Author:Baral, Elisa
Position:CEO INTERVIEWS - Interview

ELISA BARAL enjoys her work as an audit project manager with the Corporate Audit Services Department at U.S. Bank, but her duties only tell part of the story of why she likes coming to work every day.

Yes, Baral enjoys tackling different audits and the unique challenges each one brings. However, she also gains work fulfillment in her other role at the bank: as vice president of the company's Nosotros Latinos business resource group. Nosotros Latinos, which launched in 2016, plays a crucial role in raising awareness of U.S. Bank's Latino-focused strategies inside and outside of the company.

"The Latino strategy and approach at U.S. Bank is constantly evolving to match the needs of the market," Baral said. "We are in the process of expanding our Latino customer experience outreach to build awareness of our services."

U.S. Bank's recognition of how quickly Latino population is growing in the country is one reason it has launched a number of Latino-focused strategies. The Latino demographic is currently the largest minority group in the U.S. and still expanding and U.S. Bank wants to build a firm foundation of engagement and trust with Latinos across its footprint.

"We want to engage with them to be part of the community and service all their needs," Baral said. "That means being a trusted partner to help Latinos take charge of their future through financial education and advice, buying a car, starting a business or expanding an existing business."

U.S. Bank's Latino outreach isn't just about increasing its customer base. It wants to diversify its workforce, too. Baral works in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, where the amount of Latinos in high-end leadership positions has been historically low, although that is beginning to change.

The turnaround can be attributed to organizations like the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA). Baral joined the organization's Twin Cities chapter board in 2012 and helped with its re-launch. Meanwhile, U.S. Bank sponsored both the chapter and was a national sponsor of its annual convention in 2015- Like U.S. Bank, ALPFA is committed to developing and advancing Latino leaders. The company leans on organizations like ALPFA to help build a pipeline of Latino talent.

"From my perspective as a Latino professional, corporations understand the need to be able to diversify their workforce to emulate the communities in which they operate," Baral said. "U.S Bank recognizes the importance...

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