Citigroup Teams With ESGR to Support Guard, Reserve
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
NEW YORK, July 1, 2005 Citigroup, an industry leader in the financial world, made an official declaration of support for the National Guard and Reserve and their role in the nation's defense during a ceremony here June 30.
Pete Dawkins, vice chairman of Citigroup Private Bank, seated, signs a statement of the corporation's support for its Guard and Reserve employees during a June 30 ceremony in New York. Standing directly behind him is Bob Hollingsworth, executive director of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Photo by Donna Miles
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Pete Dawkins, vice chairman of Citigroup Private Bank and a retired Army brigadier general, signed a statement of support for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
The ceremony highlighted a meeting of the Veterans Business Network that honored the National Guard and Reserve for their service and sacrifice. The association includes 2,500 veteran business owners, executives and entrepreneurs nationwide.
Bob Hollingsworth, executive director of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, also presented ESGR's "Above and Beyond Award" to recognize Citicorp's strong commitment to its reserve-component employees.
"We take this very seriously," Dawkins told the group, noting that it represents "a deep commitment at every level throughout the organization" to continue to stand by the company's citizen-soldier employees.
Citigroup already has a solid track record of supporting its Guard and Reserve employees. Army Sgt. Ken Goris, of the 3406th Military Intelligence Detachment, knows firsthand. He's also a Citibank financial center manager. Citibank is part of Citigroup.
When Goris deployed to Kuwait from 2002 to 2003, the company sent him care packages and threw farewell and welcome-home ceremonies. But perhaps most beneficial, he said, was that his employer made up the difference between his military pay and civilian salary so his family wasn't financially strapped while he was gone.
Preparing to deploy to Iraq again on July 10 for another 12 to 18 months of duty, Goris said it's good knowing that his company is behind him. "I feel confident that Citibank is going to support me," he said. "They always have."
Steve Nulty, a regional manager for Citibank, said the company's standing in the financial world gives it special responsibilities. "As the largest financial services company in the world, we should set the standard," he said.
Nulty, who has 12 employees from his region currently deployed, said the attributes Guard and Reserve members bring to the workplace far outweigh any inconvenience an employer may experience during training or deployments.
"It's always a challenge to get talented, motivated, mission-focused people," and that's what these veterans bring," Nulty said.
Supporting Guard and Reserve employees goes beyond protecting their jobs while they're on duty or deployed, as required by law, he said.
"It's more than ensuring that their careers aren't harmed," Nulty said. At Citibank, military service "actually helps their careers," particularly as they move up the ladder into leadership positions within the company, he said.
Dawkins said the critical role the reserve components play in national defense makes it all the more important their employers stand behind them. In many cases, he noted, the Guard and Reserve bring skills not available in sufficient numbers in the active component.
"It's extraordinary what our members of the Guard and Reserve members are doing for us," he said. "The U.S. military can't go to war without them. It's not an A team and a B team - it's our team, all working together."
Dawkins said most people "don't understand or appreciate the level of commitment ... or hard work" that goes into being a citizen-soldier. "This isn't a hobby or part-time pastime. Our military can't function without them," he noted.
"So it's important that we make sure we're doing everything that can conceivably be done for them," Dawkins concluded. It's the right thing to do."
Hollingsworth said Citigroup's efforts "send a strong message to the business community" and serve as a reminder of the need for the community to stand by its men and women in uniform.
"It lets the community know that they care, and that everybody else should step up and do the same," he said.