Take it from Janeth Medina Larios: “If you’re passionate about social justice and leadership, Mills is the college for you.” Janeth’s story shows how Mills can provide a shy, undocumented, first-generation student with a springboard into a career that combines corporate leadership with social and environmental advocacy.
As vice president for corporate social responsibility, Janeth plays a key role in Bank of the West’s efforts to make a positive impact on society. In 2020, she became the bank’s community ambassador to Earth Island Institute, working on a program for young environmental leaders. She volunteers with several nonprofit organizations—including Latinos in Finance, where she has served as president and treasurer—that seek to empower Latinx people.
Growing up, Janeth never envisioned that she’d become a leader in her community—let alone the financial world. “I never imagined I would sit on panels or give keynote speeches today,” she says.
Born in Mexico, Janeth emigrated to the United States as a child with her parents, who worked on farms near Bakersfield, California. In high school, a teacher recommended Mills as a great college for women leaders, and Janeth liked the one-on-one attention the College offered. She says, “I am so happy I made the decision to attend. I grew so much personally and as a leader, and I met some of the most inspirational people in my life during my time at Mills.”
While enrolled in the College’s accelerated BA/MBA program, Janeth won a prestigious scholarship from the Financial Women of San Francisco. Her acceptance speech at an awards event caught the attention of a Bank of the West executive, who offered her a position as an analyst. She began work as soon as she graduated and quickly rose through the ranks.
“At Mills, I learned to be a strong advocate for myself and the communities I love and care about. I also learned to keep people at the center of everything I do,” she says. “This learning has served me well in my career journey and my social movement journey.”