LaSalle & Monroe is the reason I’ve spent the last four years in Chicago. It has been the hub of my life. It’s where I started my first job, was hired by my first manager, created lifelong friendships through the training program at the PrivateBank, and it brought me to people I may not have met otherwise. It launched my career and will allow me start a new chapter in Colorado. LaSalle & Monroe is the reason for all of that. I’ve been able to chase dreams that many employers might not have even considered, let alone supported wholeheartedly. I would not be in Chicago if not for PrivateBank/CIBC at LaSalle & Monroe.
I interned with the PrivateBank office in Michigan. When I came to interview for the full-time training program before my senior year of college, it felt surreal. I remember standing on the corner across the street from 120 South LaSalle and thinking that the Bank looked so impressive with its massive pillars and gold plates. The people I saw coming to and from work inspired me.
I grew up in metro Detroit and went to school in a college town. Moving to a big city opened my eyes to so many different cultures and ways of life that I may not have experienced otherwise. There is a different feeling in the financial district than any other part of Chicago. There is a sense of hard work, of intimidation at times, but of success. That’s what drew me when I started. I had never felt such a sensation as I stared across the street at 120 South LaSalle, down toward the Board of Trade, and up toward the river; it was energizing.
The corner brings back a lot of memories. When I was a credit analyst, I sprinted to work one day from my apartment at State & Erie down LaSalle Street in workout clothes to submit a loan presentation before the 8am loan committee deadline. I was feeling good after submitting on time, and was running home to change clothes for the day when I got the dreaded resubmission notification. I ran back to work, out of breath, this time as people were arriving. Those deadlines caused a bit of anxiety, but everything always worked out.
I remember sitting at the loan committee table for the first time ever. I had worked feverishly on my presentation, but despite my preparation, I was nervous. I sat at the head of the table surrounded by people I have incredible respect for, from all different lines of business at the Bank, hoping I wouldn’t get choked up. I was able to successfully present then and many times after, always knowing that I had support from my managers should I need it while being consistently pushed out of my comfort zone.
When I think of LaSalle & Monroe, I think of some of my best friends in the world. I think of how much we’ve learned and developed. We’ve grown so much personally and professionally, together, along the way. I think about all of the situations I am able to handle, which I never imagined I could. I think about all the fun I’ve had. I remember the days we went to slightly longer lunches than we were supposed to, and all the times we celebrated each other’s life events and accomplishments. I think of all the walks to Starbucks, catty-corner to the Bank, whether to wake up in the morning or decompress in the afternoon. We’ve all been through a lot at this place. Even through the changes that came with an acquisition, we’ve all stayed consistent.
Banking is a commodity—you can get it anywhere. The employees at CIBC are what differentiate this place. They are sincere in caring for their clients and the work that they’re doing. The executives have worked together for years, and the trust between them as a result is clear. The culture is truly unique. I work with people who have previous experience at other financial institutions, and they always tell me, “It doesn’t get better than this—appreciate what you have here.” The people on my team and in my training class set everything apart.
I don’t have many friends who have relationships with their colleagues like I do, that are still so close despite life changes. I don’t have many friends who’ve stayed at their first employer. There is a reason I have: this corner has been the launching pad for my career, my life in Chicago, and my future, whatever it might hold. It is a special place, not only for me, but for many. Thank you, LaSalle & Monroe.
Photography by Michaela Filkin
This story was co-published with REjournals, a Midwest commercial real estate publication.