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Author: Natalie Laseter | 4 Minute Read   

Santander’s leaders of tomorrow are preparing for their future now. 

Each year, young professionals from across Santander’s global footprint are tapped to be part of the company’s Young Leaders Program. The nine-month program provides leadership training with instruction in traditional topics like business and technology, as well as in-demand skills like design thinking and emotional intelligence. Throughout the program, participants collaborate with peers from across the world, with the opportunity to connect in-person at the culmination of the program at Santander’s global headquarters, Ciudad Santander, in Madrid.   

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Five Santander US employees who had the opportunity to be part of the Young Leaders program in 2022 shared their experiences and what they gained from the program:

headshot of Mayola Leal
  • Mayola Leal
  • Sr. Associate, Business Control & Risk Management SC USA, Business Control Office, Santander Consumer

What was the best thing you learned through Young Leaders? 

What separated the Young Leaders program from other leadership programs I’ve participated in was the introduction of emotional intelligence as a key area of focus for leaders. The pandemic has shown us how important it is for leaders to be in touch with the emotional needs of employees and that we can’t neglect this as an important leadership quality. 

What did it mean to you to be selected as a Young Leader? 

Being selected for Young Leaders gave me a confidence boost. While in the program, I was honored with the Outstanding Leadership award, which is given only to the top 15 participants, though I credit my Young Leader peers for helping me get there. I couldn’t feel more humbled, proud, and grateful. 

How do you feel about Santander’s investment in your growth and development? 

I truly feel that Santander believes in me and wants to see me excel and grow within the organization.  

headshot of MAGDIEL NARVAEZ
  • Peter McCarthy
  • Manager, End User Support Infrastructure Technology, Santander Technology USA 

What was the best thing you learned through Young Leaders? 

To recognize that failure is not only OK, but important for growth, and that it can be an expected outcome of any new undertaking. We must position ourselves to fail constructively to reap the benefits of what can be learned.  

How do you feel about Santander’s investment in your growth and development?  

Santander is truly committed to my growth. The program was a horizon-broadening experience that expanded my knowledge in areas like environmental and social governance (ESG), corporate culture, and more. It speaks volumes about the future of the company and its investment in employees.  

What impact has the program had on your career already? 

The connection to colleagues in other countries opens the doors for the cross-pollination of ideas and collaboration that will benefit our work and, most importantly, our customers.  

headshot of MAGDIEL NARVAEZ
  • Danielle Ma
  • Manager, Analytics, Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL) Loss Forecasting, Santander Consumer 

What was the best thing you learned through Young Leaders? 

The program is a like an entry-level MBA program, with amazing lectures on topics ranging from using the metaverse to connect globally to how to create a safe environment where team members feel comfortable speaking up. The new ideas gained through the program now benefit my day-to-day work.    

How do you feel about Santander’s investment in your growth and development? 

At Santander, what you put into your growth and development is what you get out of it. That results in a sense of fairness to how employees develop and grow within Santander, as opposed to other companies with more rigidly defined career tracks.   

What impact has the program had on your career already? 

I’ve gotten to share my knowledge with our leadership team, and it’s made an impact on how we manage young talent. We now incorporate social and emotional intelligence into how we work with young talent and help them prosper.    

headshot of MAGDIEL NARVAEZ
  • Jamie A. Verastegui
  • Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Director, Compliance, Banco Santander International of Miami 

What was the best thing you learned through Young Leaders?  

I was able to acquire a deeper knowledge of leadership and management. I also learned about new emerging technologies in the financial industry, such as digital transformation, FinTech, etc., and how they are changing the way banking is conceived, planned, and performed. 

What impact has the program had on your career already?  

It’s had a real impact since coming back from the program’s closure in Madrid: I was promoted as Director of BSA/OFAC at BSI. 

What was the coolest part of your experience?  

Meeting new people, expanding my network, visiting Ciudad Santander. It was an astonishing experience. 

headshot of MAGDIEL NARVAEZ
  • Shameika Burke
  • Associate Director, Business Control & Risk Management, Santander Bank

What was the best thing you learned through Young Leaders?

I found the self-leadership session to be thought-provoking; it left me reflecting on my own self-awareness and self-management. I was able identify things in both my personal and professional life that were not aligned to my core values and purpose and now I am more intentional in setting boundaries.

How do you feel about Santander’s investment in your growth and development?

I feel honored to be part of an organization committed to deploying the necessary resources and time to retain and develop talent. Santander's investment in my personal growth serves as a reminder that I have the potential to have a fulfilling and successful career.

What impact has the program had on your career already?

My professional network is my greatest asset and the program has given me the opportunity to connect and build relationships with senior leaders across the bank who are vested in providing career guidance and fostering opportunities to further my development and growth within the organization.

Interested in joining us at Santander?

On our Careers page, you can find job openings across Santander’s U.S. footprint. You can also sign up for our Talent Community and receive notifications when a position that suits your interest and skills comes available.  

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