Inspiring the Next Generation: Driving Positive Outcomes
Story By: Raymond J. Arroyo
We’re thrilled to feature another impressive, impactful, and powerful Latina leader in our column: Carly Sanchez, head of Talent Acquisition, Strategy and Delivery for Wells Fargo & Co, with responsibilities around the globe. Carly has been recognized as one of ALPFA’s 50 Most Powerful Latinas, published by Fortune Magazine on March 14, 2018, two years in a row. Her experience is rich and diverse, the scope of her job is massive, and her success is unquestionable – not because she has achieved a high corporate level job, or because she’s transformed the way Wells Fargo finds the best and the brightest, or because the way she partners with the community to ensure everyone has an opportunity to compete fairly for a job or to conduct business at her company. She’s successful because she’s maintained a sense of balance in her life that enables her to perform at a consistently high level while keeping her family life and her strong family values at the forefront.
Carly shared an impactful story of integrity and morality despite going against the grain of the cultural norms at the time. She told me the story from many years ago when her mother was an elementary school teacher. Carly’s mother enjoyed having lunch with Mrs. Oliver, not in the teachers’ room, but in a room that can only be described as a closet. At the time, Mrs. Oliver was not welcomed in the teachers’ room simply because of her race - she was an African-American. Even though it was the norm at the time, it wasn’t right, and Carly’s mom did what she could to make a bad situation a little better (readers who experienced or heard similar stories, or saw “Hidden Figures,” will understand how common practices not too many decades ago negatively, severely, impacted people of color in our country). Carly’s household grew up understanding the difference between lectures and actions; right and wrong, regardless or cultural norms, and standing up for what they believed in. To this date Carly is still that feisty and caring executive that her mother taught her to be. But what makes her stand out is her ability to remain humble, grounded, and accessible despite all the accolades she receives or the impact she’s making within and outside of Wells Fargo.
Raymond Arroyo: You’ve been selected as one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in corporate America in the U.S. two years in a row. What does that recognition mean to you?
Carly Sanchez: First, the honor is humbling – to be included for two years in a row with this group of amazing women is a tremendous honor, especially knowing the caliber of great Latina leaders in Corporate America. Second, it is a reminder of the journey we have taken to arrive at this point and that a step in that journey is to pay it forward to others coming right behind us.
RA: Why do you think giving exposure to successful Latinas is important?
CS: When we think about the talent in this country, much of which has yet to be discovered, it is so important that those striving to have an impact see themselves in those who are in positions of leadership. Without a vision of what’s possible it’s much harder to strive for the best. And for Latinas, expanding the number of women who are now in leadership positions is critical so the vision of what’s possible becomes more attainable. ALPFA and Fortune help capture and highlight this by providing profiles of the successful women in the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in corporate America who can serve as role models to thousands of Latinos/Latinos around the country.
RA: You have been at Wells Fargo for nearly five years. The environment, technology, and priorities, I’m sure, have shifted from 5 years ago to today. How do you manage the fast-changing demands of your job? What pleases you the most?
CS: That’s a great question. The key for me is to surround myself with a leadership team that brings diverse talents, skills and perspectives to their jobs. Each of the leaders on my team (and it’s now a team of 900+) has a passion for our mission to identify and hire the best talent for Wells Fargo and to enhance the diversity and inclusive environment in which they grow their careers. But each leader also has a different skill – some in technology, others in strategic planning, etc. So we make concerted efforts to think forward and not get caught up solely in the daily demands which are many, but to pull up and have conversations about the road forward, how we stay focused on strategic priorities, where innovation is possible, how to resist doing what we have always done … and then we research and share best practices of other teams – no need to always reinvent the wheel.
RA: For people aspiring to follow in your footsteps, what advice do you have for them?
CS: First, education is key and opens up so many doors. What I thought I wanted to do when I was in college is not at all what I am doing today, so constantly staying open to opportunities and learning about new ideas has been essential to driving my career forward. But I would also say, and it sounds clichéd, is to find something that you truly care about and see how you can turn that into a career. For me, coming from my personal background, helping to identify untapped talent and provide opportunities for those who couldn’t imagine what was possible for them has been a theme throughout. I was able to do this at Harvard in Admissions work, and then move to a corporate environment initially in campus recruiting and then moving into recruiting. Throughout I was always able to deliver on this with a commitment to diversity – sometimes as a formal part of my job and other times as a lens for the work I was doing. But find something you care about and stay on a continuous learning and exploration path. Not easy when you have to earn a living and pay college loans, but whenever possible, having that constant of understanding what drives you is so important.
RA: What role does your company play in leveraging technology to support Hispanic businesses to the Bank. How can these businesses leverage that technology to elevate their chances of achieving their particular goals?
CS: Wells Fargo developed https://wellsfargoworks.com/ as an online resource to offer more guidance and services that small business owners are seeking and need. Today it includes a Business Plan Tool - giving business owners a way to create and update a business plan - and a Business Credit Center - to make it easier to find credit options and increase understanding of how credit decisions are made. We recently introduced a new Marketing Center to help address the marketing needs of small business owners. In our quarterly Small Business Index survey, business owners consistently say attracting customers and targeting new business opportunities is one of the most important challenges they face.
Resources are also available in Spanish at https://wellsfargoworks.com/es/ .
Wells Fargo launched our Diverse Community Capital program, a three-year, $75 million initiative to lend capital and provide grants to nonprofits that assist minority-owned small businesses. For more than a decade, Wells Fargo and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) have worked together to develop programs that help Latino business owners grow and succeed. Together with the USHCC Foundation, Wells Fargo founded the Chamber Training Institute, which trains leaders of diverse-segment chambers of commerce on key business and leadership topics for their members. Hispanic suppliers.
Our diverse supplier program is an important component of our efforts to support diverse-owned businesses, including Hispanic Business enterprises. We’re proud that in 2016 we spent more than $1 billion of our annual procurement budget with diverse suppliers, and we have committed to spend at least 15% of our procurement dollars with diverse suppliers by 2020.
RA: Wells Fargo has been in the news these past few months. What are you doing to provide leadership internally and externally to continue to attract and retain top-notch talent, especially Latino talent, to the Bank?
CS: Leading by example; creating two-way dialogue, providing opportunities for team members and candidates to share their diverse perspectives and taking that feedback to heart; providing an open door policy – empowering our recruiters with the information and support they need to address candidate questions and concerns.
RA: Who is your role model and why?
CS: I have had a number of role models over the years but I would say today those who are willing to take a stand to ensure that we remain a country of opportunity, inclusive of all, are my role models. Some are local folks here, others more well known, but those are the people who I strive to emulate.
RA: When have you been the most satisfied in your life? Why?
CS: There have been various points in my life when I have felt “completed” to a great extent – and currently that is certainly true. When I think about what factors create that feeling today they are certainly applicable to other time periods in my life –From a job perspective: a challenging role that constantly stretches my strategic thinking, tactical expertise and ability to transform, and allows me to engage with colleagues whom I respect, enjoy and value. From a personal perspective: I am truly fortunate that my husband is also my best friend who shares the same values, a brilliant colleague who challenges my thinking and the most supportive person I know – always encouraging me to continue to grow, even when it entails time away from home (I have traveled a lot over the years, often living 5 days a week in another city). Our home is in a peaceful environment so when we do have time together there it is relaxed and revitalizing. And we keep humor as a premium.
RA: Tell us a nugget about your life, personal or professional, that most people don’t know about you.
CS: I grew up in a household of music and the arts – my mom was a musician and a music teacher and our home was centered around this – a harp and piano in the living room. My sister and I both played instruments – harp, piano and I played the violin – though I did give the violin up when it was clear that was NOT where my talent lay. I also sang in chorus in high school and at Harvard, which I enjoyed. I don’t have much time to play instruments now but music is always part of my life. I also remember how my mother shared the importance of valuing each human being – she was an elementary school teacher and shared that she enjoyed having lunch with Mrs. Oliver and that they ate in a room that we knew to be more of a closet. We also understood that she ate there and not in the teachers’ room because Mrs. Oliver was not welcome there as an African-American, and so my mom without question ate separately with Mrs. Oliver. Our mindset was always framed by her stories that didn’t lecture but always taught us.