The Most Powerful Women in Banking: Next

Detra Miller assembled a team of bankers to focus on helping minority- and women-owned businesses in the Baltimore area — an initiative that M&T Bank aims to replicate elsewhere.

Beyond the impact Tenzin Alexander has devising social media strategy for Huntington, she has made creating affordable housing a personal mission.

And Christine Guo's work at Wells Fargo helping health care startups get funding reminds her of what she affectionately calls "our family business" — the primary care clinic her parents, both doctors who immigrated from China, operate in New York.

The 15 executives selected for our Most Powerful Women in Banking: Next list all have remarkable stories.

Over the past year each of them has taken on a major project for their company and produced impressive results.

Yet none are older than 40.

In an industry struggling to diversify its senior ranks — and lately feeling a much more urgent mandate to do so — this list offers hope.

These high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline have experience in a wide array of business operations. Besides small businesses, health care and social media — all areas with heightened significance amid the pandemic — they are involved in efforts as varied as anti-money-laundering, digital transformation and auto lending.

Some are first- or second-generation immigrants. Many have young children.

It's an extraordinary group — not only eager to make banking better, but already doing so. — Bonnie McGeer

Tenzin Alexander, Huntington
Tenzin Alexander
Social media director

Where she's based: Columbus, Ohio

What she does: Alexander is in charge of social media strategy for Huntington, using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to build the bank’s brand, bolster its reputation and drive new business. Her work includes overseeing the social care team, which addresses customer comments, and leading the “banker social selling” program for LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which leverages social media to help bankers sell products and services.

“A forward-thinking leader, Tenzin always has a vision for growth and improvement.”

— Julie Tutkovics, Huntington’s chief marketing and communications officer

(Full profile here.)
Katherine Andersen, Silicon Valley Bank
Katherine Andersen
Head of life science and health care relationship banking

Where she's based: Boston

What she does: Andersen oversees a team of relationship managers, sits on the board of directors for SVB’s joint venture bank in China, which is called SPD Silicon Valley Bank, and leads SVB’s Healthcare Capital and Connections Summit.

“I have seen her take SVB’s corporate finance business from a PowerPoint presentation into a high-growth business.”

— David Sabow, SVB’s head of technology and health care banking, North America

(Full profile here.)
Meera Das, BMO Financial Group
Managing director, AML modeling and machine learning

Where she's based: Chicago

What she does: Her team is responsible for developing surveillance models used to detect money laundering, terrorist financing, human trafficking and sanctions-related risk within transactions. She works with all lines of business, including capital markets, wealth management and personal and commercial banking, to understand where these risks exist or could develop, then devises ways to flag suspicious activity using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“Meera is an excellent communicator and a persuasive leader, always ready for the next challenge and always willing to help others and provide advice.”

— Wassim El Ouni, BMO Financial’s head of risk capital and model development

(Full profile here.)
Christine Guo, Wells Fargo
Vice president, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital

Where she’s based: San Francisco

What she does: Guo leads the due diligence and execution of principal investments into emerging health care companies. She also helps those companies grow and source other investments.

“Christine is a culture champion, exemplifying the teamwork, leadership, professionalism, and ethics we look for.”

— David Marks, executive vice president, Wells Fargo Commercial Capital

(Full profile here.)
Angela Ho, OceanFirst Bank
Chief accounting officer

Where she's based: Red Bank, N.J.

What she does: Ho’s 33-person team is responsible for all of OceanFirst’s financial reporting, including reports for the board of directors, federal regulators and external auditors. She also supports investor relations, contributing to quarterly earning calls and investor meetings.

“Her exceptional leadership and communication skills not only helped to increase the efficiencies of her department, but also improved the overall efficiencies of the bank.”

— Michael Fitzpatrick, OceanFirst’s chief financial officer

(Full profile here.)
Kristiane Koontz, Zions Bancorp.
Director of banking transformation

Where she’s based: Salt Lake City

What she does: She leads technology-enabled transformational projects for Zions, including the multiyear core banking replacement that is the biggest technology project in the company’s history.

“Because she has laid out a clear vision and shown care for team members’ well-being, she is considered one of the best leaders in our organization.”

— Jennifer Smith, Zions’ chief information officer

(Full profile here.)
Jennifer Masterson, PNC Financial Services Group
Director, retail lending default

Where she's based: Brecksville, Ohio

What she does: Masterson oversees a team that works with customers to recover as much defaulted debt as possible.

“She continually challenges the status quo, seeking more efficient and effective ways of doing things.”

— Bill Parsley, PNC Financial’s chief operating officer

(Full profile here.)
Jennifer Matlock, Truist Financial
Chief financial officer, Crump Life Insurance Services, a unit of BB&T Insurance Holdings

Where she's based: Harrisburg, Pa.

What she does: Matlock oversees the financial functions of Crump Life Insurance Services, including financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting, processing commissions and maintaining internal controls. Crump is a unit of BB&T Insurance Holdings, which is now part of Truist.

“She is instrumental in growing the business and serving as a model for combining talent and technology for outstanding performance and service.”

— Daryl Bible, Truist’s chief financial officer

(Full profile here.)
Detra Miller, M&T Bank
Regional manager, business banking

Where she's based: Baltimore, Md.

What she does: Miller oversees M&T’s newly formed Minority- and Women-Owned Business Team, which proactively identifies opportunities to provide financial and other resources to minority- and women-owned businesses in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metro region.

“What makes Detra special is that she is always pursuing new ways to connect with clients and help them achieve their financial goals.”

— Eleni Monios, group vice president and market manager, business and professional banking

(Full profile here.)
Meghan Ryan, Ally Financial
Chief financial officer of consumer and commercial banking products

Where she's based: Charlotte, N.C.

What she does: Ryan has finance responsibility for various areas, including deposits, consumer strategy, mortgages, the Community Reinvestment Act and the integration of Ally Lending.

“Meg is incredibly proactive and always keeps the big picture in mind while teasing out potential risks that bear monitoring.”

— Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking products

(Full profile here.)
Melissa Sacher, BBVA USA
Head of indirect auto lending

Where she's based: Houston

What she does: Sacher oversees a unit that offers consumer auto loans through dealerships. She is responsible for recruiting and developing talent, creating the sales strategy and managing risk.

“Melissa’s potential at BBVA is vast, thanks in large part to how she leads. It’s clear to each member of her team that she genuinely cares about them as a person, inside and outside BBVA.”

— Rafael Bustillo, chief operating officer

(Full profile here.)
Lindsay Sacknoff, TD Bank
Head of U.S. consumer deposits, products and payments

Where she's based: Philadelphia

What she does: Sacknoff began leading the team responsible for all of TD Bank’s U.S. deposit products in the first quarter. Previously she was head of U.S. contact centers, overseeing a team of more than 2,000 people across four sites responsible for nearly 20 million annual customer inquiries via phone, email and social media.

“To get things done in a large organization, you need the high level of emotional intelligence Lindsay possesses.”

— Michael Rhodes, group head, innovation, technology and shared services

(Full profile here.)
Lisa Shim, BankUnited
Head of consumer and small-business banking

Where she’s based: Miami Lakes, Fla.

What she does: Besides overseeing a division supporting consumer and small business clients, she also is responsible for BankUnited’s corporate strategy, marketing and community development.

“Her C-suite potential is evident in how she not only brings strategic ideas and solutions to life, but also in her ability to effect changes and empower those around her.”

— Rajinder Singh, BankUnited’s chairman, president and chief executive

(Full profile here.)
Nikki Stephenson, Regions Bank
Head of commercial portfolio management

Where she’s based: Atlanta

What she does: Stephenson leads a team that oversees the credit provided to commercial banking clients, generally defined as companies with up to $250 million in revenue. The team is responsible for all aspects of the commercial credit process, including underwriting, structuring, and portfolio management.

“While both highly driven and focused on the details, Nikki also connects well with clients (internal and external) and builds highly engaged and motivated teams.”

— Timothy Monte, head of credit products

(Full profile here.)
Nicole Straub, Discover Financial Services
Vice president, deposits marketing

Where she’s based: Riverwoods, Ill.

What she does: Straub oversees customer acquisition, portfolio marketing, product management, product development and the digital experience for a $55 billion portfolio of deposit products.

“We expect Nicole to be at the forefront of driving growth for the organization going forward.”

— Kate Manfred, general manager, Discover Student Loans

(Full profile here.)