As head of Private Wealth Management at Regions, Leslie Carter-Prall’s day job involves managing the business that helps individual clients invest and protect their financial assets. It’s important work that is vital to Regions’ customers and to the success of the bank.
But Carter-Prall does not live in a bubble. She understands well that many, if not most, people in her Indianapolis, Indiana, community—as well as communities throughout the bank’s footprint—do not have the advantages that many of her clients have.
And she’s committed to do her part to help close that wealth gap.
Carter-Prall has just completed her first term as Treasurer for the national board of directors for Jobs for America’s Graduates (or JAG).
JAG is a state-based national nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping young people in school through graduation and providing work-based learning experiences that lead to career advancement or post-secondary education opportunities.
Since it was formed in 1981, JAG has helped more than 76,000 youths graduate high school, pursue higher education opportunities and secure quality entry-level jobs.
Carter-Prall has served on the board of directors for the national organization for five years, in the impressive company of 17 state governors and a number of members of Congress.
And she is a passionate advocate.
“JAG aligns with all three of Regions’ community engagement strategic priorities of economic and community development, education and workforce readiness, and financial wellness,” she said. “And it’s an excellent example of shared value.”
But what makes this organization so special for Carter-Prall is the meaningful impact JAG has on the lives and futures of students who participate. She eagerly shares impressive statistics about the positive influence on participants.
“JAG students achieved a 97 percent high-school graduation rate in 2020—and the national graduation rate is 84 percent,” said Carter-Prall. “Furthermore, JAG serves the lowest performing 20 to 40 percent of the high school population, so we reach students who need help most.”
Additionally, JAG graduates are 230 percent more likely to be employed full-time their non-JAG peers, and JAG graduates are twice as likely to pursue a postsecondary education as their non-JAG peers.
“These compelling results speak to the quality of the JAG programs, the way JAG executes against their priorities, and how JAG makes the most of corporate, community and individual support,” said Carter-Prall.
The other special component of her relationship with JAG is how Carter-Prall is able to use her unique skills and talents to affect meaningful change in the organization.
“My finance background, as well as my experiences with board governance and leadership help with knowing where my strengths can support staff and fellow board leaders,” she said. “Navigating the current operating environment has demanded a great deal of change management, which is another way I have been able to add value.”
Carter-Prall has also been a vital liaison between JAG and Regions Bank and Regions Foundation. Regions Bank is a key corporate sponsor and the bank and the Foundation have provided financial support, including a recent $130,000 grant from the Regions Foundation supporting the “Equality of Opportunity and Outcomes” Plan.
“JAG is a valuable nonprofit partner for Regions,” said, Brett Shaffer, head of Community Relations. “The work they do to create an environment for success for young people across the country aligns with us strategically and furthers our goal of inclusive prosperity.
“An added bonus is that that the culture and values of our two organizations are very similar, which enables us solve problems together collaboratively,” Shaffer said. “I’m so happy Leslie represents Regions Bank on the national board—especially putting her business acumen and experience to work as treasurer.”
Shaffer and Carter-Prall agree that right now is a pivotal time for the organization. “The current labor environment and economic landscape highlight more than ever before why JAG’s workforce development mission is so important and why support is so critical,” Carter-Prall said.
“I’m most excited about the progress over the past 18 months to position JAG for the future. We now have even more ways and are in fact reaching more youth than ever before through virtual, as well as in-person, experiences,” she added.
When asked about advice for others looking to find an organization to affiliate with, where they can contribute in a meaningful way, Carter-Prall shared her philosophy.
“I always advise others to follow your passions and get involved in things you know you are going to enjoy and be invested in, because we only have so much time and energy to lend,” she said. “We must make it count and be purposeful. My parents and grandparents were all educators, so I have always had a passion for impacting youth in those important developing years so they can be set up for success. JAG was a perfect match for me.”
Interested in becoming involved in JAG? Besides Leslie Carter-Prall’s national board service, several other Regions Bank associates are involved in the state-level organizations. Click here for more information.