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By Regina Seow, Managing Director, Corporate Affairs and Head of Corporate Citizenship, Asia Pacific, Citi September 10, 2015 01:45 PM
Farah Rahman, Bangladesh Head of Corporate Affairs (left) and Regina Seow (right), meet with Fatema Khatun, named the CMA Best Women Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015 (center).
It was an opportunity – in the form of a microloan - that changed Fatema Khatun’s life, and the lives of those around her.
I recently had the privilege to personally meet three outstanding microentrepreneurs, including Fatema, at the 10th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) presentation ceremony in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The CMAs are supported by the Citi Foundation and happen in more than 30 countries around the world.
Each microentrepreneur had a courageous story to share. Each had made a successful living from nothing and fought against poverty to make their way up the economic ladder.
It was heartening to hear how their microenterprises have helped enable their children to be educated, created employment for their neighbors and inspired some in their village to start their own businesses. Their incredible stories really brought to life the aim of the CMA program, which is to raise awareness about the importance of microentrepreneurship and microfinance in supporting the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of low-income individuals.
By Ron Littlefield, Former Mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., & Senior Fellow with the Governing Institute September 09, 2015 12:15 PM
The following blog post is part of the City Accelerator initiative supported by the Citi Foundation. The City Accelerator, in collaboration with Living Cities, aims to speed the adoption of local government innovations to improve cities and the lives of their low-income residents.
The Guardian newspaper crowdsourced a survival guide for startups from entrepreneurs who were in the middle of the process of launching and learning. One bit of advice stood out from the others -- take time and reflect. "When you start something you have the tendency to just drive everything as hard as possible. Taking some time to zoom out and reflect ... is invaluable because it helps you identify whether you're actually making progress or just being busy."
In that spirit, let's look back at the first year in the life of the City Accelerator, a multi-city, philanthropic, collaborative startup that has put down roots in eight cities so far.
By Tricia Landry, Senior Relationship Manager, Citi Commercial Bank Los Angeles August 27, 2015 11:00 AM
I’ve always known that LA schools can and should be improved, but hearing the shocking stat of high school graduation rates being at 60 percent astonished me. I was embarrassed that I lived in Los Angeles and was completely unaware that almost half of the kids entering high school were never going to graduate. Why wasn’t this a daily news headline? What was the plan? This motivated me to get involved, but how?
In 2010 I was involved in a leadership program called LeadershipLA that brought together individuals from the private sector and the public sector. One of the fellows in the program was Estelle Reyes, Executive Director for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (“NFTE”) of Greater Los Angeles. Over the year we became friends, and I learned about this great organization, NFTE.
By John Gomperts, President & CEO, America's Promise Alliance and Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship, Citi August 26, 2015 09:00 AM
A Dallas-based nonprofit restaurant provides at-risk youth with intensive culinary, job and life-skills training for careers in the restaurant industry.
In St. Louis, an IT boot-camp transforms a group of young adults from novices into career-ready professionals.
A health care pathways program in Los Angeles offers readiness certification and paid positions at regional hospitals.
These are just snapshots of the innovations occurring at the local level that will be expanded through the recently launched Youth Opportunity Fund, a program led by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance.
This $3 million fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative and supports city-level, scalable programs that link young people to opportunities that lead to jobs.
By Sol W. Bernstein, Director and Associate General Counsel, Citibank August 18, 2015 12:15 PM
iMentor is enabling thousands of professionals to positively impact high school students. My experience with iMentor started when I received a Citi email with a call for volunteers; I knew it was something I needed to do. I always wanted to make a long-term mentoring commitment but was conscious of making sure I could uphold my end of the bargain. Being an iMentor is conducive to someone like me who has a full schedule and can’t necessarily commit to meeting in person on a weekly basis. As iMentors we are tasked with writing one thoughtful email each week to our mentees and attending a two-hour session once a month in the evening with our mentee at their high school. What I’ve found thus far is that through these continued engagements, you are truly helping to mold a young person’s life and better enabling them to achieve success.
My mentee is a 9th grade boy named Luis. He lives in the Bronx in New York City and attends a high school in Manhattan. Our first meeting was at his high school cafeteria and it played out this way: we ate pizza together and then talked about our respective lives, families, and goals for the program. Luis was fairly shy and quiet, yet serious about his studies and his interest in technology. Though I am a banking lawyer with little to no knowledge of technology, I knew that I could help him stay focused and consider new possibilities as he goes through high school and focuses on the college application process.
By Christoph Schlueter, Public Affairs Officer, Citi Germany August 10, 2015 02:00 PM
Citi’s Christoph Schlueter with the student company Orenda, winners of the Citi Remarkable Customer Service Award
In July 2015, The Citi Foundation funded the ‘Citi Remarkable Customer Service’ award at the very successful 26th annual Company of the Year Competition (COYC) by Junior Achievement (JA) Europe.
The company that lifted the trophy for the most remarkable customer service was student company Orenda from the UK. The students impressed the Citi Signature Award jury with their strong attention to the customer experience. Orenda created the vibrant and practical Sip ‘O’ Snack innovative water bottles with a multi-purpose compartment, enabling their clients to take their favourite drinks and snacks wherever they go.
Over 200 COYC students gathered in Berlin, Germany between July 28 - 31 to celebrate the top mini-companies from Europe. 37 student-teams from 36 countries competed as part of JA Europe’s flagship Company Programme, which gives them an opportunity to set up and run a real business with the support of business mentors. During the three days of the event, the student mini companies impressed with innovation, professionalism, enthusiasm and passion.
By Jennifer L. Curtis, Senior Recovery Manager, St. Louis August 05, 2015 10:15 AM
Giving my time to help people means meeting my full potential and helping them reach theirs. When the opportunity to volunteer as a judge with the St. Louis Urban Debate League presented itself, I figured, “Why not?” Volunteering had previously given me an inexplicable sense of accomplishment. I had never volunteered in this capacity before, and I enjoy new experiences and building new relationships so signing up made sense. Now, as a third-time volunteer with the league, the experience has been inspiring and informative—for both me and the students.
The St. Louis Urban Debate League, part of the National Associations of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL), is a national organization dedicated to expanding debate opportunities among urban high schools. Through the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress program, NAUDL is engaging urban debate leagues from across the country to strengthen, support and propel debate to the forefront of youth engagement and garner recognition as a viable tool for post-secondary preparedness.
By Loren Kranz, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Citi Retail Services August 03, 2015 02:30 PM
The 2015-2016 cohort of AmeriCorps VISTAs with Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Tracy Hoover, President of Points of Light, Rosemary Byrnes, Senior Program Officer, Citi Foundation, and Loren Kranz, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Citi Retail Services
After working as a juvenile correctional officer, Warren Jones knew he wanted to do more to reach at-risk youth and help them make positive decisions that would help lead to positive futures. “Youth at the facility saw staff as the enemy,” he said. That’s why Warren joined ServiceWorks as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. He officially took his oath of service on July 24th. Warren sees his time with ServiceWorks as an entry point to instill that positive influence. “I want to have a lasting impact on young people in need of positive role models,” Warren added. He will work at City Square in Dallas with youth to help them learn the skills they need to chart a path towards their goals.
Through ServiceWorks, the nation’s largest corporate-sponsored AmeriCorps VISTA program, VISTA members like Warren help 16-24 year olds brighten both the future of their communities and their paths to career success. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum dedicated to social change movements, served as a fitting location to welcome the 75 new VISTA members in front of over 150 guests. Staff from Citi’s offices in Atlanta, including myself, attended to show support for the program – after all, service is a big part of our community - and to welcome everyone to our hometown. We were all honored to represent Citi and inspired to see so many young people wanting to dedicate a year of their lives to making a difference in the lives of others.
By Clint Creado, Senior Vice President and Director of Business Banking, Citi, Los Angeles Metro Area July 30, 2015 11:45 AM
My experience volunteering for the ServiceWorks program with Pathways to Progress was a natural and fulfilling extension of my commitment to work with high school kids – something I’ve done for many years both as a mentor and teacher. I truly believe in the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress concept – that we have a duty to invest in today’s youth who will be tomorrow’s leaders.
ServiceWorks is a national program that uses volunteer service and civic engagement to help young people develop leadership and workplace skills, while enabling them to build their professional networks and connections to the community. Over the course of two months, I spent my time volunteering as a “Skills Trainer” and was responsible for delivering curriculum to 75 students on topics ranging from work ethic and communications, to relationship building, problem solving, and interview preparation. During these workshops I used personal experiences to bring the lessons to life and to connect with the audience. I use experiences ranging from the previous jobs I have held, to interviews that I have had, and my overall career progression. I emphasized that we all have to start somewhere and they should not be afraid of failure - the price of one “yes” is a whole bunch of “no’s”.
By Richard Young, Associate, Citi Investment Banking, New York City July 22, 2015 12:15 PM
I am especially privileged to serve as a mentor because of the impact my own mentor has had on my life. Nearly 21 years after we were first introduced, we are still in touch, and have developed a lasting relationship. I credit much of the success I have found in my career to the relationship I have with my mentor, as well as the Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Career Prep Program, which I graduated from in 2007.
MLT is a nonprofit organization that works to equip underrepresented minorities with the tools and skills they need to compete and succeed at the highest levels of the corporate, nonprofit and entrepreneurial sectors. It was through my involvement with MLT’s Career Prep Program that I gained an understanding of the financial services industry, which eventually led to me joining Citi’s Corporate and Investment Banking Division in 2008. MLT has transformed the lives of more than 4,000 Rising Leaders - and both Jeron and I are proud to be among that group.