Citi will provide volunteers and financial support for a program targeting students who are the first in their families to attend college and demonstrate leadership potential.
TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2016) – More than 25 Tampa-based employees from Citi will soon be able to add mentor to their official jobs titles – and business students from the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business will benefit. As part of the company’s campus corporate social responsibility program, Citi will present a check $25,000 to support the USF Muma College of Business Corporate Mentor program at a kick-off breakfast on Oct. 21 at 8:30 a.m.
Demonstrating that its commitment goes beyond financial support, the bank will also provide at least 25 employees to serve as mentors in the program, which serves students who are the first in their families to pursue a college degree. The employees will meet student participants at the breakfast, which will be held in the USF Muma College of Business atrium.
The program targets juniors and seniors who may not have had opportunities to shadow a parent in a professional workplace or attend networking events where parents in the corporate world might bring along their young adult son or daughter. Mentors provide access to opportunities where students learn about interviewing, corporate culture, networking, and how to become leaders in the corporate world.
“Active participants find that the workshops, seminars, dinners, and other opportunities help them develop professionally, as well as build the underlying skills that allow them to become tomorrow’s leaders,” said Program Director JR Haworth. “We have seen that, in many cases, former students who were mentored credit the program with helping them land that first job.”
That’s exactly what happened with Citi employees Ashley Mercurius and Bethany Gordon, two USF graduates who have signed up to be Citi mentors in the program. Both women began their Citi careers as part of the site internship program, which provides opportunities in all areas of the business, from supply chain systems to market operations to cyber threat intelligence.
They say that the lessons they learned as Corporate Mentor Program participants stuck with them throughout the internship experience.
“The Corporate Mentor Program gave me tremendous confidence through the rigorous professional development workshops. It provided me the foundation to be successful during my time as a Citi Summer Intern where I was given the opportunity to network with senior Citi executives. The confidence I developed showed me the unlimited potential I am capable of. It is an honor to represent Citi and give back to a program that has provided me with the skills for success.” said Mercurius.
Gordon echoed her comments, emphasizing the importance of persistence and visioning the big picture in a dynamic work environment.
“I developed the mindset to rebound from failure and continue fighting to achieve my goals,” said Gordon. “I believed I could succeed and became persistent and determined while overcoming the statistics for a first generation student. The Corporate Mentor Program played a great role in my professional development by providing me the tools to flourish at Citi. I hope as a mentor I can give back even half of what I got out of the program.”
Citi Tampa Site President Gregg Morton says this kind of civic engagement is part of the company’s long-term organic growth. Further embedding Citi in the local community is the ultimate goal. The bank has more than 5,500 employees in Tampa and the local site serves 20+ businesses as well as housing much of the company’s professional services such as risk, compliance, legal, technology and institutional banking operations.
“This is a great opportunity to further progress Citi’s partnership with USF,” said Morton. “While this could be a source for potential talent, we’re primarily involved because we firmly believe that this is an impactful program that could help lead these students to independence and personal success,” said Morton.
USF Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem says that the financial and volunteer support will make a significant difference in the lives of many student participants.
“Citi’s support will help us build bridges for success,” Limayem said. “Traditionally, first-generation students incur the largest student loan debt of any population and many of them work while going to school. They often have little time to get involved in clubs or focus on the soft skills necessary in the workplace. Having dedicated mentors to help with these skills could make all the difference in the world.”
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.