Take the time to be a mentor and help others realize their dreams

Taking ownership of your journey as a leader is a powerful tool, as is championing those around you. This is especially true in today’s business environment, and even more so if you’re a woman. Reflecting on my own career, I’ve been with Bank of America since I graduated from college.

Throughout my 25-plus years with the company, I’ve received a lot of tips on how to be successful in business, as most of us in leadership roles have. A significant takeaway is that our success is not only defined by our individual accomplishments, but also how we become advocates for others.

As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, I’ve developed a heightened sense of just how crucial it is that we invest in ourselves, as well as mentor young women for the future.

On the move
Growing up, my family moved around quite a bit — in fact, I’ve actually lived half my life overseas. Because I was on the move from one place to another quite frequently, I had to build a support system to keep me centered.

Professionally, relying on female mentors for inspiration, as well as having colleagues and other executives provide support and guidance, has been equally important and instrumental in shaping my confidence and effectiveness in my current position.

These experiences reinforce the idea that we as leaders must pay it forward and do what we can to help others achieve their personal and professional aspirations.

I’m proud to have a hand in developing our company’s female employees in Ohio and beyond. Bank of America has strong representation of women at all levels of the organization. They make up 50 percent of our global workforce and more than 40 percent of our managers are women.

To enable connectivity, commitment, passion and opportunity among the women in our organization, I’m involved in “Power of 10,” which is our company’s grassroots program that encourages women to expand their career horizons through mentorship.

This program connects 10 women who will then meet regularly with other female executives across the Global Commercial Banking line of business to collaborate, as well as offer encouragement and advice on their career goals.

The value of advocacy
With my statewide position, I also have the unique opportunity to advocate for all of our employees throughout the region as we strive to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Encouraging diversity in people, opinions and ideas may seem like a simple concept; the reality is that many businesses struggle with turning this goal into a reality. Bank of America recognizes that being a diverse and inclusive company makes us even stronger.

I truly believe in the power of being a mentor and all-around advocate for our employees. As leaders, we owe it to our people — and organizations — to have conversations, tools and programs that support their success and career advancement.

Jeneen Marziani is senior vice president, Ohio market president at Bank of America