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Mercy on Being MORE Than She Ever Thought Was Possible

Before BMORE, I never thought I would have an opportunity to work at a bank.

I had previously applied for a bank job, but I didn’t get it. Math, numbers, and computers – they’ve been my thing since sixth grade, so I was disappointed. I always wanted to go back to school to get a degree in finance, economics, or accounting, but I needed financial stability first.

A year-and-a-half ago, I was trying to sustain myself by working at a daycare close to home. Things weren’t going so well, and I eventually resigned as a lead teacher. I drove for Uber and applied for a Walmart position. When I didn’t get that, I was referred to Cara Collective who told me I was a good fit for BMORE.

Around the same time, I began living on my own, which was a big step for me. I had just moved out of my mom’s house, but I still wanted to be close to her and help with the bills. The opportunity with BMO would make that possible.

When I came to Cara Collective, all of a sudden, I had people in my corner to help me. I had people who actually cared about me.

Cara Collective sees your potential that sometimes you don’t see in yourself.

I was nervous, but I felt prepared for my interview with BMO. I had practice interviews with Cara staff, who helped me think through what questions they might ask. After the interview, I was shocked and excited when BMO called and told me I got the Associate Banker job! The first person I told was my mom because she knew I really wanted this for my career.

Before the first day, my biggest fear was messing up. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into; I knew about managing money from my previous role as a shift leader at a fast food restaurant, but I didn’t know about banking. Luckily, I had a very helpful manager who has been with me since day one. She welcomed me with open arms and guided me through every question. Everything that I know is because of my manager. She took the time to actually teach me.

I had to learn a lot about the bank products, such as credit cards and loans. Anything that the bank offered customers, I really dug in. I shadowed other bankers to learn how to discuss products and services. Then I began having those daily interactions with customers and gaining confidence.

With that confidence, I was able to solve challenges, such as getting elderly people enrolled into our digital mobile app. I was proud of the time I convinced an elderly customer to use our mobile app, since it would be more convenient for him, instead of always having to come into our branch. It turned into a success story because he ended up trusting me and enrolling that same day.

It means a lot knowing that BMO has faith in me to help our customers reach their financial goals and make financial progress.

Working with BMO has really changed how I view myself. I was a shy person when I started, but having people who support me at BMO has helped me speak more. I even got the chance to speak at the Women Aligned event, where I presented an award to Ernie Johannson, our Group Head of North American Personal and Business Banking. I went from being nervous to interview at BMO to speaking in front of 3,000 people.

After a year with BMO, I was able to go back to school. I’m currently a student at Wilbur Wright College studying accounting. I started as an Associate Banker in 2021, and by 2023, I was promoted to Retail Relationship Banker.

I dream bigger than I ever did before coming to BMO. I’ve set higher goals and know I can achieve them.”

In 2020, BMO launched BMORE, a skills-based hiring initiative that has helped them hire 100 Associate Bankers (Mercy being one of them!) in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

If you are curious about how to build or grow an inclusive employment initiative at your firm, check out our case study on BMO to dive into how they launched and scaled BMORE.