January 05, 2018
“At U.S. Bank, what we do is serve,” says Dan Farley, Twin Cities Market Leader of U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management and a former U.S. Army officer. “We serve our clients, we serve each other. That is the cornerstone of our business.”
That principle extends to the commitment by U.S. Bank to serve more than 2,000 employee veteran and active military members. In 2008, U.S. Bank established Proud to Serve to do just that.
What formed as a small program driven by a small group of veteran employees pledging to hire and support military members has since evolved into a companywide, employee-led business resource group. Over the past 10 years, Proud to Serve has expanded to local and virtual chapters and has become a core part of what U.S. Bank stands for.
With local chapters in Cincinnati, Denver, Oregon/Southwest Washington, Southeast Wisconsin and the Twin Cities, plus a virtual chapter, employees have the opportunity to take advantage of Proud to Serve and its resources no matter where they are located. These resources have been effective in helping to retain and connect veterans and accelerate their careers. Resources like Bankers in Boots and the MentorConnect program work to recruit and hire veterans and assist them as they transition to civilian jobs.
“The military teaches you how to build teams,” says Mike Ott, President of U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management and a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve Colonel. “It teaches you how to pursue excellence relentlessly — how to get better every day, look to the horizon and anticipate.” These programs combined with veterans’ pursuit of excellence, discipline, problem-solving skills, initiative and heart of service have led to placing many veterans in important roles at the bank.
For people like Ott, Proud to Serve isn’t only a way to demonstrate organizational appreciation for those who have served or are actively serving. It also provides a sense of community within community. Ott remembers that the bank’s commitment to serving veterans is one of the things that drew him to the organization eight years ago. “The firm really did put its money where its mouth is. I experienced it and lived it.”
This commitment to veterans goes beyond internal efforts. The organization has provided iPads for deployed employees and their families so they can communicate, donated mortgage-free homes to veteran families in partnership with Freedom Alliance, participated in Habitat for Humanity builds, and recently announced on the company’s annual Veterans Day call a partnership with Bunker Labs as a founding sponsor for the Twin Cities Chapter.
To further honor veterans, U.S. Bank was a sponsor of the 2016 Medal of Honor Society Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in October 2016 and the 2017 convention in Pueblo, Colorado, in September.
“There’s an authenticity to Proud to Serve that sets us apart. It’s not a platitude, it’s not just words, it’s palpable,” Ott says. “We’re an organization that lives the ethos we espouse, and we’re extremely lucky.”