Company & Location
Cooperative Business Services
Assistant Vice President of Business Lending
Number of years in the industry
14 (12 in real estate and 2 in retail banking)
Where did you get your career started and what was the most valuable lesson you learned early
on? I started my banking career at Fifth Third Bank. I worked as a customer service manager
at one of the retail branches in Louisville, Kentucky. The most valuable lesson I learned
at that time was to treat all people fairly and to not judge. In retail banking, you deal with
people from all walks of life, yet the underlying core is that we’re all human so we must
treat each other with dignity and respect at all times. I then transferred to commercial
middle market lending in 2006 and that was my introduction to commercial real estate
and business lending.
2. What inspires, drives, or motivates you in your career? I’m inspired by knowing I’m making an impact on the economic sustainability and growth of a community. I’m responsible for determining if a business gets capital to open its doors or gets funds for expansion, or if a new restaurant opens, or if a new office building or warehouse is constructed, or if a real estate investor wants to purchase more property to build wealth, etc. I take pride in the fact that the decisions I make in my role have a domino effect on the economy.
3. What advice can you share for working with a challenging client or colleague? It’s a bit cliché but seek first to understand, then to be understood. A parallel to that is to listen to understand, don’t just listen to respond. A lot of times when there is conflict it’s because there’s a disconnect in perspective. The strategy is to hear each other’s perspective, find the disconnect, then remove it.
4. What do you see taking shape in our industry in the next 5 or 10 years?
I see a huge shift in retail commercial real estate. Big box retailers can no longer afford the overhead costs of brick‐and‐mortar buildings and have either shut down completely or have transitioned to online platforms to keep up with the shift in consumer shopping behavior. The buildings they leave behind are being renovated for office space, condos/apartments, other shopping alternatives, etc.
I also see a shift in downtown revitalization and a movement from suburban living to urban living. More people wish to live, work, and play in the city. Businesses are updating their workspaces to have a more trendy “open concept” with glass walls, hardwood floors and standing workspaces. This is good for downtown neighborhoods that were once ignored, however, there must be a balance between revitalizing the neighborhood and displacing the residents that once called those areas “home”. Neighborhood revitalization is only a “revitalization” to those who can experience the change and still afford and be allowed to live there to reap its benefits.
5. Do you have any passions or hobbies outside of work? I have a passion for singing. I get my gift from my father, who was once on the same record label as James Brown (King Records). I’ve sang back‐up for gospel artists Donnie McClurkin, Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, and Fred Hammond. I’m also passionate about community service and fighting for racial equality. My hobbies include dancing, runway modeling, and I’ve recently started taking piano lessons.
6. Who is your personal hero?
I consider Oprah Winfrey to be my personal hero. I relate to her because she had very humble and challenging childhood, but she did not allow any of those situations to deter her from her dreams. She pushed through with diligence, tact, and determination, and the rest is history. Oprah has had such an amazing impact on so many people all over the world and I admire her for blazing trails for not only women in general, but especially women in the African American community.