Citigroup CEO Mike Corbat sits down with Farjana Rohman, Citi Vice President – Instant Payments Product Manager, to discuss the challenges of being a state school educated, young woman of color in what is historically a feeder-career for the Ivy League.
Farjana Rohman, a Bangladeshi-American, grew up in a close-knit, Muslim family in the New York City boroughs outside of Manhattan where she attended Brooklyn College. Ten years into her career in finance, an industry dominated by Ivy League degrees, she still frequently feels like an outsider.
“It took a while for me to get to that point where I would even be able to voice my opinion because it is very different from others,” said Rohman. But she now realizes that having a different perspective is not a bad thing.
“When you get a group in a room that has a particular view and that view becomes concentrated, you’re not going to make the best decisions,” said Mike Corbat, CEO of Citi, who emphasizes and celebrates the diversity of experiences and backgrounds at the company.
As the Product Manager for Instant Payments at Citi, Rohman also feels that her distinct experience has enriched her work. She sees herself as someone who understands old-world, traditional thinking, but who also “gets” her millennial peers ― serving as a bridge between cultures and generations.
“For me, it’s OK that I don’t 100 percent fit in,” she said. “And I do think that’s the value that I add: my different perspectives from straddling different worlds.”
CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™, the largest CEO-led business coalition to advance Diversity & Inclusion in the US, brought Corbat and Rohman together to confront and address the diversity and inclusion challenges facing the modern workplace. Corbat, along with more than 500 CEOs, have pledged to create a trusting work environment where diverse perspectives are welcomed, employees can openly discuss diversity and inclusion topics, and an ongoing dialogue about different experiences and perspectives are encouraged. Watch the video above, sponsored by PwC, to see Rohman and Corbat discuss the importance of bringing together people from different backgrounds and creating a corporate culture at Citi that will retain diverse talent.
“Our people really matter,” Corbat said, “and to our people, it really matters what the company stands for.”