Tech

Beyond Banking: Capital One’s Commitment to Elevating Black Tech Leaders And Small Businesses

Beyond Banking: Capital One’s Commitment to Elevating Black Tech Leaders And Small Businesses

Prominent industry leaders are increasingly expected to embody customer ideals and represent the communities they serve. This expectation has even some of the biggest tech giants shook, but Capital One seems to be fearlessly embracing this responsibility with a sense of urgency. This is precisely what propelled Emmanuel Offiong, VP and CTO of Business Bank Engineering, to join Capital One after he saw the company’s deeply rooted commitment to diversifying their teams and empowering small businesses. 

“What struck me the most was meeting leaders who looked like me in even more senior roles than the one I was being recruited for,” Emmanuel recalled about his interview process with Capital One. 

This was crucial for Emmanuel who serves as a member of the mentor network for Level Up Ventures, a mission-driven investment firm founded by the Hearst Corporation that aims to close the wealth gap by investing in high-growth Black and Latino-founded startups. He also serves on the board of WHEDCO, a Bronx-based community development organization focused on giving residents access to resources that create thriving and sustainable neighborhoods.

“Capital One is on a mission to change banking for good,” Emmanuel shared. “In a lot of places I’ve worked, the mission statement is just that. It’s a statement with no bite behind it… but we are driven to actually change banking for good and it starts at the very top with our CEO and Founder Rich Fairbank. He’s built an amazing company with a culture and talent who actually believe in driving that mission forward.”

Before joining Capital One, Emmanuel was dismayed by the slow pace of change within large organizations. His experience at Capital One has been a stark contrast as he noticed a culture of “restlessness” when it came to diversifying their teams and implementing new ideas. 

“At Capital One, I feel there is so much room to grow,” Emmanuel explained. “We have a restlessness about us. We are not satisfied.”

Emmanuel explains that this restlessness is what drives some of Capital One’s most successful hiring practices. 

“First, Capital One is really good at proactively and intentionally sourcing talent,” he continued. “Another aspect is our flexible work policies. I know the pandemic forced that on most organizations, but we have options such as part-time work that I haven’t seen in a lot of tech organizations.” 

This uncommon practice means that part-time Capital One associates can grow their talents within the company while still pursuing their own businesses and ideas. 

“The beauty of technology is that you can create a prototype, test your idea and continue your 9-to-5,” Emmanuel explained. “I think the best folks that I’ve seen do this are folks that love to continuously learn. You don’t have to give up what you’re doing day-to-day to actually learn and put new things into play.”

Instead of rushing to quit a 9-to-5, Emmanuel hopes tech professionals will see their careers as an opportunity to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to large companies that need passionate problem solvers.

“The best entrepreneurs are the ones who are open-minded, constantly learning, staying abreast of industry trends and where their industries are going,” He continued. “Stay informed. Stay engaged. Stay connected to your community and volunteer in your local community… I would say apply that to your everyday role or your entrepreneurial journey.”

Today, Emmanuel uses his role within a large corporation like Capital One as a way to champion the small businesses and entrepreneurs that drive growth in their own communities.

Small Businesses make up over 95% of the US economy,” Emmanuel stated. “If we don’t invest in entrepreneurs and small businesses, we’re missing opportunities to invest in our communities. Here at Capital One, we have an extensive Pro Bono program where we commit our most valuable assets– our talent– to drive social change within our communities. As the accountable executive for Tech Pro Bono, I lead the teams that volunteer for technology projects across nonprofits, startups and small businesses. This is the most fulfilling part of my job as I get to see the incredible impact that technology can have in helping organizations deliver on their respective missions and ultimately drive change within our communities.” 

With dedicated, community-oriented leaders like Emmanuel Offiong leading the charge, a brighter, more inclusive future for the tech industry is within reach, as long as key players like Capital One remain committed to seeking innovative, lasting solutions amidst the ongoing technological revolution. Learn more about our Capital One’s Pro Bono program here.



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