Our member spotlight this month is on Gamal Alsalahi. Gamal has lived in Vermont for nine years and worked in education and management before leaving his home in Yemen for the US. Since then, he completed a master’s program and began a career in banking. He learned a lot over his time in the financial sector and believes in raising more financial awareness within the BIPOC community
Years in VT: 9 // Industry: Financial services // Company: Citizen’s Bank
Tell us a bit about your background before arriving in VT.
I am a Yemeni Citizen. I lived in Yemen my whole life before coming to Vermont in 2014. I worked as an EFL teacher and an Academic manager in Yemen. In 2014, I was granted the Fulbright Scholarship to do my Master’s Degree at Saint Michael’s College.
What do you enjoy about being a professional in VT?
I love every aspect of banking. It has taught me a lot as a professional of color and a new immigrant. I really enjoy giving back to the community and presenting financial literacy workshops to whoever needs it.
What are some challenges that you’ve faced living in VT?
At first, it was overwhelming because I came from Yemen where people do not really depend on banking to lead their lives. I had to learn a lot and in a short time to be able to get to where I am today. Persistence, patience, and hardwork.
What are you looking forward to within your own career?
I see myself becoming a regional manager and a district manager.
In what ways could the community or state of VT support BIPOC businesses?
I believe that our community along with the state of Vermont should focus on raising financial awareness. Our BIPOC businesses are successful business owners despite the fact that they are not aware of all the financial tools they could use to improve their businesses.
What advice would you have wanted to receive about being BIPOC living in Vermont before arriving?
I wish I knew more about the cost of living in Vermont.