The world of financial services may be filled with numbers and digits,
but all of those plusses, minuses and transactions have one thing at their core: people.
Banks are behind so much of what happens in every corner of our community,
but it’s the people in the banks who make a difference. It’s people who put
those transactions into play and bring those numbers to life, making those transactions
more about relationships than equations.
No one understands that better than these women in banking, each one
of whom has built their career on relationships, connecting businesses and customers to the right
solutions to help them flourish. Going far beyond a spreadsheet to make an impact for their clients,
our featured Women in Business put people first. Their success comes through genuine care for
their customers and determination to help those customers reach their goals. In their world, one plus
one is always a good equation if it means building a relationship that helps make things happen.
Managing Director, Private Bank, J.P. Morgan
When you find out that Colleen Dean earned her degree in fashion merchandising, it’s hard to understand how she’s been at J.P. Morgan for 32 years. After a brief stint in national retail, she followed her love of numbers to the banking industry and never strayed. But it’s not about the numbers. “It’s really about people, helping individuals with whatever their banking issues may be. What’s kept me on the private banking side of it is my interest in people, both our clients and the team I work with.” Dean credits her genuine, authentic desire to help people as one of the ways she’s built relationships. “I believe I’m perceived as a go-to gal. No question is out of line. I’ll try to help with anything,” she explains. “People do business with people they like and people they trust. And for people to trust you, you have to do what you say you’re going to do and be dependable.” Along with that, she believes communication makes a difference. “Never underestimate the power of great communication, which includes listening. The power of your interpersonal skills and relationships. There is no replacement for the personal touch. You’ve got to put your best foot forward every day and smile.” “Don’t take everything so seriously,” she advises. “Be around positive people and laugh. If you can’t do that, maybe you should consider another role. I think you have to have fun at what you’re doing and you have to really enjoy it.”
Vice President, Treasury & Liquidity Sales Officer, Texas Capital Bank
Working with businesses to provide guidance and working capital solutions to improve their processes, Lisa Mochel thrives on helping her customers work more effectively and efficiently. “I love working with businesses and business owners. No two businesses are the same, so it fascinates me to find out why people do what they do.” Mochel got into banking by accident when she accepted a temporary position. But with more than 20 years under her belt, there’s little doubt she’s found her niche. “I’ve had the opportunity to build many relationships over the years. Relationships are something that I treasure. I’m not just interested in doing business; the people I work with often become personal friends. I love helping people.” That sentiment fits in well at Texas Capital Bank. One of the bank’s philosophies is being involved in the community. For its 20th anniversary, the bank staff celebrated by delivering Meals on Wheels. “I feel privileged to be a part of this community.” She credits great mentors as key to building a career. “Find people to bounce things off of and know you’ll get honest feedback. I have a couple of mentors I really rely on. They don’t sugar coat anything and tell me exactly what they think.” Mochel also believes you have to really love what you do. “Figure out where you want to be. Pay your dues and work your way to the top. If you really want something, you have to be patient and you have to work hard for it.”
San Antonio Market President, American Bank
Jennifer Wilkinson pictured herself owning a business and thought that working in banking would give her some perspective. “I thought banking would give me an opportunity to learn about different businesses, different industries, different management styles,” she explains. But when the opportunity came for her to go into business, she realized banking is where she wanted to stay. “Being a banker is fun and being able to work with a lot of different clients keeps me excited to come into work every day.” Her interest in business fuels how she approaches working with her clients at American Bank. “I always take a deep dive and learn about the business as a whole. It’s intriguing to me to learn about the full management team, go through the operations, ask a lot of questions to understand the business.” That in-depth approach helps her find solutions for her customers, even when their need falls outside of banking. “I don’t ever say no. I’ve always believed in finding a solution, so if it’s not something that I’m able to do, or the bank’s not able to do, I’ve never not been able to find some path toward what they’re asking for and some solution.” Tackling challenges is something Wilkinson enjoys. “I’m a glass half-full kind of person. I’ve never dwelled on the negatives. I’ve always seen obstacles as an opportunity to put the puzzle together and solve the problem. I’ve never seen it as a stopping point. It’s how I’ve persevered.”
Vice President, Commercial Lender in Middle Market, Broadway Bank
With commercial banking experience in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, architecture, and professional service, Alexandra Wood enjoys the people behind the industries. “I like knowing the actual owners of the businesses and building relationship and being the person that they call if they need something. She enjoys helping customers grow their business and see them thrive. She considers herself to be a trusted financial partner who gets to know her customers, their businesses and offer what it takes for them to succeed. People are also what brought her to Broadway Bank, and its focus on its female employees. “They’ve made a concerted effort to grow the relationships of the women who work at the bank.” Much of that is through NOW, the bank’s “Network of Women”, an internal organization to empower the women of Broadway Bank, help them learn from each other and grow professionally. “It makes a big difference to know there are people who have your back,” notes Wood. “And that the bank itself has decided that’s important,” she explains. Wood credits having a good mentor for her career success. “That was what really helped me get off the ground,” she explains. Her career advice for others? “The most important things would be persistence, not being afraid to ask for help and to find a good mentor.”
By Dawn Robinette
Photography by David Teran