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Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

2019 Spotlights

November 2019 Spotlight on Flex & 2019 Flex Leader Honoree

For November 2019, we are pleased to share insights from Jennifer M. Flynn, Managing Vice President, Head of Small Business Bank Division, Capital One.

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: In what ways has creating a culture where flexibility is the norm provided a competitive advantage for Capital One’s Small Business Bank Division?

Jennifer Flynn: When I joined as the Head of Capital One’s Small Business Bank (SBB) division in June 2018, the team was on an incredible cultural journey with a huge focus on inclusivity and creating a sense of belonging across all of our sites. I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this transformation. Together, with my leadership team, we declared “reimagining our associate experience” as one of our top goals for 2019. This includes investing in our leaders, promoting flexibility, and embracing differences across our teams. We actively encourage each associate to bring their authentic selves to work each day, and I love watching this transform our division’s culture. Our SBB team is always raising the bar; our business is better because of how we work, and as a result, so are our customers.

DFA: How have you modeled flexible work at Capital One? Why do you think it’s important to lead from the top on this issue?

JMF: I took a leadership development course at GE’s Crotonville facility in 2007 and learned the importance of priority setting. When I had my daughter in 2010, I realized she needed me more than anyone else could; my priorities had to shift. This is when the term “flexibility” became real for me. I wanted to continue progressing in my career and loved being a mom … I just had to find the “and” and make it work my way. This meant making decisions around my priorities, being OK with the consequences of those decisions, and giving myself permission to try and fail. It meant using my voice, and in some ways, over-communicating with my managers, team members, and family when I introduced flexibility into my work week. It also meant soliciting sponsors to support me on my journey. As I grew in my career, I developed a sense of responsibility to model this behavior for other associates looking for balance in their work and home lives. I’m a big believer in the “I see you, I want to be you” phenomenon. If we surround ourselves with leaders who model the behaviors we value, it builds a culture where people feel engaged and empowered to find their “and.” This is what fuels me in promoting and modeling a flexible culture for my team at Capital One.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for leaders to role model the behaviors they want to promote. I find that asking your employees one simple question – “What is important to you?” – goes a long way when empowering associates and helping them achieve success in their personal and professional lives. I’ve also learned there is no script – everyone is different, and flexibility means different things to people at different times in their lives. The willingness to remain open and try new things to make it work for both your organization and employees separate good leaders from great leaders.

DFA: How has incorporating holistic flexibility (ie. telecommuting, reduced hours, job-sharing, flexible start/end times, etc.) changed your office?

JMF: Developing high-performing teams is a big priority of ours. I believe as leaders, it’s our job to create and foster an inclusive and flexible work environment that allows us to attract, retain and develop talent. This results in a happier workforce and better work product. Technology has made this easier for us as well – with a computer, a smart phone, and a strong work ethic, we can do our jobs from anywhere!

DFA: How has flexibility impacted your life?

JMF: Flexibility has allowed me to achieve both my personal and professional goals. Having the freedom to make choices and do things my way has allowed me to have an extremely rewarding career and still keep my daughter as my top priority.

DFA: What was the most meaningful piece of leadership advice you have received? Who has had the most influence on your career?

JMF: Set your priorities; make decisions around those priorities, and if you don’t like the consequences of those decisions, make another choice. This advice has served me well and has also helped me remove guilt from my vocabulary! When you’re confident in your priorities, everything else falls into place.

I also learned the power of using my voice and encouraging others to do the same. Sharing my priorities with others really helped me find the “and” – the flexibility I need to make things work for both my family and my organization. Don’t underestimate the power of letting someone in. I am where I am today largely because of the leaders who took a chance on me, pushed me, and supported me on both my personal and professional journey. My goal is to be that person for my team.

DFA: How do you pay it forward?

JMF: I make it a point to surround myself with leaders who model the behaviors I value, and I have become a champion for those just starting out on their journey. I’m committed to working with my teams to create a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging, an obligation to share a dissenting opinion, and can bring their whole selves to work feeling inspired and respected. It’s important for everyone to work for leaders who bring out the best in you, who embrace varying perspectives, and see differences as an opportunity to grow. I made a promise to remain true to my authentic self, and I want others to feel the freedom to do the same.

I’m actively engaged on the Executive Steering Committee for Capital One’s Women’s Business Resource Group and the Capital One Greater Washington Market President Network, both located in McLean, VA. I’m an advisor for 1863 Ventures and passionate about helping small businesses succeed.

 

 

 

Award to be presented at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Conference on November 7

Washington, DC – October 1, 2019 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has announced that Jennifer M. Flynn, Managing Vice President, Head of the Small Business Bank (SBB) Division at Capital One, will receive its 2019 Flex Leader Award. The Flex Leader Award recognizes an executive who is moving his or her organization toward a more inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility. The Award will be presented on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at the Alliance’s annual conference Inspire. Innovate. Ignite! in Washington, DC. Registration is available here.

Ms. Flynn was selected for her leadership role in helping to create an organizational culture that focuses on inclusivity, encouraging authenticity, investing in future leaders, embracing differences and promoting flexible working options. As a parent, Ms. Flynn has not only benefitted from her own flexible working schedule, but she is also committed to helping countless other employees find more balance in their professional and personal lives. According to Working Mother’s Best Companies 2018 report, 60 percent of Capital One employees telecommute, and the company’s leaders and managers are trained to consider the work life and flexibility concerns of their associates. Additionally, Capital One is extremely supportive of women (who make up more than 50% of employees) and consistently earns a spot on the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list.

“When I met Jenn, I was struck by her dedication to ensuring that Capital One maintains its truly inclusive culture and that employees have access to a flexible schedule,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “She is passionate about supporting and mentoring her colleagues and by modeling the behaviors the company values, Jenn has been able to help build a culture where people feel engaged and empowered.”

“I believe that as leaders, it is our job to create and foster an inclusive and flexible work environment that allows us to attract, retain and develop talent, which, quite simply, results in a happier employee population and better work products,” said Ms. Flynn. “I am fortunate to work for a company that prioritizes its people. Capital One’s emphasis on humanity lays the foundation for building this kind of environment, allowing me to have an extremely rewarding career while holding my daughter as my top priority. Our business is better because of how we work and, as a result, so are our customers. I am incredibly honored to receive the Flex Leader Award and humbled to be surrounded by great leaders who promote a flexible and inclusive work environment and an organization with that same mission.”

Prior to becoming the Business Leader for Capital One’s Small Business Bank Division in June 2018, Ms. Flynn spent 18 months as the Chief Financial Officer for Capital One’s International and Small Business Division. She joined Capital One in 2015 as the Chief Financial Officer for Capital One Healthcare, which was acquired from GE Capital, and played a key leadership role in the integration. Her background also includes finance leadership positions at GE Capital and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Jenn is actively engaged on the Executive Steering Committee for Capital One’s Women’s Business Resource Group and has been named one of Working Mother magazine’s “Working Mothers of the Year.”

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

 

Contact Manar Morales at 202-957-9650 or manar@dfalliance.com for more information.