You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who likes Mondays more than Jasmyn Stovall.
“I look forward to walking in the room to see everyone in class,” she said. “We always talk about what happened during our weekends. I’ve found some really great relationships connecting with my peers.”
Those connections are born at the Vasey Academy, a mentoring and networking resource for underrepresented students at the University of Missouri’s Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business. All Vasey scholars receive a $1,000 non-renewable scholarship and access to other scholarship opportunities.
For the past two years, Regions Bank has supported the Vasey Academy through financial contributions and through volunteerism from associates like Todd Hovermale.
“I first met the Vasey scholars when my teammate, Eric Madkins, invited me to tell my career story at a field trip,” said Hovermale, Commercial Banking leader for Regions in St. Louis. “I was amazed they found it interesting.”
“The Vasey Scholars are smart and hungry. Like all of us, they want to join organizations where their skills, creativity and contributions are appreciated.”
Todd Hovermale, Commercial Banking leader for Regions in St. Louis.
Hovermale was equally interested in what the students were doing. First, he started mentoring. Then, he joined Vasey Academy’s board of directors.
“The Vasey Scholars are smart and hungry,” he said. “Like all of us, they want to join organizations where their skills, creativity and contributions are appreciated.”
Leilani Tiefenthaler understands.
“Vasey has been a blessing to me,” said the program’s senior Inclusion, Diversity and Equity coordinator. “These students are all smart, capable and so fun-loving that I just constantly want to be around them.”
Experiential learning is a key aspect of empowering Stovall and her fellow scholars to become business leaders.
“As a college student who had never left home, I wanted to be surrounded by experiences,” explained Stovall.
So, she and her classmates traveled to Regions’ St. Louis regional headquarters late last year. There, they met with current-day pros for career exploration, break-out sessions and networking. Plus a financial education session on credit. And more.
“I hadn’t even considered finance as a career option, but I’m more open to that idea now. Meeting everyone exceeded my expectations; it was one of the best experiences.”
“I had never been on a corporate trip prior to this one,” said Stovall. “I hadn’t even considered finance as a career option, but I’m more open to that idea now. Meeting everyone exceeded my expectations; it was one of the best experiences.”
Hovermale said Stovall’s takeaway aligned with the ‘why’ of hosting the trip.
“I’ve found many students don’t clearly understand the numerous possibilities of a career in banking,” he said. “Having the Vasey Scholars spend the day with our Regions St. Louis team helped many of them see those possibilities. We were able to answer their questions about financial careers, what to expect on the job and to help them understand the importance and power of networking.”
For Stovall, the day resonated on an even deeper level, too.
“Sometimes, it can feel hard for minorities to find their place in business,” she said. “Vasey provides an experience that you’ll be able to carry with you wherever you go … and companies like Regions that invest in us show us that we are capable of achieving success. Coming to Regions and seeing how people are so happy in their jobs and have progressed in their jobs shows us what we can do. It was inspiration we brought back with us.”
Two more Regions associates share their Vasey experience:
The Vasey field trip left also left a lasting impression on bank associates. Srijesh Panth, a portfolio manager with Regions’ Government and Institutional Banking team, and Teos Lang, a financial relationship consultant, helped plan the session.
“I wanted to help because these types of experiences were unavailable to me when I was in college,” said Panth. “Teos and I wanted to make sure the students had a positive and fruitful experience … I am glad the students got a lot out of it. Some of them had been considering banking careers, but most had not, so it was nice to offer them a snapshot into what we do.”
“There were lots of amazing questions asked during the breakout sessions, some that even stumped us” added Lang. “Being there for the scholars and providing time dedicated to their questions, concerns and insights was so worth it. It’s the true meaning of what Regions stands for, and that’s advice, guidance and education. It made me proud of Regions as a company.