How Talent Development Helped This Woman Became CEO of a Major Bank

What helped this woman become CEO of a major corporation KeyCorp’s Beth Mooney attributes her rise in management to humor, perseverance, and an early mentor who emphasized the need for talent development through further education.


The hiring manager at her first banking job hired Mooney on the condition that she would get her master’s degree in finance. That extra talent development made all the difference, Mooney said during her keynote at a DiversityInc event.

“I owe it to him. If someday I wanted a promotion, [not having a degree] would stand in my way,” she said. Her advice Get all the talent development you can. “Acquire credentials you need for success and the ones that give you the most flexibility for opportunity,” Mooney said.

Additionally, Mooney revealed the three personal skills that she believes women need to focus on during talent developmenta strong sense of self, a sense of humor and a sense of team.

It’s these “sensibilities” that helped her become the first female CEO of a top 20 U.S. bank in May 2011 and rank No. 1 in American Banker’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking. KeyCorp is one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies.

1. Sense of Self

Mooney learned an important lesson in personal talent development when she took her first job: Sometimes a strong sense of self is the only thing that’ll get your foot in the door.

She knew she wanted to be in bankinga male-dominated field. After being turned down by several banks, she wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. It took Mooney three hours to wear down the hiring manager at her next interview. She got the job on the condition that she would go to night school and increase her talent-development potential.

“The man who had hired me was just reflective of the times. Women were tellers, not executives or having executive potential They simply didn’t hire women into training. The bank did not believe women were a good fit for a managerial training program,” said Mooney. “But I was tenacious, so I was given the chance.”

2. Sense of Humor

But “getting into banking wasn’t the same as getting ahead in banking,” said Mooney. She still had to deal with being one of her company’s only female employees, as well as to earn respect from her male clients. It again was time for some personal talent development.

By using humor to re-characterize herself, she was able to save a commercial real-estate account in the mid-1980s. “[The clients] felt they could take advantage of me. They were anxious to discount me. I had to fix that fast to do my job,” recalled Mooney.

Watch the video above to learn how Mooney’s sense of humor proved that she “wasn’t stupid” and saved the meeting. “Humor creates balance and perspective for the environment around you. It helps manage the external realities in your career, which are not always easy or friendly, even harsh,” Mooney said.

3. Sense of Team

There has been tremendous progress among women, thanks to increased talent development from diversity-management efforts.

In 2011, the global percentage of women leaders hit an all-time high: 1 in 10 companies had a female director. “Part of the difference is that we led not with differences but by trying to be a part of the team. Diversity has found its way to the C-suite by doing so,” said Mooney.

However, there is still a long way to go. With Fortune 500 CEOs totaling less than 4 percent women (18 total), it is clear that talent-development initiatives in many companies need further fine-tuning.

“The way to succeed in any career is be part of the solution,” said Mooney. Talent development helps every employee to be a team player. Talent development also helps you to better understand the business and how it works. “Behind every successful woman and man is a pit crew.”

Talent Development & the Future

Mooney knows that it is still “something of an event” to have a “woman or a diverse” candidate leading a company today. But she believes that in the future it will be different. She attributes that more diverse future to the evolution of leadership and the considerable diversity and inclusion efforts of diverse leaders. In addition to mindful recruiting and promotions, their efforts frequently include innovations in talent development, like Kraft Foods’ JumpStart program that provides talent development to master the unspoken “rules” of corporate culture.

She continued, “I have a theory for those who succeed in business dominated by white males. We came in and acted like we belonged. Guess what Now we do.”

For more on the benefits of talent development, read Best Practices on Improving Retention.

Latest News

AT&T

AT&T Celebrates the Aspire Accelerator Class of 2020

Originally published on ATT.com Immersed Games and Social Cipher win annual “Pitches with Purpose” competition; each receive $25K award Yesterday, eight education technology companies graduated from the Aspire Accelerator and competed in an all-virtual “Shark Tank” style “Pitches with Purpose” for two $25,000 prizes – one awarded by a panel…

NelsonHall Recognizes ADP as a Leader in the Efficiency Focused NEAT Graph for Cloud-Based HR Transformation Services 2020 Evaluation

Originally published on ADP.com ADP acknowledged for improving processes, lowering costs and providing better decision-making driven by analytics and automation for clients Industry analyst firm NelsonHall has positioned ADP as a Leader in its Efficiency Focused NEAT chart for Cloud-Based HR Transformation Services. ADP rated highly for its ability to…

Humana

Humana CEO Bruce Broussard Named Businessperson of the Year

Originally posted on Humana LinkedIn. Humana ranked No. 25 for The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020. We’d like to congratulate CEO Bruce Broussard on being named one of Fortune‘s 2020 Businesspersons of the Year. “Since being named CEO of the health insurer in 2013, Broussard has continued Humana’s push into…

Child studying to improve test scores

Test Scores Drop Dramatically for Black, Hispanic and Poor Children Due to COVID-19; Nasdaq Moves to Require Diversity for Listed Companies; and More

Math and reading test scores have dropped dramatically for Black, Hispanic and poor children due to COVID-19, new study warns. Results of lockdowns, home-schooling, and Zoom classrooms as a result of COVID-19 are starting to come in, and the numbers aren’t good. According to a review of more than 4…

Trump

The Platinum Plan: How Trump Increased His Black Vote by 50% and What We Can Learn From It

Do you know what Donald Trump’s “Platinum Plan” was? Most Black people I know do. Most white people have never heard of it. The plan — a two-page document released just weeks before the 2020 election — details the four pillars of Trump’s commitment to Black Americans (Opportunity, Security, Prosperity…

HIV, AIDS, Misconception

Fact Check: Misconceptions About HIV/AIDS

Similar to the coronavirus and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, many of the misconceptions and stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS have been fueled by fear. Although information surrounding the disease is more accessible now that we’re months into the pandemic, many people still misunderstand the condition, the treatment options,…

President-elect Joe Biden with senior adviser Symone Sanders

Biden and Harris Announce All-Female White House Communications Team; After 9 Long Months, COVID-19 Hits New Peak; and More

Biden and Harris announce entirely female-led White House communications team. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House continues at a brisk pace. On Monday, Nov. 30th, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received their first daily Presidential intelligence briefings. A day earlier, CBS News has reported that the pair…

BASF Introduces Neutrol® MGDA, a Readily Biodegradable Complexing Agent for Personal Care Applications

Originally published on BASF.com. BASF ranked No. 14 on The Diversityinc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020. Highly stable over a wide pH range Eco-friendly and easy to formulate With Neutrol® MGDA, BASF’s Care Creations® is launching a highly stable, eco-friendly complexing agent (also called: chelating agent) for personal care applications….

Abbott Launches the First Infant Formula in Canada with an Ingredient Identical in Structure to Immune Component Found in Breast Milk

Originally published on Abbott.com. Abbott ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020. 2′-Fucosyllactose Oligosaccharide†(2′-FL†) is now available in Abbott’s infant formula, Similac Pro-Advance® HMOs, like 2′-FL, in breast milk help support a baby’s immune system [1] HMOs, like 2′-FL, feed good bacteria in the…