The Women to Watch: No. 11, BNY Mellon's Monique Herena

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Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior EVP, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, BNY Mellon

When BNY Mellon hired Monique Herena as its chief human resources officer and head of corporate affairs in 2014, the directive from then-CEO Gerald Hassell was an ambitious one: position the bank as the “preeminent career destination” for talented financial professionals.

It’s perhaps too soon to say “mission accomplished,” but under Herena’s leadership the bank is making significant progress in attracting and retaining top talent, according to Hassell, who recently relinquished the CEO title and is now nonexecutive chairman.

On the recruitment side, Herena refreshed the interview process and shortened applications, while internally she is improving the workplace culture at BNY Mellon largely by celebrating its people and upgrading the benefits it offers.

Last year, the bank rolled out its first-ever “people report,” a digital-only vehicle that highlights employees’ accomplishments and showcases their commitment to citizenship. It recently launched a well-being initiative through which the company now provides such services as in-house counseling, financial planning and fitness training. And it has reimagined its in-house university to focus less on what Herena calls “check-the-box” training and more on things like culture and leadership.

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“To accomplish all of our goals, we needed a new leader as our chief human resources officer, someone who would have the courage, drive and human touch to effect the changes necessary,” Hassell said. “Monique has been extraordinarily effective and impactful, delivering results beyond expectations.”

Herena had been a top human resources executive at PepsiCo before joining BNY Mellon. She said she was interested in BNY Mellon because of its rich history and because she believed the banking industry in general, coming out of the financial crisis, was “ripe for fresh leadership on the people side.”

Apart from heading up human resources, Herena oversees marketing and corporate affairs and chairs BNY Mellon’s charitable foundation. One of her key initiatives as head of the charitable foundation was championing a white paper, titled “Return on Equality,” that shed light on the worldwide gender gap and highlighted investment opportunities in bettering social and economic conditions for women in third-world countries.

The report, created in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and the McKinsey Global Institute, was presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year.

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