Goal Setting and Making Connection: Advice from Local Leaders

Goal Setting and Making Connection: Advice from Local Leaders


As part of the LA Clippers Mentorship Assist Zone and Women’s History Month, City National Bank and the Clippers hosted a panel discussion for girls and their mentors from various organizations across LA, including I Have A Dream Los Angeles, Brotherhood Crusade and USC High School Hybrid.

The panel featured four women with diverse backgrounds, who each took a different path to working for City National Bank. Theresa Don Lucas is Latina from the El Sereno neighborhood of LA. She has been with CNB for 23 years, almost all spent in Community Reinvestment. Karen A. Clark was born on the Wright-Patterson Air Force base near Dayton, Ohio and ended up in California for high school. She has been with CNB for more than 10 years, working in marketing on the Multicultural Strategies/Diversity Equity Inclusion team.

Geetha Samynathan is originally from Sri Lanka and grew up in Southern California. She has been with CNB for nearly five years and is currently a Senior Residential Loan Officer. Maureen Murinda is originally from Zimbabwe and came to the US in 1999. She has been with CNB for just over two years as part of a rotational Finance Leadership Development Program.

This eclectic group of women from City National Bank spoke to the young women about the importance of mentors, planning and supporting each other as women.

All of the women from CNB had a mentor or multiple mentors who impacted their careers.

In her late twenties, at the point in her career when Karen achieved the role of Assistant Vice President, one of her mentors told her something that has stuck with her ever since. Her mentor, Regina Chang, was an Executive Vice President. Reggie was originally from China and had come to the US when she was a young girl. She told Karen that because she is a woman, and because she was now in a position to help women, that was now Karen’s obligation to do so. “Because if you don’t do it, who else is going to?” Reggie asked. Reggie told Karen that because she is a black woman, she has an additional responsibility to make sure to help black women, in particular. “Because if you don’t, who is going to do it?” Reggie asked. Karen says hearing this from her mentor and having this responsibility bestowed upon her has guided her throughout her entire career.

Geetha echoes that sentiment. She says when her mentor came into her life, it changed everything. Mentors make a huge difference, especially for people of color and immigrants. Geetha says for people with atypical names and backgrounds like herself, carving a path for yourself can sometimes be difficult and her mentor helped her carve that path. Geetha’s advice for overcoming anything blocking you from your goals is to get out of your own way. Don’t listen to the audience. Believe and trust in yourself first and foremost.

Theresa’s mentor is her current boss. He encourages Theresa to continue her education. Education allows you to grow. Theresa says to learn wherever you can, be it through school or through developing your own interests. There are so many ways to learn and be exposed to new things, especially now with access to the internet and virtual classes.

Maureen has had three mentors throughout her career. She meets with them once a month, and says one of the best pieces of advice she’s gotten is this — throughout your career, always know two things: what you’re good at and what gets you excited. When you’ve identified those things, then develop them to make sure you’re constantly growing in those areas. Maureen says if you are acutely aware of what you do well and what you enjoy, as you look for opportunities, you can make decisions for yourself that give you a good balance of the two.

Aaliyah Jackson, a student from Brotherhood Crusade, came up with a definition of success for herself during the panel discussion. “Success to me means completing your goals that you have for yourself. No matter if you failed, as long as you tried to complete them or even got close, just as long as you never gave up.”

Learn more about mentorship opportunities at clippers.com/mentorship.

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