Helping people feel accepted wherever they are
Howard Kelly Jr., joined Webster in 2015, and is Vice President, Banking Center Manager of our banking center on Old Dixwell Avenue in Hamden. Since 2018, Howard has been a co-leader of Webster's Black History month celebration—a month-long recognition of the contributions of Black people to our history and culture. It culminated in an afternoon celebration that included art, culture and food.
Q. Tell us about your background.
A. In high school, A lot of my focus had always been on either finance or engineering. Whether it was forecasting a budget for different projects or trying to come up with a proposal for a business plan, I knew I would leave high school with those two options. So when I decided to major in architecture at the University of Hartford, I thought I would be leaving the finance world behind. Fast forward to over a decade later and my journey has brought me full circle to Community Banking. As I look back, having spent a significant amount of my career in banking, I am fortunate to have held multiple roles in the industry. In reflecting on the common theme of each position everything starts and ends with a positive environment for your community.
Q. Why do you think DEI is important?
A. DEI is important because we live in such a complex world. Every day in the banking center, we are exposed to clients who all come from different backgrounds. As a Banking Center Manager, I want to know everything about my clients so I can help them with their banking needs. I also want to be able to tell Webster Bank’s story, because people tend to go to places where they feel accepted no matter whom they are. So, if people in our communities know that we have an initiative dedicated to helping all people within various backgrounds, we will differentiate ourselves from the competition. Leading with the Webster Way and now being an advocate for DEI, I get to share our story when I am out in the community.
Q. How have you implemented the principles of DEI in your role?
A. I have incorporated DEI principles in many areas of what I do every day, whether it's meeting with clients, interviewing job candidates, or even during my financial literacy seminars. DEI is a message that our customers need to hear. You can gain so much by leading the way in showcasing our melting pot of bankers who are here to enhance the lives of all people within our footprint. As Webster continues to grow, so too will our story.