African American Segment Leader, Wells Fargo
MY GREATEST STRENGTH
I remain calm in conflict and am poised under pressure, which allows me to take a step back, assess the situation, create a plan of action, and execute. This is a benefit, because I maintain focus on the objective, redirect energy into finding a solution, and maintain great relationships.
My niece Brianna. I have a very close relationship with her, and we talk a lot about her future and decisions she’s making. I aspire to be a personally meaningful example of someone that she can look to for knowledge and insights as she’s charting her own path in life.
HOW I MOTIVATE OTHERS
I work to understand what they’re passionate about, what their strengths are, and connect that to business opportunities. I am huge believer in coaching by being a sounding board and thought partner, and offering honest feedback, praise, and encouragement for efforts and results.
OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE
Financial empowerment and advocacy. Much has been documented about the African-American community’s increasing buying power juxtaposed with declining wealth. We have tremendous economic power and influence that doesn’t always make its way back to our communities and our own pockets. Through a combination of education and better decision making, we have an opportunity to harness that power and move increasingly along the continuum from being spenders to savers to owners to investors to philanthropists, and claim more of an ownership stake in securing our financial future.
I’m blessed to be in a role and work for a company that allows me to give back every day by working with national partnerships and community organizations to provide financial education and guidance to the African-American community. This year, we created a national tour of The Kinsey Collection, showcasing African-American art and history. Additionally, I’m the board chair for KIPP Charlotte, a free open enrollment college preparatory charter school. I’ve served on the board for nearly six years in several capacities and have mentored two students at the school because I believe strongly in our promise to open up a new future for our students by getting them to and through college.
All of my history, experiences, and knowledge combine to give me a unique perspective. I have both a right and a responsibility to own my voice and use it responsibly, generously, and unapologetically.
To be fully transparent, it isn’t easy to do. With a busy travel schedule, I make it a priority to take time in the morning for my personal devotion and exercise, which helps set the tone for the day. My husband and I plan two “meaningful” vacations a year and a few long weekends to get away and recharge.
I have enjoyed those times in my life and career when I’ve had to step up and take on something completely new. I love immersing myself in learning something new and figuring out a way to create and add value.
First, be excellent at what you do. Make sure you know your company beyond your role and department. You should be able to articulate the brand vision and mission. Get to know the folks in the finance, HR, and corporate communications groups. Understand the key metrics, and how the organization makes money and makes an impact in the community. Also, raise your hand to get involved.