The enlightened workplace: Lessons learned from the women in my life

Much of the success and the happiness I’ve enjoyed are the result of the women in my life. Whether in the workplace or with family, I’ve benefited from the love and support of strong women. Those experiences are the foundation for an enduring perspective on the importance of building an enlightened workplace where all have the opportunity to thrive.

Cultivating diversity

As director of learning development, I reach out to leaders across Huntington Bank to ensure all colleagues have opportunities for growth and advancement while working with them to find the right talent for available positions. In this role and over my nearly 30-years at Huntington, support and advocacy for women in the workplace has remained an important priority. Proudly, our corporate culture is one in which business leaders value and actively seek female applicants among a diverse pool of candidates for top positions.

Identifying opportunities for all colleagues while strengthening diversity and inclusion across every level of our organization is a key responsibility we all share. Guided by this philosophy, our work together develops a stronger team overall.

Early role models and mentors

Both as a boy and as a young professional, I always connected with and felt supported by women. Early on in a family with four males, I became very aware of differences between my heterosexual brothers and me as a gay youth. As a boy, that awareness took a toll on my sense of self-worth. But my mother validated and instilled within me the confidence I needed to withstand the trials of adolescence and succeed as an adult.

More than a supportive parent, mom served as my role model. She was career professional at Huntington, so it’s no coincidence that I followed in her footsteps.

In 1991, another tremendously influential woman gave me my first professional break. My supervisor, Connie Orsak, promoted me to my first managerial position at Huntington. I’ve never forgotten the shot in the arm she gave my career. Though Connie no longer works in Columbus, we remain friends to this day.

Giving back

Over my career, I’ve drawn upon lessons learned from the women in my life to inspire other women. The opportunity to encourage them to challenge their own comfort levels and preconceptions about what they can do and which career avenues they should pursue has been immensely rewarding, particularly when inspiring them to engage in networking activities, give feedback about their work experiences and realize their fullest potential.

Achieving an enlightened workplace through these and similar, countless efforts creates a stronger organization and an environment in which everyone can pursue their passion and reach their potential.

This column is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank, Member FDIC. Matthew Hall is Senior Vice President at Huntington Bank. Reach him at [email protected] or (614) 331-9082.