Leroy Abrahams, Regions’ head of Community Affairs, kicked off Regions Day on the Plains recalling the words of Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts:
“An expectation of excellence.”
Roberts remarked the night before that no matter where he visits on campus, “from the soil-testing fields of the College of Agriculture to a research lab in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, to the nationally renowned football facilities – there’s an expectation of excellence.”
Abrahams acknowledged how that emphasis on excellence is evident throughout Auburn’s campus. He went on to say that “Regions Bank shares that expectation of excellence – in all aspects of our business.”
Abrahams pointed out that, in fact, Regions and Auburn share many of the same principles and values. The university is dedicated to improving the lives of the people of Alabama, the nation and the world through education, research, scholarship and service. That objective is very similar to Regions’ commitment to make life better for its customers, associates, communities and shareholders through shared value.
The two institutions also enjoy longstanding business and philanthropic relationships.
Regions supports several academic programs through endowments, scholarships and internships. The Harbert College of Business is a primary recipient, as well as the College of Forestry Wildlife and Environment and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction – which includes the award-winning Auburn University Rural Studio.
Auburn is honored to host Regions as a way of showing our gratitude for their incredible generosity and to give company representatives a firsthand look at the impact of our relationship throughout campus. Kristen Raiford, corporate relations officer for Auburn Advancement
The Regions-Auburn collaboration goes beyond financial support. Several Regions executives lend their time and leadership by serving on committees and boards, including Greg Gagliano, head of Enterprise Operations; Chris Brasher, modernization and transformation executive; George Buchanan, chief risk officer for Consumer Banking and Wealth Management; and Doug Jackson, chief compliance officer.
This ongoing collaboration and alignment were the impetus of Regions Day on the Plains, according to Kristen Raiford, corporate relations officer for Auburn Advancement.
“Auburn is honored to host Regions as a way of showing our gratitude for their incredible generosity and to give company representatives a firsthand look at the impact of our relationship throughout campus,” Raiford said. “It allows them to interact with various students and faculty and even explore new opportunities to collaborate.”
More than 30 Regions associates participated in the day’s events, which began with a panel discussion. Taffye Benson Clayton, vice president and associate provost for inclusion and diversity, moderated a panel of administrators and leaders who shared Auburn’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, practices and long-term commitments.
Afterward, Regions associates had an opportunity to interact with students from several academic departments. The students were very interested in career opportunities at the bank, for both internships and full-time positions – and they were pleasantly surprised about the varied credentials and majors of the Regions associates.
“Not all bankers are finance majors or MBAs,” said Brett Shaffer, head of Community Relations. “Regions is a large organization with many functions, and our associates have an array of qualifications and backgrounds, which makes it an interesting and diverse place to work.”
A Pipeline From the Plains
Those student conversations continued at the Scholarship Luncheon, which was attended by Regions scholarship recipients, as well as current and future interns.
Lauren O’Connor, a finance major with an accounting minor, attended the luncheon and enjoyed talking to the Regions contingent about her summer internship for Private Wealth Management in Atlanta.
“My experience this past summer at Regions was so much more than I expected,” O’Connor said. “The internship with the Wealth Strategy and Planning team not only prepared me for my future career, but it also helped with my classes this year. I have been able to apply some of the knowledge I gained during my internship to the material I am learning in class.”
O’Connor added that she’s excited to learn about a different aspect of Regions this summer as an intern with the Corporate Banking Group Healthcare Credit Products team in Nashville.
Excellence in Innovation
The next highlight was a tour of the new Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, part of the College of Human Sciences that houses Auburn’s programs for hotel and restaurant management, event management, culinary science and brewing science and operations. The state-of-the-art facility houses a five-star hotel and spa, fine-dining restaurant, food hall and coffee shop – all staffed by students enrolled in the various programs.
I’ve decided that when I go to Auburn in my next life, I’ll be a culinary science major and play football. Those facilities are phenomenal!Andrew Nix, Regions’ Chief Governance Officer
The day wrapped up with a tour of the newly opened Woltosz Football Performance Center. John Cohen, new director of athletics, greeted the group and thanked Regions for the ongoing partnership. Then they were dazzled by the 233,428-square-foot facility, which houses Auburn’s football operations and includes two full-sized, natural-grass outdoor fields, an indoor practice facility and a high-tech strength, conditioning and training area.
Regions’ Chief Governance Officer Andrew Nix, an Auburn alum, said what everyone was thinking: “I’ve decided that when I go to Auburn in my next life, I’ll be a culinary science major and play football. Those facilities are phenomenal!”
The programs and facilities – and inspiring student interactions – left the Regions team with a firm understanding of what Roberts and Abrahams meant by “an expectation of excellence.” Even the crimson-leaning among the group were ready to share an enthusiastic “War Eagle” as the day concluded.
Ok, maybe not. But they – and everyone else – left the Loveliest Village on the Plains impressed and inspired.