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Melissa Ganzeveld, national director of client experience (front centre), reconnects with one of CIBC’s banking centre teams.Provided

Marsha Pereira started at CIBC nearly two decades ago as a part-time customer service representative at a branch near her Brampton, Ont., home while she was a university student. That led to a permanent position and a flourishing career that has seen her rise to her current executive-level position.

“I’ve been in maybe eight different positions since I started,” says Pereira, vice-president of workforce transformation and leadership. “I’ve moved from a branch to a back-office role to head office. That career mobility stems from having great opportunities and great leaders who invest in your growth and development.”

And she says her career trajectory is far from unusual. “I am one of many people who’ve started in a very entry level role, as a student, and have moved into a management or executive role at our bank,” Pereira notes.

Melissa Ganzeveld followed a different path, but has also enjoyed opportunity and career growth. She started 10 years ago as a branch manager in a small community in southeastern B.C., and made an effort to reach out and build relationships. “My passion was business development,” says Ganzeveld, national director of client experience. “I loved getting out in the community and meeting people. I was tapped on the shoulder to run business development for our B.C. region, and from there, I was asked to take on that role nationally.”

Her current role is brand new and she has had the opportunity to build a team from the ground up. “My team ensures that our front-line employees – our customer service representatives, financial advisors and banking centre leaders – are thinking about the client experience at every stage, whether it’s at the counter or sitting down in an office with an advisor.”

For her part, Pereira notes that the opportunities she’s had speak to the culture at CIBC. “We’re always looking for talent internally,” she says. “We give people an opportunity to stretch themselves through job shadowing or part-time assignments. We want them to develop in new ways and to chart their own career paths.”

The bank also relies on formal and informal mentoring as well as inhouse training to nurture talent. “I’ve always had a mentor in place,” says Ganzeveld. “I’ve taken a significant number of leadership courses. I encourage my team to take regular learning as well.”

In fact, she not only encourages them, she participates alongside them. “Recently, we took a project management course together,” she says. “We’ve also taken courses on how to make effective presentations and how to present in front of large groups.”

Through her workforce transformation role, Pereira is focused on ensuring that the bank and its employees are well-positioned to succeed in a rapidly changing world. “It’s a long-term commitment to look at the skills on our team today and ask what are the skills we need for the future,” she says. “The bank’s leaders are committed to ensuring that we help our team members acquire the new skills they need so they can build a fulfilling career here.”

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