Chief Talent and Culture Executive, BBVA Compass

As the only woman on BBVA Compass’ 12-person management team, Rosilyn Houston feels a special obligation to help advance the careers of other women in the organization.

So last year, Houston developed a business resource group within the bank that is geared specifically to women in leadership roles. The group launched in June with 430 members, including some men. Its mission is to provide up-and-coming female executives with opportunities for career advancement, partly through mentoring, sponsorship and professional development training, and partly through a program that matches mid-level female leaders with higher-level executives to help solve real-world problems.

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Houston’s hope is that the group’s existence will help the $88 billion-asset bank strengthen its pipeline of high-quality female leaders who could move into executive roles when opportunities arise. She also believes strongly that when women feel supported in their careers, they are more inspired and engaged, leading to an improved bottom line.

In her role as the bank’s chief talent and culture officer, Houston is all about making employees happy. In the past year, she and her team implemented a range of new worker-friendly initiatives that include higher pay coverage for short-term disability, increased leave for new parents and even an overnight breast-milk delivery service for mothers traveling on business.

Houston is also bringing more innovation into the human resources area. Her division is the only nontech unit at BBVA Compass to create its own agile team to improve efficiency and performance. Using design-thinking methodologies, the team has revamped the employee onboarding process and built new talent and leadership development programs, doing in weeks what would normally take many months.

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Houston was a regional head of consumer and commercial banking when she was asked to take over human resources in 2015 and she admits to being hesitant at first about leaving a revenue-generating post for one with no P&L responsibilities. Now, she finds incredible satisfaction in developing compensation, leave and benefits policies that cement BBVA Compass’ bond with employees.

“I did not give up anything by shifting my focus to the people strategies in my organization,” she said. “I gained the greatest opportunity ever.”

Alan Kline

Alan Kline

Alan Kline is a senior editor at American Banker overseeing its consumer finance and national/regional banking coverage. He also helps direct coverage of the annual Most Powerful Women in Banking rankings.