EVP, Corporate Banking, Silicon Valley Bank
Any bank or nonbank lender with designs on courting more technology and life sciences business often will look to raid talent from Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, Calif. After all, Silicon Valley has long been the go-to bank for growing tech firms and its bankers are highly valued by competitors for their expertise and the relationships they have built.
Retaining this talent is a top priority of Joan Parsons, the bank's executive vice president for corporate banking, so last year she launched an internal development program that provides top employees with new experiences and challenges that might ultimately prevent them from jumping ship. It's a competitive program — roughly 7,000 employees have applied since its inception and only 130 have gone through it — but those who are accepted are given ample opportunities to stretch themselves through rotations in other departments or stints in the bank's London or China offices. Senior executives have called the program a "game-changing contribution" to the bank's talent-development efforts.
Parsons held a number of managerial posts at the bank before being promoted to her current post in January 2014. A direct report to President and Chief Executive Greg Becker, Parsons oversees a wide range of activities — including mezzanine and debt financing, syndicate lending and deposit and investment services — for the bank's tech and life sciences clients.
She's also seen as an innovator. Last year Parsons expanded the bank's mezzanine financing program to focus on latter-stage companies, spearheaded the creation of an advisory arm that helps clients set strategy and opened an office in Houston to further grow its clean technology practice. Those initiatives were among the reasons that the corporate banking group reported a 20% increase in loan volume last year, as well as a 33% increase in deposits and a 14% increase in fee income.
Parsons is a founding member of the bank's diversity and inclusion committee. One of her key initiatives in supporting other women at the firm was creating a job-sharing program for working mothers.