5 execs, 15 tips – Bank of America pros share quick career advice

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This content is presented in partnership with Bank of America.


We love the energy that Bank of America and its employees bring to the community. They’re a huge part of the Charlotte workforce and opportunities are always popping up. It feels like everyone knows someone who works for “The Bank.”

So what does it take to be a successful employee at one of the world’s leading financial institutions? We picked the brains of five Bank of America employees who fulfill important and diverse roles, and found out their keys to career success. Not surprisingly, their advice is valuable for people in any field.

Tracy Kerrins | Managing Director, Global Wholesale Banking and Credit Technology Executive

What do you do?

I lead a team that is responsible for the technology that runs our Wholesale Banking and Credit business. Our global team builds, deploys and maintains all of the applications for the sales, credit, loan and leasing capabilities that support our investment banking, large corporate and commercial bankers and clients.

What advice would you give yourself at the start of your career?

Don’t be afraid to give bad news. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, but waiting or trying to sugar coat the message usually makes it worse. If you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Accept it, admit it, learn from it and move on.

What’s one must-read book, podcast, TED Talk, etc. that’s shaped your career path?

The TED Talk by Reshma Saujani titled Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection really resonated with me. As the executive champion of Bank of America’s Women in Technology and Operations advocacy group and as a mother of three girls, I found her message to be powerful and spot-on!

What’s one productivity hack that keeps you on track for success day-to-day?

Organization can be a super power! I live by my calendar and to-do list so that I can plan ahead and be prepared.  There is a saying that ‘luck favors the prepared.’  I like to say ‘make your own luck and be organized.’

Jose M. Magadan III | Systems and Data Security Specialist, Global Information Security

What do you do?

My role is to look at everything we do to protect the bank and its customers and work with my teammates to find ways to stay ahead of cyber threats. Attackers keep changing their tactics, so we have to adapt as well.

What advice would you give yourself at the start of your career?

Understand that there is no straight path to wherever you’re going. Careers are not linear and you simply won’t have your pathway figured out on day one.

Instead, make sure you develop a network of mentors and understand how they were able to achieve success. Being a ‘sponge’ is not just about improving your skill-set/subject-matter-expertise, but it’s also about understanding career-pathing within your field or organization.

What’s one must-read book, podcast, TED Talk, etc. that’s shaped your career path?

I believe any transitioning veteran should take the time to read Sebastian Junger’s Tribe. The book provides some anthropological research from tribal societies regarding loyalty and sense of purpose.

This book reassured my personal convictions to be in a field that requires extensive teamwork and has a positive impact on society. I take pride in knowing I’m doing something to help secure a family’s financial future.

What’s one productivity hack that keeps you on track for success day-to-day?

I’ve found that exercising before work is a key component to ensuring I have a successful and energized day. The health benefits are pretty obvious, but exercising in the morning ensures I’ve completed a task first thing in the morning and gives me the boost I need to get started on the right foot.

I also extend this into the work day by ensuring I step away from my desk every hour, often to collaborate with a teammate face-to-face. A virtual culture is efficient, but it’s energizing to have that face-to-face engagement with my teammates.

John Jordan | Head of Consumer Academy and Advisor Development

 What do you do?

I’m responsible for all of the onboarding, training and career development programs for 65,000 employees in the Consumer & Small Business Banking Organization. In addition, I’m responsible for the Financial Advisor Development Program for the company.

What advice would you give yourself at the start of your career?  

1) Find people that you want to work with and an organization you believe in, and work becomes easy.

2) Don’t be afraid to take on a big challenge or step outside your comfort zone.

3)  Be patient… sometimes success requires a long road with a lot of bumps and bruises.

What’s one must-read book, podcast, TED Talk, etc. that’s shaped your career path?

Good to Great by Jim Collins

What’s one productivity hack that keeps you on track for success day-to-day?

Block time on the calendar for thinking, prioritizing and planning your activity… be proactive not reactive.

Wyatt Smith | Managing Director, Global Commercial Bank and Market Executive, North and South Carolina

 What do you do?

I’m responsible for the Middle Market segment of the Commercial Bank which serves public and private companies with annual revenues of $50 million to $2 billion.

I lead a sales team in areas of new client acquisition, deepening existing client relationships, and retaining clients through sales, credit, fulfillment and service activities.

What advice would you give yourself at the start of your career?

Be patient. Early in my career, I was very anxious and always wanted to know what was coming next. Next deal, next assignment, next promotion, next pay increase, etc.

What experience teaches you is that if you do everything that is asked of you, and you do it well, “what’s next” will find you.

What’s one must-read book, podcast, TED Talk, etc. that’s shaped your career path?

TED Talk Simon Sinek – 2009 Golden Circle, Start with why…

What’s one productivity hack that keeps you on track for success day-to-day?

Standing and/or walking around during long calls or tasks is very helpful for me. I also hate to admit that we have a mock putting green outside of my office and a quick put or two during the day is often just what the doctor ordered.

Neli Moyo | Vice President, Client Quantitative Analytics Team Lead

What do you do?

I lead a team of analysts that analyze customer behavior and make recommendations on how we can best serve the customer through online and mobile platforms.

For example, we develop mathematical algorithms to determine who to contact for marketing offers, how to identify customers that are in a tight financial situation, and how the bank can help them.

What advice would you give yourself at the start of your career?

Be intellectually curious. Go deep. You’ll be asked to work on many things, learn how things really work, understand the end-to-end process and get to know the people involved.

What’s one must-read book, podcast, TED Talk, etc. that’s shaped your career path?

The TED Talk that shaped my career path is the first TED Talk by Hans Rosling – Gapminder. His ability to tell a story with data was captivating, and it inspired me to do the same in my career.

What’s one productivity hack that keeps you on track for success day-to-day? 

When you get into the office first thing, create a list of what needs to be done that day. Then rank order that list based on what is most important. Periodically reference the list throughout the day to make sure you are getting the key things done. It works!

Ready to put this advice to the test? Check out current job opportunities at Bank of America and all around the city.

Note: This content was co-created with our partner, Bank of America. 

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