Image of Great Western Bank employee Maryam

Strength in Cultural Diversity—Faces of GWB: Maryam

Each year, World Day for Cultural Diversity is honored in May. This day serves to recognize all cultures, deepen the understanding around those cultures, and better identify the values of cultural diversity. 
Within Great Western Bank, we celebrate the cultural diversity of our employees throughout the year but are using the month of May to honor four of our own. As we look to their individual stories, we see a path carved with cultural richness, stories of acculturation and an introspective look at their uniquely individualized journeys.

Read Maryam’s story: 

Maryam, a GWB employee of three years, moved to the U.S. from Afghanistan at the age of 19 for a single but important purpose – survival. The environment Maryam was indoctrinated into in Afghanistan taught her that when you leave your home, there is a 50% likelihood you will not return safely. As a measure to safeguard their family, Maryam’s parents would never travel in public together. It was her father’s college friend that encouraged them to move to the U.S. The friend had been living in Lincoln, Nebraska for 20 years and had accredited the community as nice, with affordable real estate. 
Once the decision was made to leave, Maryam and her family flew from Afghanistan to Chicago. From Chicago they were to take a connecting flight to Lincoln but unfortunately missed the connection. It was the kindness of a stranger that provided solace when the family was unsure how to proceed and make it to their destination. 
A former American army veteran had noticed Maryam’s family and approached them with an offer to help. The veteran assisted in rebooking their flight, as well as securing all necessary accommodations. He even left the family with his cell phone number in case they would need further assistance. Maryam recalls this stranger’s expression of kindness as a notable welcome into the U.S. Since moving here, Maryam has overcome many obstacles. 
Not only is she fluent in Farsi and Pasto, she also learned English and passed the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) test, as admission to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As a declaration of independence, Maryam’s acknowledgement of that measure was accomplished when she passed her driver’s test. With regards to Great Western Bank, Maryam enjoys the memory of her branch celebrating Ramadan with her. For Eid al-Fitr, Maryam brought in homemade foods, traditional of the celebration, and shared with her team—further bridging cultural understanding. 
Great Western Bank supports a rich tapestry of cultural diversity. We recognize the differences of our employees and support the unique talents and backgrounds each brings to their work environments. From the diverse contributions of our employees, we are strengthened together. 

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