For the past 13 years, the “Dynamic Dozen” reverse mentoring program has helped U.S. Bank connect with the next generation of employees and consumers, devising solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the financial services industry.
But the most recent cohort faced a slate of challenges unlike any other. Program participants were scheduled to meet for the first time and kick off the program on March 23, 2020, which ended up being a week after COVID-19 shut down much of the country. For the next 21 months, the cohort – which was extended beyond its usual one-year duration before ending in January 2022 - helped the company adjust its culture in the rapidly shifting pandemic landscape.
“COVID was such a hot topic the entire time of the program,” said Megan Ryalls, trust reporting manager for the Wealth Management & Investment Services. In fact, Ryalls served as the lead on a project to improve the onboarding experience for employees hired at a time when they likely wouldn’t be meeting their new colleagues in person. She and her team presented their recommendations to groups of leaders across the company – including the new employee orientation team.
The “Dynamic Dozen” program is a yearlong specialized insight and leadership development program that provides executive leaders with insights from high-potential, high-performing Gen Z and Millennial employees. Program participants are nominated by their respective managing committee members. The program was featured in the 2010 book “The M Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace” as a way to unlock the generation’s talents to an organization’s advantage. Past cohorts developed initiatives including online appointment scheduling in 2014, and changes to the U.S. Bank Automated Investor in 2018 to better appeal to Gen Z consumers just starting their investment journey.
“The program has held true to its mission of providing executive leadership with the unique perspective of our next generation of employees,” said Darren Johnson, Strategy and Insights director, who runs the program. “In turn, the program provides an opportunity for the participants to develop their leadership skills and prepares them for their future at U.S. Bank.”
Madison Hrdlicka-Welge, strategic communications manager for the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, had a one-on-one conversation with U.S. Bank Chief Financial Officer Terry Dolan during her tenure as a Dynamic Dozen participant – something that “was a unique and exciting opportunity,” she said.
Dynamic Dozen program participants – there are now 13 to represent the expansion of the executive team, leading to the phrase “banker’s dozen” to explain the numerical disconnect – also have a unique opportunity develop deep relationships with cohort members across the company. Some 160 employees have participated in the program since 2009, and many remain quite close– with one alumni even serving as the wedding officiant of another.
“One of the most meaningful parts of the program to me was getting to connect with folks across the bank,” said Hrdlicka-Welge, a five-year U.S. Bank employee based in St. Louis. “This was such an exciting opportunity to learn more about varying parts of the bank and work on projects with people I would’ve never otherwise connected with.”
As the program participants met and got to know each other better, they could see how their roles at U.S. Bank often helped support each other’s business units even if they hadn’t realized it before.
“It was such a cool way of seeing how all of our work here at the company ultimately intertwines,” said Ryalls, a seven-year U.S. Bank employee based in Charlotte, N.C.
Congratulations to the 2022 Dynamic Dozen cohort:
And thank you to the 2020-2021 Dynamic Dozen cohort:
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