What role have coaches and mentors played in your life, and how did you go about choosing your coaches and mentors?
I’ve been fortunate to have formal and informal mentors throughout my life. Early in my career, I benefitted from a variety of individuals whose perspectives were invaluable to helping me develop as a professional. Since that time, a broader group of colleagues who provide candid feedback, both personally and professionally, has lead me to expand who I consider a mentor. A mentor doesn’t always need to be from your industry, and I find that good advice comes from a variety of people, especially when their perspective may be anchored in a different background. This has enabled me to expand my view of the horizon, while it has also helped to narrow my focus when it was needed.
President and CEO Central Florida Division
How has networking impacted your career path?
I have been an avid networker since I started my career in banking. In many cases, this discipline was not necessarily to drive my own business, but rather to find out how I could help people throughout my network. Early on in my career one of my mentors taught me that helping others first professionally, and doing so genuinely, will ultimately lead to those in my network wanting to reciprocate. This has become an integral part of my DNA, and I’m proud that this mentality is also evident in how teammates at SunTrust look to proactively collaborate, internally and externally. I’ve found that this approach does create a positive ripple effect that can impact others and our community in a valuable way.
What involvement have you engaged in the local community that you found helpful for self -development or helping others grow?
My volunteer work with the homeless population in Atlanta was particularly rewarding to me, as you could see how impactful our collective efforts were to each individual we served, one at a time. My time serving with Safe House Outreach shaped how I saw our community, helped to diversify my community involvement, taught my children the importance of giving back, and enabled me to engage in a more substantive discussion with my clients about their company’s role in our community. I believe that volunteering for a cause that aligns to your values is an important way for each of us to stay grounded and is something I promote to my team.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you would like to share with individuals who are trying to advance into a position like the one you currently hold?
In my view, there is no set roadmap today to obtaining a leadership position in Corporate America. However, attitude is everything in how you approach your work. Persistence, effort, a good attitude and being a good team player will prove to be very helpful to advancing your career. Personally, I have had several different jobs and the opportunity to work for some great people at SunTrust. Being given a new opportunity is a new chance to shine, and I have never viewed a new role as anything less than a chance for making an impact in an area where a new perspective is needed. I try to be a sponge and learn as much as I can about everything I can and then distill what I learn earlier in the new role into several critical tools to do that job well. The goal is to always have a view on how I can expand my knowledge in order to first always improve how I do my current job, but then how I can expand my value for SunTrust beyond my current role.
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