Training APEX Awards Best Practice: Huntington National Bank’s High-Potential Diverse Talent Development Programs

The organization created its Luminate and Transformations programs to develop and progress diverse top talent in a more efficient and intentional manner and in a way that is aligned with Huntington National Bank’s vision and values.

APEX Awards

Huntington National Bank identified succession planning and development of top talent as high-priority items within the organization, with a specific focus on increased development of diverse colleagues to fill successor positions. As such, the organization created several programs to develop and progress diverse top talent in a more efficient and intentional manner and in a way that is aligned with Huntington National Bank’s vision and values. Two of these programs are Luminate and Transformations.

Program Details

Those diverse colleagues who have been identified in the succession talent planning process are selected to participate in the Luminate and/or Transformations programs. Once colleagues are identified, the participant list is verified with the executive leadership team (ELT), Level 3 leaders, and HR partners. To further support their development, managers are invited to attend information sessions to learn more about what their colleagues will be learning to support their growth and development.

Luminate is an enterprise talent cohort that currently serves 74 ethnically diverse colleagues. It  has four primary overarching goals:

  1. Broaden impact, allowing more ethnically diverse colleagues to receive opportunities to develop
  2. Provide a differentiated experience to intentionally develop ethnically diverse colleagues
  3. Build relationships between ethnically diverse high-potential colleagues at all levels
  4. Increase the exposure of ethnically diverse high-potential colleagues to senior leaders and the executive leadership team

These objectives are met through specific virtual learning opportunities, including:

  • Transferable Skills Workshop
  • Sponsor Programs
  • Talent Advocate
  • Networking Events
  • Psychological Safety in the Workplace
  • Imposter Syndrome—Telling Your Story and Building Your Influence
  • Segment Spotlight Series

The Segment Spotlight Series covers such topics as “Promote Meaningful Career Conversations,” “Provide an Enterprise View,” “Insights into Hot Jobs,” “Sharing Colleague Career Journeys and Experiences,” and “Address the Feedback: “What Career Opportunities Are Available to Me?”

Transformations is an enterprise talent cohort of 23 colleagues. It is specifically designed to equip women with the capabilities, exposure, networks, and tools needed to elevate them to the executive level at Huntington National Bank. Program objectives include:

  • Increase the number of high-quality female successors
  • Increase the number of promotions of women in middle, senior, and executive management
  • Increase readiness levels by increasing capabilities of executive female talent
  • Close the leadership gap between men and women

Transformations provides virtual training in:

  • Leadership Styles
  • Building an Executive Presence
  • Building Your Brand
  • Setting Next-Level Goals

As part of this program, individuals are paired with members of the bank’s ELT, with an expectation of regular meetings. This not only provides the participants with exposure and mentoring opportunities, it also provides the ELT with insight into top talent, an understanding of career aspirations, knowledge of colleague experience and strengths, etc. To date, 40 program participants have been paired with 12 ELT members with an average of three meetings, resulting in more than 144 one-on-one interactions with the ELT to build insights for talent reviews.

In addition, quarterly newsletters go to all managers of participants with ideas on how they can continue to support top talent and reinforce the current competency focus.


One hundred percent of the participants rated their experience in these programs as excellent to very good, with 92.5 percent having aligned to succession plans.

BAI, a third party, reviewed the organization’s trends and data and showed that Huntington National Bank has a 3.9 percent turnover rate for high performers, compared to 5.7 percent the previous year and below the industry median of 5.4 percent. Year over year, this resulted in a 31.2 percent decrease in turnover for high-potential colleagues during COVID-19.

Furthermore, the bank’s combined middle, senior, and executive management levels currently are 45 percent diverse.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.