Inspiration from Capital One: Week 3 of the WLA and Generation Universal Banker Program

Students walked in quickly Thursday morning to their third week of the WLA and Generation Universal Banker ProgramInspiring the students each day continues to be a clear goal of the class. Each video has been something to inspire the future bankers. This time, the class had to write to provide sage advice to students.

“You can do anything,” one student wrote.

Another student’s advice was, “Don’t be the gazelle, be the lion.”



Antoni, their instructor, asked students up to the front of the room to role-play various customer service scenarios. This allowed the class the opportunity to share and learn from each other. From credit card issues to missing pin numbers – students saw a variety of customer issues and ways to manage each situation on a phone call, including ways to manage their own actions.


Meeting a Future Employer


WLA member and sponsor, Capital One representative Ryan Dougherty also shared his experience with students. Dougherty, a twelve-year employee, spoke to the bank’s initiative to be a digital-first bank with a goal of changing banking for good. With financial anxiety at an all-time high, Capital One prides itself on helping people build  better relationships with money. He provided the following advice:

“To effectively lead others you need to effectively lead yourself.” He urged students to always be a positive contributor where ever they had an opportunity to do so.

Ryan speaking to students about his experiences at Capital One.

The future bankers then had Q&A with Dougherty . Ranging from  challenges that new employees might face, to how often employees can volunteer in their community through Capital One.

Upon departure, Dougherty shared his feedback about the Universal Banker Program students. “There is a great crew in there. They have such great energy. There is lots of passion in the room.”


Teacher Talk


Antoni shared classroom progress with the group: A few students were headed to interviews and several have more confidence after returning from interviews.

“I love where we are going,”

Antoni reflected on the feeling of the classroom and how suddenly, it seemed more quiet and thoughtful. “People are really focused on the work that we’re doing,” he said. “We’re starting to see them take the work home and you can tell who is. They present in a practiced manner, which is encouraging the other students to follow suit.”

Student Spotlight: Justice

A week ago, Justice walked into his first interview in jeans and a t-shirt. Now, he’s a completely different person. As Antoni shared, he’s one of the students the others look towards. 

Justice is quiet and exhausted but with every right to be so.  Currently, he works from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday every week and then comes to class. On breaks and before class starts, you can see him studying. A clear go-getter with drive, Justice believes this program will help fulfill his dreams.

“I wanted to change. To better myself. I honestly didn’t know anything about banking.  I saw this as an opportunity to start a career.”

He did research before applying to the program and was drawn to banking because it gave him the means to help people- something he is passionate about. He found the program through Jared, another student who is a long-time friend of his.

“This is going great. It’s impacting myself and my fellow student’s lives. It’s giving us the opportunity to change for the better and to start a career. I believe in the three weeks so far we’ve made progress- we’ve grown comfortable within ourselves and grown confident in ourselves and our classmates. We’re learning to think with an open mind.”

In the next year, Justice plans on being at a job where he gets to use the skills he learned in the Universal Banker Program. 

This blog is part of a series that will feature the first class of students to graduate from the WLA and Generation Universal Banker Program. Come back each week for an update on how the class is going, along with highlights. Read last week’s recap by clicking here.

If you and your organization are interested in creating impactful programming for the Wilmington community, Click here to learn more about joining WLA.


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