“Instead of wondering how you can be the CEO, ask yourself how you can be the best at what your job is right now.”
That was the message shared by Bernard Tynes, Penn Community Bank Chief Marketing & Impact Officer as part of the bank’s Multi-Ethnic Employee Resource Group’s (ERG) recent Lunch and Learn focused on career advancement in today’s world.
Tynes, now a member of the organization’s Executive Leadership Team, recalls beginning his financial services career while in college and being the only African American at the bank he was working for. Soon after, he met a Black female banking executive and thought, “I can do that, too.”
To get there, his career path has been anything but linear.
Taking advantage of every special project, opportunity, and promotion that came his way, he shifted from retail banking and branch administration, to mergers and acquisitions, to marketing, and back and forth for several years. While some moves may have been horizontal rather than vertical, he says he learned something at every touchpoint of banking.
“While I really found my sweet spot in Marketing, I still call back on my past experience frequently when it comes to making informed decisions. It’s been a big help as I’ve moved throughout organizations.”
One thing Bernard says was helpful in his ascent was not being afraid of taking on a new position that required a bit of learning.
“Don’t be hesitant of participating in trainings, courses, or advancing your education,” he says, recalling how he took advantage of employer’s reimbursement programs and training certificates to help him prepare for new challenges.
Similarly, he says networking with purpose is vital to career advancement.
“Within your organization, networking can be asking to shadow a certain department or position you’re unfamiliar with. Outside of your organization or at an event, networking can be finding the person that no one is talking to in the room and hearing what they have to offer.”
However, his biggest piece of advice to young professionals and those looking for a new career move is to always find someone who can mentor or sponsor you.
“While the terms are often used interchangeably, it’s important to understand the difference. A mentor is someone you go to for advice or guidance. A sponsor, on the other hand, is someone who amplifies the work that you’re doing and who will save you a seat at the table,” says Bernard.
Advancing in your career begins with doing current job really well and being ready to take advantage of opportunities. Whether it is taking on though challenges, learning new things, or setting goals for yourself and sharing them with others, follow Bernard’s advice and you can get to that next level.