Tell us more about the role and responsibilities of the SVP, Human Capital Business Controls & Strategic Projects Manager at Fifth Third Bank. How does it help fulfill Fifth Third Bank’s mission?
My role provides business leadership related to identifying, assessing, mitigating, and managing Human Capital (HC) risk. I have a responsibility in overseeing the HC risk and control environment, process improvements, and project and portfolio management. My team reviews process and regulatory risks associated with compensation, payroll, benefits, talent acquisition, and other HC functions to ensure controls are working effectively and efficiently. On the strategic projects side, my team is responsible for planning, overseeing, and leading HC projects from initial collaboration through completion. I have the opportunity on a daily basis to deliver value in alignment with Fifth Third’s compass by continuously managing risk. Whether it be in challenging ideas, testing for soundness, or promptly escalating issues, my role helps to fulfill Fifth Third’s vision and mission.

You began your career at 5/3 as an intern and worked up to where you are today. Elaborate more on how this opportunity was discovered through the career resources at Gatton and UK. 
I was a finance major and knew that I wanted to work for a large corporation one day with a specific interest in banking. Gatton advisor Eric Brown recommended I explore the Stuckert Career Center for potential internships. I remember looking at the career center website and I was overwhelmed with all of the internship options; I wasn’t sure where to start. I met with a Stuckert career advisor and she recommended that I participate in mock interviews. She shared it would be a great way for me to learn about what to expect in the interview process, and that she knew a few local banks would be participating as mock interviewers coming soon. I participated in January 2003 and it was a great experience!  However, there weren’t any banking internships available at that time. 

It sounds like you had a great experience preparing for the interview process. What happened next? 
In Spring 2003, I received a call from Fifth Third letting me know that they had a few opportunities available, and they wanted me to come in for an interview. They had saved my resume from the mock interview. They shared that there was an internship available if I was interested and encouraged me to apply.  It was the perfect opportunity!  The internship was within Fifth Third’s Finance division, and that opportunity led me to a full-time position as a Financial Analyst when I graduated from UK.  I moved to the Human Capital division in 2006, and have worked in multiple centers of excellence since that time.  Each opportunity came because of connections that I made along the way, a strong work ethic, and my commitment to quality work outputs.  Those areas included HR business consulting, performance management, and affirmative action and compliance.  All of these work experiences led me to the Business Controls function where I reside today. The important thing to note is that you are building contacts and your personal brand in every career exploration outreach you make.  The career opportunities may not be immediate, but they will find you when you least expect it.

As a Gatton College / University of Kentucky alumnae, what are you most proud of?
I am proud that my upper-level business classes prepared me for and enhanced my internship with Fifth Third. It was the foundation for my career and where I am today.  That foundation not only provided guidance on my professional career but personally too. I am now a proud mom of a UK freshman daughter (who is also a Gatton student!)

What skills did you learn as a student at Gatton or in your career that you have helped you elevate and grow? 
Gatton taught me about problem-solving, along with teamwork and collaboration.  The two go hand in hand as you have to flex your own style when working with different groups of people against tight deadlines. In my career, one of the things that has helped me elevate and grow is the ability to take complex information and put it into a digestible format to “tell a story.”  How someone receives your work product or how it assists them in making a decision is what sets you apart from others. People remember your work and the outcome that it presented.

What advice would give others to be successful in their careers?
Find a good mentor and take their advice; even when their advice is difficult to hear.
Show the value that you bring to a position or a company every single day.  
Find ways to connect to the company’s mission and vision; you will have a greater sense of belonging for how you are impacting the organization’s bottom line.
Evaluate your strengths. Those strengths will lead you to a career that you have a passion for.