Karen Peetz
President, BNY Mellon

Karen Peetz volunteered for a mentoring program this year, working with a younger employee at Bank of New York Mellon. Peetz, president of the world's leading custody institution, is the mentee.

Long an active promoter of women and minorities at the bank, she is seeking a better understanding of younger employees, male and female, from the "reverse" mentoring program.

"Even as the parent of two millennials, I gained a lot of insight from learning how this young woman viewed my work and my accomplishments and from discovering how much more collaborative this younger generation is in the workplace," Peetz says.

Initiatives like reverse mentoring — a project of the Women's Initiative Network, a group Peetz founded eight years ago — are important for long-term worker retention, she says. "You have to know how these junior people view the company and their career path if you want to keep them. They are the future."

As president since 2013, Peetz is responsible for overseeing the global client and regional management teams and treasury services business.

For the more immediate future, she is making sure the entire organization can anticipate and prepare for regulatory changes, rather than have to scramble whenever issues arise. To that end, last year she initiated a weekly "regulatory coordination" meeting of C-level executives and managers from the various bank units.

"In the past we were all more reactive," she says. "Now we're no longer just acting because there is a stick over our heads."

These discussions also cover bank culture. "Whether you're in Hong Kong or Rio, we want to make sure we have the appropriate culture of compliance," Peetz says.

A second group of executives she convenes weekly focuses on implementing such things as the Volcker Rule and rewriting procedures, "so we're not just fighting these things but are leading the way in meeting them."

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