The Women to Watch: No. 14, BNY Mellon's Monique Herena

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Chief Human Resources Officer, Sr. EVP, Marketing and Communications, BNY Mellon

As Monique Herena sees it, financial firms and investors are bypassing huge opportunities by failing to invest in industries that could increase economic opportunity for women across the globe.

In her role as chair of the BNY Mellon Foundation, Herena co-wrote a white paper last year that examined the role investors could play in closing the gender pay gap in both developing and developed countries. The opportunity, the report said, is not just in investing in women-owned businesses, but also in infrastructure, such as clean water and energy, that would open more doors for women globally and unlock more than $300 billion a year in economic activity by 2025.

The research is provocative and serves as an example of how Herena is pushing BNY Mellon and its clients to think more broadly about financial inclusion and the opportunity it presents.

It’s an illustration, too, of the role Herena is playing in driving change at the nation’s oldest continuously running bank.

A longtime executive with PepsiCo, Herena joined BNY Mellon in 2014 as head of human resources, marketing and communications under then-CEO Gerald Hassell. Her mandate then, as it is now under new Chairman and CEO Charles Scharf, is to raise BNY Mellon’s profile and position it as the premier destination for top-level banking and tech talent.

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Attracting and retaining talent is a work in progress that includes countless changes to processes and procedures, but key to the effort is emphasizing the purpose of the work and bank’s commitment to the markets it serves. Herena and her team each year now put out a “people report” that celebrates the innovations, accomplishments and good deeds of its employees.

Scharf also said Herena, in her role as marketing chief, is making significant strides in “building leading brand visibility.”

“Monique is bringing our historical legacy into the digital age with a mobile-first online presence and innovative marketing and social media campaigns,” he said.

Herena’s plate is full to be sure, but that’s not stopping her from continuing her education. Last year, she earned a master’s degree, her second, from Columbia University in change leadership and organizational psychology.

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