With the strategic vision that characterizes PNC and its leadership, LCLD Member Greg Jordan and LCLD Fellows Reena Ganju and Alicia Powell spent more than 12 months developing the PNC Learning Experience. Finally, on June 7, 2016, PNC welcomed 35 Fellows to its Pittsburgh headquarters for a look at how PNC defines itself in a new era of banking.
“PNC is about banking embedded in communities – that’s a distinction from the big Wall Street banks,” said William Demchak, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, in his welcome to the Fellows. PNC’s community focus is apparent in everything from its accessible banking apps to the PNC Foundation’s $350 million early child development program. Even the PNC headquarters itself was built with the needs of the community in mind: Opened in the fall of 2015, it is designed to be the greenest office tower in the world.
“At a time when it has become clear that our people and the experience they deliver for our customers are the two greatest opportunities we have to stand out from the competition, we have to be all-in on our commitment to field the most diverse and high-performing teams,” Demchak said. “We have to be forward-thinking about our understanding of what diversity and inclusion really mean, and we have to recognize and harness the value of all of our diverse talent in order to deliver a superior banking experience to all of our diverse customers.”
Greg Jordan, General Counsel at PNC, interviewed by Robert Grey, LCLD President.
Of his recent decision to sign a letter to North Carolina’s governor expressing concerns about legislation that targets the LGBT community, Demchak said, “At PNC, we don’t ‘do diversity’ because it’s politically correct or because the law says we can’t discriminate. We embrace and promote diversity because it is the right thing to do.”
For Greg Jordan, PNC’s General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, diversity is just one crucial facet of being a strategic leader.
“Leaders, the workforce, the population – they’re all getting more diverse,” he said. “It clearly won’t be acceptable in the future for only white men to be leading.”
In a Q&A with LCLD President Robert Grey, Jordan discussed his career before PNC – he was Managing Partner of Reed Smith LLP for 13 years, and a Founding Member of LCLD – and his work developing the LCLD Fellows, Pathfinder, and Senior Leadership programs.
“As part of LCLD, we want to do our part to help accelerate the pace of change in the profession,” Jordan said. “When we started [the Fellows Program], we wanted to bring not only talent development programming to the Fellows – we wanted to help them build their networks.”
Under Jordan’s leadership, PNC Legal has also launched a program to better assess the diversity of its outside counsel. Created through partnership with LCLD and TyMetrix, the program allows outside counsel to provide pertinent timekeeper diversity information through PNC’s billing system.
“It clearly won’t be acceptable in the future for only white men to be leading.”
Jordan’s view that diversity and talent development go hand-in-hand fits well with PNC’s companywide goal of creating a talent-focused culture, as described to Fellows by Vicki Henn, Chief Human Resources Officer.
“When we talk about talent, diversity and inclusion is part of that conversation – they aren’t separate,” Henn said. “We won’t have the best talent if we don’t have diverse teams, an inclusive environment where everyone can bring their whole self to work, and a culture in which we develop diverse talent to perform and win in the markets we serve.”
At PNC, this includes programs designed to encourage managers to move the needle on diversity; engaging more than 17,000 employees in employee business groups; and providing leadership development experiences for younger employees that allow them to move through different departments.
“Every single MP or GC in the top 100 says diversity is important,” Henn said. “But talking about diversity is not sufficient – we need to take intentional actions to cause change.”
Fellows received a guided tour of the Tower
at PNC Plaza, showcasing both PNC history
and the future of green design.
Rounding out the day’s discussion of talent development and diversity, Fellows heard from a panel of successful female lawyers, including a federal district court judge, an associate general counsel and secretary of a Fortune 500 company, and the Chief Legal Officer of the University of Pittsburgh. Led by Valerie Jackson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at K&L Gates LLP, they discussed their roads to success, the challenges they faced as women and minorities, and how they adapted to unexpected changes throughout their careers.
“I especially enjoyed hearing the personal stories of the extraordinary female panelists on the last day,” said 2016 Fellow Keikoh Park. “It really drilled home for me the lesson that women need to be more willing to take risks without the fear of failing.”
LCLD wishes to thank the following individuals at PNC: Greg Jordan, Reena Ganju, Alicia Powell, John Metz, Kimberly Levinson, Wanda Richards, and Alexandria Samuel.
Additional thanks to Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, K&L Gates LLP, and Reed Smith LLP for co-sponsoring the event, which included box seats at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game.
Photos by Caitlin Puffenberger