During Women’s History Month, we sat down with Kristy Farrell, who recently won the Buffalo Business First IDEA, Inclusion Diversity Equity Awareness, Award. She is a source of inspiration to many, and talked with us about her proudest moment at M&T, what a day in her job is like, and her definition of understanding what’s important. Congratulations to Kristy!
Q: Being Director of Diversity & Inclusion sounds pretty interesting. Can you tell us what you do day-to-day in 25 words or less?
A: I try to build upon M&T’s strong culture to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to succeed – both employees and customers. Tactically, I talk to a lot of people, do reporting and data analysis, strategic planning, and individual coaching.
Q: You were recently recognized with the Buffalo Business First IDEA (Inclusion Diversity Equity Awareness) Award. What does it mean to you to be awarded this recognition?
A: I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition. The D&I work has taken a lot of effort (what doesn’t?) but it hasn’t just been me – the successes we’ve seen are a result of so many people’s efforts.
Q: Share with us a recent success or win for M&T Bank that you were proud to be a part of.
A: The launch (although it was all the way back in 2014) of the Diversity Development Program and the re-branding this year to be the Rising Leaders Development Program. The re-branding is important is the RLDP is recognized fully in our suite of programs, with this focused on building a more diverse pipeline of talent. I co-launched the program, and then managed it and advocated for its participants since its inception.
Q: What does working at M&T Bank mean to you?
A: It means working for a company that really cares. When interviewing external candidates, one piece of M&T’s culture they always highlight as what attracted them to M&T is our role in the community. I’m proud to be a part of that organization that focuses on giving back.
Q: What does “understanding what’s important” mean in your day-to-day life?
A: Wow, that’s a big question. To me, it means understanding that everyone has something that is important to them. Whether its learning a new skill, being recognized for a contribution, or being part of something that affects the entire organization. For me, my family will always be what’s most important. My two kids, my husband, and even my dogs. It’s about understanding what’s important to them and helping them achieve their goals.
Q: What does diversity, inclusion, and belonging mean to you?
A: Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging means giving everyone an opportunity to succeed. It’s also about seeking different perspectives (people fascinate me,) inviting people to contribute, and then ensuring they feel valued.
More About Kristy
Kristy’s 29-year tenure at M&T includes roles as a retail branch manager, manager of leadership development, Senior Human Resources business partner and employee experience manager. She currently serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Council. She attended the University of Notre Dame where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting and Finance.
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Diversity & Inclusion Director, M&T Bank