San Diego banker teaches self-investment by paying it forward 

February 08, 2022
Brittny Ferguson reacting to the surprise announcement she won "Volunteer of the Year" from Junior Achievement of San Diego in 2021.

Over the past three years, Brittny Ferguson has logged nearly 500 volunteer hours and won "Volunteer of the Year" from Junior Achievement.

At the age of 12, Brittny Ferguson learned that possessions are not permanent – but the impact of kindness can be. 

Just weeks before this childhood Christmas, Ferguson’s family lost everything they owned in an electrical fire and were grateful when the American Red Cross stepped in to provide clothes, holiday gifts, and a renewed sense of stability.

“I have learned that there is always something we can give. Even secondhand toys mean the world to a child with nothing, and a smile can bring comfort to someone who feels alone,” Ferguson said. “Anyone can be great, because anyone can share of themselves.”

In 2021, Junior Achievement of San Diego surprised Ferguson, now a U.S. Bank branch manager in coastal San Diego, with their “Volunteer of the Year Award” honoring her outstanding commitment to teaching financial literacy and wellness to young people. 

Over the past three years Ferguson has logged nearly 500 volunteer hours, acting as a U.S. Bank volunteer coordinator in San Diego, organizing community service efforts with local nonprofits such as the USO, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, The Nick Cannon Foundation, and many other nonprofits.

“Brittny’s dedication to powering human potential inspires everyone she meets. Helping to create a better world for future generations really is her passion,” explains U.S. Bank district manager in Southern San Diego, Jay Henslee. “The most notable part of Brittny’s efforts is the amount of joy she brings to all that she does. She always says, ‘service is a responsibility’ but she also makes it look like a lot of fun.”

This altruistic ethos inspired Ferguson’s decision to join U.S. Bank in 2018, when after meeting with hiring manager Henslee, she was confident she could help make a meaningful impact in the San Diego community through the company’s volunteerism program, team affinity groups, philanthropic commitments, and overarching mission to help power human potential. 

In 2019, the business community took note of Brittny’s work as the San Diego Business Journal listed Ferguson among the “Top Business Leaders Under 40.” In 2020, as the hard-hitting issue of Covid-19 and a spotlight on racism in America emerged, Ferguson went to work giving what she could. Her efforts included supporting local restaurants and farmers to help feed frontline essential workers and military members through the U.S. Bank #SupportLocal program and co-hosting a courageous conversation about ways to act against discrimination in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. In 2021, Ferguson co-hosted the U.S. Bank women’s group event “HERStory” in celebration of Women’s History Month.

The courageous optimism that Ferguson is known for did not always come easily to her, however.

“As a black woman, I used to feel self-conscious about being different from the other leaders in the room,” she said. “Now I realize that I may be the only person like me there, but I intend to try to ensure I won’t be the last. Representation inspires others to know they can do it too. So, I keep showing up.”

But for Ferguson, it isn’t always about the big initiatives. She acknowledges that potent, purposeful interactions can also take place during small personal moments. “Never underestimate the power of remembering the little things, like someone’s favorite snack, coffee order, or simply special details about their life that they’ve chosen to share. Sometimes honoring each other in small ways, can mean the most.” 

[Watch a video of Brittny at work in the community teaching financial literacy to young people.]

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