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Hire for the future, says M&T bank chief diversity officer


When the big corporate decisions are made, who do you want sitting around the table? Glenn Jackson says he wants as diverse a group as possible, a group representative of M&T Bank's customers.

Jackson is the bank's chief diversity officer. He spoke Wednesday night to the local Startup Grind Chapter at the Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The bank has 17,000 employees across an increasingly large share of the country and constantly hires.

Jackson said human resources' hiring process has changed and the pool of groups through which hiring takes place has changed. What has changed for Jackson is the community and what's going on here.

"Ten to 15 years ago, it was tough to draw people. We had declining population. Where were the opportunities for young people? Where were the opportunities for all people?" Jackson said. "I think at this point now, when you look at the energy, you look at the renaissance, you look at the investment that's going on in Buffalo, we now have sort of the ability to leverage that to make sure we're attracting the best talent. This is nothing more than about talent."

Jackson said the talent pool is larger because the bank reaches out more and to groups which weren't traditionally considered for hiring. He said that is why M&T spends money and effort on elementary and high schools around here, because it improves the pool moving up through the educational system toward the work world.

"This is a societal thing that's going on right now. To me, it's so exciting to be part of it because you can look back and say, 'Yeah, that's really good. I can look now and say it's better and I can look out and say it has to be," Jackson said. "Demographics are not going to shift and go back the other way. We know. You can project out what you're going to see. At the end of the day, you have to be hiring for the future, not the past."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.