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In the Nation's Interest

2018 Awards Dinner Spotlight: Beth Mooney

by CED April 12, 2018

Beth Mooney is the Chairman and CEO of KeyBank. You can view her bio here. She is the recipient of CED's Leadership in Diversity Award.

What advice do you have for those who aspire to careers in leadership, or have just started to serve in a leadership capacity?

Stepping into a leadership role can be daunting. You’ve worked years to get to get to this point and there could be a feeling of “now what?”  I’ve found it’s important to be absolutely true to yourself.  Rely on the skills, experience, and behavior that got you this far and the self-awareness that will tell you what you need to do or to develop next. 

For me, it’s about having a sense of purpose. I feel that leadership is a tremendous opportunity.  But every opportunity brings with it an obligation.  And I feel a strong obligation to make a contribution to our company, our clients and our communities.  If you balance your career aspirations with a sense of obligation to make a real contribution, that is a powerful combination. 

I would also encourage leaders to be authentic.  This takes courage but people will follow leaders whom they see as human, humble and honest.  When you are authentic as a leader, it gives everyone around you the permission to bring their best, authentic self to work every day.  Instead of people following you, mimicking or imitating a style they think will make them successful, they will show you who they really are.  That dynamic creates diverse teams and inclusive cultures that increase engagement which in turn, accelerates innovation and growth. 

Has your company spearheaded a philanthropic initiative that you would like to share with CED's Trustees?

At KeyBank, our purpose is to help our clients and communities thrive. That purpose has been a cornerstone of our company for decades and drives our responsible approach to banking, citizenship and operations. In 2017, we launched another tangible example of this legacy by announcing our $16.5 National Community Benefits Plan.

The five-year plan stimulates job growth and economic development in the markets we call home, through small business lending, community development and affordable housing investment, mortgage lending, and transformative philanthropy. We developed the plan in partnership with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and over 80 community organizations across KeyBank’s footprint.

A concrete example of this kind of work is our KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program, powered by JumpStart. We launched this program with $24 million grant last year from the KeyBank Foundation to JumpStart, Inc. The program will work in communities in Ohio and New York to transform neighborhoods though support of small businesses and job creation. We’re standing with thousands of small businesses and individuals to create jobs, transform neighborhoods and prepare students for careers in the growing technology, service and manufacturing industries.

This is just one example of the work we are doing to lift neighbors and revitalize neighborhoods in the places we work and call home. 

Which aspects of your company’s culture have made the biggest contribution to its success?

Diversity and inclusion are a top strategic priority for us – one of five that apply to the entire company.  From the boardroom to the backroom to our front-lines, we have an award winning commitment to – and culture of - diversity and inclusion.  KeyBank has a rich legacy of being a diverse and inclusive place to work.  This is a testament to our belief in doing the right thing for our clients, our communities, our employees, and our shareholders.

The benefits are many. Diversity and inclusion are business accelerators and strong recruiting tools. We have many candidates who are aware of our culture and approach and want to be part of it. It’s also critical that we reflect the communities we serve. Our employees work across many states and in hundreds of communities. It’s our local presence in those communities which matters most. 

Diversity and inclusion are part of what makes KeyBank a great place to work, a strong competitor and a pillar in every community we serve.