they heard from management team members and external speakers about leadership, mobility, advancement, family and community. Karen Fang, head of Americas Cross Asset Solutions & Strategies Group, was one of many panelists who shared the value of mentoring. “It can take just 10 minutes a day,” Karen said. “Mentoring definitely makes a difference; I found a transformation in myself.
We have a variety of enterprise and line of business programs in place to enable women to do their best work and develop the skills they need to grow into future roles.
With 22,000 members, Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development for Women (LEAD for Women), is the largest of the bank’s 12 employee networks. LEAD promotes professional interactions that help attract, develop, advance and retain female professionals at all levels in the company.
In addition, we have line of business forums that focus on women’s leadership and networking such as the Women’s Exchange in Global Wealth & Investment Management; the Women’s Leadership Council in Global Banking & Markets; and Women in Technology and Operations in Global Technology & Operations. Find out more about resources and networks on our Women at Bank of America web site.
“We want to create a workplace where every woman wants to grow her career here,” said Katie Morgan, Sr. HR Executive for Consumer Banking and Global Wealth & Investment Management, and Executive for Global Staffing. “We’ve made great strides, but there is always more to be done, and that is why we continue to focus on improving our programs, tracking our progress and creating opportunities for strong female leadership.”
Women's economic empowerment
In recognition of the role women play to advance economic growth in their communities and the global economy, we’re connecting them to the human, social, and financial capital needed to achieve success:
- Women in small business — We partner with organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), with 7,000 business-owning members in 60 chapters nationwide, representing the interests of more than 9.1 million women entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. In support of the organization’s goal to more than double its national membership over the next five years, our Small Business team has launched the NAWBO Local Ambassador Program, in which bank teammates work with local NAWBO chapter presidents to support their specific initiatives and needs, providing Bank of America the opportunity to work directly with women business owners in those markets.
- Supplier diversity and development — We spend more than $2 billion each year with our women- and minority-owned business partners. Our spend with women owned business equates to over 50% of our total diversity spend. In recognition of this commitment, we were the first financial institution inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable and we are the first financial institution to win the Top Corporation Platinum Award by the National Women Business Enterprise National Council.
- US Trust - Through U.S. Trust, we provide a Women and Wealth offering, which focuses on addressing the specific planning issues associated with managing wealth for women. And our proprietary U.S. Trust SRI platform, Socially Innovative Investing strategy (S2I), has continued to grow with the launch of new investment strategies for clients, including a focus on women’s and girls’ equality. Our businesses, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust, have produced thought leadership on the importance of women in the marketplace, ranging from women’s global economic power to women as an investment strategy. Publications include: Worth Knowing: Women and Girls Equality, The Global Rise of Women Entrepreneurs, and Women Power.
- Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program — In 2014, in partnership with the Tory Burch Foundation, we launched the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program to connect women entrepreneurs to more capital to help grow their businesses. Since then, $10 million has been loaned to women business owners across the U.S.
- Global Ambassadors Program — Through the Global Ambassadors Program, which pairs senior women executives, including bank leaders, with women mentees, we help women leaders of social enterprises and small businesses hone their skills and realize their economic potential. The program has strengthened women leaders of business and social enterprise from more than 40 countries with programs taking place in India, South Africa, Haiti, Singapore, Qatar, Mexico, Poland, N. Ireland, Japan and most recently in London.
- Cherie Blair Foundation for Women — We partner with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on its Mentoring Women in Business Programme to connect women entrepreneurs in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to mentoring expertise that enables them to advance their businesses. Since launching our partnership in 2012, we’ve enabled the program to grow and offer the mentoring opportunity to nearly 2,000 women entrepreneurs in 80 countries, including more than 200 women who have worked with mentors from Bank of America.
More on how we’re empowering women around the globe at www.bankofamerica.com/women