Head of Bank Operations, Oversight, Service and Technology, Charles Schwab Bank

Angela Birmingham has held a number of high-ranking banking jobs in her career, but until she started helping her oldest daughter with college applications last year she had never given much thought to being a role model for other women.

In her college essays, Birmingham's daughter, Madeline, singled out her "strong, working" mom as being one of her greatest influences. That heartened Birmingham — and made her feel a little less guilty about all those school activities she missed — but it made her question if, in her role as Charles Schwab Bank's highest-ranking woman, she was fully supporting the careers of other women. "I never used to think of myself as a woman in business," Birmingham said. "I was just a professional going to work every day like everyone around me."

That's changing. Now, in addition to the myriad responsibilities that come with heading operations for one of the country's fastest-growing banks, Birmingham is making more time for mentoring women and becoming far more active in the bank's women's networks. She is also paying much closer attention to hiring and promotion practices to make sure women are getting proper consideration.

"I need to make sure I am inspiring, supporting and developing the next generation of women in a purposeful way across Schwab and the industry, and that I am using my leadership voice and role to influence change where needed," Birmingham said.

Birmingham joined Schwab from Bank of America in 2006 as a Midwest regional executive and she has headed operations, service and technology since 2010. In the six years she's been in her current role, assets of Schwab Bank have more than tripled, to $150 billion, as its number of deposit accounts has roughly quadrupled, to over one million today.

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