Vice president and consumer and business banking administrative manager, U.S. Bank Sacramento Main Branch
In the wake of George Floyd’s death in May 2020 and the social unrest and protests against racial injustice across the country, Crystaline Combs, 37, stepped into an unexpected role outside of her regular “day job” as vice president and consumer and business banking administrative manager at the U.S. Bank Sacramento Main Branch to develop a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program for her employer.
Combs realized she could support the company with a “real-time playbook for how leaders at all levels could host meaningful conversations” around diversity, equity and inclusion, and “to develop action plans to make a meaningful impact.”
Combs says she took her experience as a biracial woman and connected it with ideas she gathered from friends, neighbors, and community and business leaders. Within days of sending an email to the head of Consumer and Business Banking, who reports directly to the CEO of U.S. Bank, she was asked to help drive DEI initiatives for the Pacific Northwest region, which includes Sacramento, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Those initiatives include creating toolkits to provide guidance and resources for team meetings on topics such as understanding privilege, allyship and opening dialogue in the workplace.
“Working at a bank is incredibly important and I know the role we play in the community by helping customers build businesses or establish credit, and that’s how we power potential and why I love banking.”
Combs grew up in the rural town of Susanville in Lassen County and got her first job as a part-time in-store banker at the local U.S. Bank branch in her hometown. She worked her way up to get to her position today as vice president overseeing the Sacramento market. With two daughters and a son, Combs says she wants to show her children how to work hard for what they believe in and how to speak up if they have an idea.
“Being a young female leader in an industry that for so long has been led by men, I hope I’m setting an example and paving the way for others,” Combs says. “Working at a bank is incredibly important and I know the role we play in the community by helping customers build businesses or establish credit, and that’s how we power potential and why I love banking.”
Combs also supports volunteerism in the Sacramento area by encouraging colleagues to find volunteer opportunities such as writing letters to foster children, first responders and military, and teaching workforce skills such as resume building and interviewing with nonprofits. Ahead of the presidential election, she helped provide clarity to bank employees about which voting-related activities qualified for paid time off.
“I thought I was the one making a difference, like I’m going to go out and change the world, but this work is really changing me,” Combs says, “and I’m very grateful that I work for a company that has allowed me to go on this journey.”
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