Go Back

Maritza’s Path to BMORE

Meet Maritza, a Cara participant who is currently an Associate Banker at BMO Harris Bank. She shares her experience joining BMORE, a workforce development program co-created by BMO Harris Bank and Cara Collective to remove barriers and increase access to careers in banking and finance.

1. Can you describe a day in the life of being an Associate Banker at BMO?

“I wake up at 6:00 am and get prepared for the day. By 8:25 am, I get to the office and log in. Then, we have our morning team meeting where we check in and discuss where we’re at and goals we want to reach.

After our morning meeting, I get ready to meet our customers at 9:00 am. During the day, we assist customers with anything they need. The main priority is to ensure they’re satisfied. At the end of the day, we start closing procedures. I balance my drawer, making sure it matches the screen. Last, we clean up the office and make sure everything is in order for the next business day.

2. Why did you decide to reach out to Cara Collective, which then led to the BMORE program?

Before I started at Cara Collective, I relied heavily on Medicaid and food stamps to support me. I was feeling unmotivated. I was just making ends meet and I wanted to be self-sufficient, so I started looking into options that could help me grow.

My experience at Cara Collective was magnificent. I’ve never been through a more organized program. You can tell everyone there really focuses on each individual person. They really want to see you succeed by giving you all the tools you need to stay motivated: a coach, therapy, mock interviews, professional clothing… I made sure to use all the resources.

The professional clothing made me feel more confident in myself and the one-time rental-assistance helped so much. I was also so impressed that I was able to do mock interviews with top executives from companies around Chicago. It prepared me for the real world.

3. What has been most challenging about your first year on the job? 

The learning curve of how to balance the drawer at the end of the day was the most challenging part about the job. Also, it is a fast-paced environment, so it was challenging to keep up sometimes. But my manager coached and trained me through it, and I was able to learn and overcome it. I worked really hard and persevered until the pace wasn’t an issue anymore.

4. What skills are helpful on the job?

Being transparent, polite, and courteous with customers is helpful. Money handling and time management are also key.

5. What do you want someone who is considering this career move to know about BMORE?

Some advice I would give to someone considering BMORE is to believe in yourself. I would remind them to make sure to pay attention during the trainings and double check everything they do.

The process isn’t going to be easy, but keep persevering because it pays off. The uncomfortable feelings you get sometimes are the ones that help you grow. Also, be kind to yourself.

Learn more about the BMORE program.