When approached by executive management about a promotion last spring, Zions Bank svp Lori Chillingworth was excited by the prospect of taking on new responsibility for business banking, fresh off a project in which she re-engineered the small business lending process to increase efficiency and improve customer experience. But she wasn't ready for the idea of relinquishing control of The Women's Financial Group, Zions' women-focused affinity group that Chillingworth had created and built over the last 12 years into a $2 million business at the bank. "I just assumed I would keep the Women's Financial Group," Chillingworth says. "I went back to my office and started hyperventilating."
Eventually Chillingworth came to terms with it and handed Women's Financial to her capable number two, CeCe Mitchell, and moved into the male-dominated business banking division. "I went from working with all women, to now being the only woman," Chillingworth says, noting that she had to pay more attention to communication styles than before.