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Women at Capital One: Career Growth and Connection Through Community
What happens when you connect over 20,000 associates from across the world under one common goal—empowering and supporting women? Meet empowHER, the largest Capital One Business Resource Group (BRG) with a membership roster that includes over half of our associates. The network provides a supportive community for women and allies, accelerates their leadership development and creates a welcoming environment for current and future associates.
“I believe in women and our collective power in making change, shifting culture and designing a future that is more equitable and human-centered,” says Ingrid Dahl, Senior Director of Experience Strategy and National Co-lead for empowHER.
Cultivating women leaders of today and tomorrow
Regardless of office setting or position, empowHER is there for all women professionals on their career journey. The group works to empower, develop and engage women across teams and roles, which starts with attracting a diverse group of talent to begin with. “The biggest indicator of future women in leadership is your pipeline,” says Colleen, Sr. Internal Communications Manager and empowHER Communications Lead. “If you don't have a good pipeline of diverse candidates, you’re simply not going to get diverse representation at the top.”
Making sure candidates experience representation from a variety of backgrounds during the recruiting process is important. Through diverse representation, there are opportunities for future connection and collaboration. It’s important to share that message with others too, as they’re considering applying to join the company.
In collaboration with Capital One's Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging team, empowHER partners with nationally recognized diversity community partners, such as Catalyst, Working Mother and the Women Business Collaborative in their mission to develop, empower and elevate women.
A focus on the here and now
As roles at work and home continue to adapt to remote work and shifting home responsibilities, empowHER quickly pivoted to meet their members’ changing needs. Offering a supportive community that extends to a virtual environment, with virtual meetings and workshops to help everyone weather changing needs and new situations, became a critical focus for the group.
Throughout the year, empowHER hosted virtual events featuring speakers on topics including how to parent during COVID, mental and emotional health, how to set up healthy boundaries working from home, goal setting with virtual teams and change management during the crisis. These topics helped both associates and leaders in adapting to the changes in their daily work structure while still achieving their work goals. “I found great value in our in-person leadership summits and events previously,” says Mira, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Senior Program Manager and Intersectionality Co-lead for empowHER. “I am extremely proud of this group for pivoting to a virtual setting in 2020. The time we can all come together to connect, learn and grow is always cherished.”
An inclusive culture with a focus on intersectionality
BRG leaders recognize that being a woman is just one of the various identities their members hold. Likewise, empowHER is one of many BRGs that help foster community, invest in growth and development, and open pathways for communication.
“Our identities are complex; we are all lots of things at the same time,” says Mira. “Often our situation makes one characteristic of our identity feel more prominent. When these identities intersect, the likelihood of discrimination and oppression increases exponentially. In order to understand the level of disadvantage, we can’t look at each of those identities in isolation. We have to consider all of them.”
Diversity in leadership helps bring intersectionality to the forefront. “Our empowHER leadership is an incredibly diverse group of women, and I find that our perspectives are very naturally coming together in support of intersectionality,” says Jodi Constantino, Senior Director in Corporate Compliance and National Co-lead for empowHER.
In the end, the BRG attracts and engages talent, promotes a culture of belonging and fosters a sense of community for women and allies...all while staying relevant to what women need right now.
“It's about following and fostering the lifecycle of a woman here at Capital One,” says Colleen.
In other words, it’s about empowering women every step of their careers.
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