Even in a Pandemic Women are Thriving
By Linda Hanson, EVP of commercial banking, Commerce Bank and WWMB Class of 2003
With challenge, comes opportunity.
Nothing quite demonstrates that old saying like the year 2020. Despite it being a year like no other, it has been a year of opportunity and women especially, have had the opportunity to rise and shine. And we are shining!
The fact is, women are thriving in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been through our call to action, leadership with empathy, and community of support that women have raised the bar becoming super-parents (teachers in some cases) and highly valued business leaders in their organization. But we certainly didn’t rise to the occasion alone. It takes a team.
You likely heard the common catch phrase amongst brands (including Commerce Bank) during the early part of the pandemic, “We’re in this together.” While perhaps over-used by the marketing industry, the phrase rang true and rings true today. We are in this together. Our team is not just family, friends and neighbors—it’s also our employers, co-workers and industry peers.
Commerce Bank is just one example of many respected Kansas City employers who care about their people and are dedicated to creating not only a culture that provides a good work-life balance, but one that focuses on obtaining equity for their employees, which is so important during these challenging times - especially for a good majority of women who have had to bare the heavy load of balancing their full-time leadership roles at work and at home.
Almost immediately after COVID-19 took hold, Commerce implemented plans to provide tools and resources to help every associate manage their “new normal” such re-emphasizing the importance of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like R.I.S.E., which stands for Respect, Inspire, Succeed and Empower. [The R.I.S.E. program promotes the advancement, retention and recruitment of women at Commerce, currently offering 450 members the opportunity to attend events, participate in virtual workshops and network with fellow members.]
But Commerce Bank’s leadership team went a step further … in my opinion going above and beyond … by providing every associate with a membership to CARE.com, which offers assistance with crucial work/life balance challenges such as child care—including help with remote learning—elder care and even pet care, as well as other helpful tasks like housekeeping.
We have all learned lessons from our experiences during this pandemic. For those of you who are employers yourselves, or in leadership positions within your companies, you have surely learned the importance of valuing your employees and supporting them while they navigate this new work-from-home world with its maze of new health and safety measures, remote learning challenges and time apart from many family and friends.
Hopefully we’ll never experience another year like this again. But just like how The Kansas City Business Journal found a creative way to celebrate this year’s class of Women Who Mean Business, I invite you to find creative ways to help your associates, colleagues and Kansas City business peers to flourish during these challenging times. It has been in the primarily empathetic way in which we lead, that has given women the resiliency to support one another and thrive through this pandemic. There has never been a better time to demonstrate this new style of leadership, whether remote or not.
This year’s Women Who Mean Business celebration, though far different from the annual in-person event, provides the opportunity to honor a group of amazing women who are successful business leaders across the Greater Kansas City community—and Commerce Bank is especially proud to sponsor the class of 2020 Women Who Mean Business.
At Commerce, our motto is “Challenge Accepted.” It’s never been truer than during these past few months. And I’m ever so proud to welcome the newest members of Women Who Mean Business. Thank you for making Kansas City a better place to live and work!
- Resource Group at Commerce Bank Helps Women RISE to Their Fullest Potential
- How Can I Empower Women in my Business?