JoAnn Bourne learned how to play chess with her dad at age six, and now relates the game to her work.
"Chess is very similar to business in that all the chess players have different strengths and weaknesses, just like a team of employees. But if you strategize, you can use them all effectively and win," she says.
Bourne believes the analogy has never been so fitting as during the financial crisis. Her team devised a strategy to excel while others pulled back. It persuaded the bank to buy a Texas charter, which helped attract more commercial deposits from title companies and governmental entities. It also launched an online global treasury service and added more specialized money market products for niche customers.
Bourne credits those initiatives with helping boost commercial deposits nearly 60 percent last year, to $23.9 billion."We planned our moves and thought ahead of what our competitors in all of our markets might do in response, and we were successful," she says.
Bourne, who is the highest-ranking woman at her company and the only female on its executive committee, says one question she frequently gets asked by other women is how she managed to rise in her career while raising two kids.
Her answer is "strategic planning."
That meant keeping a change of clothes in the car for hurrying to catch the second half of lacrosse games and making sure to work late the night before hosting classroom holiday parties.
"I was always ambitious, so I wanted to have a great career, but I also wanted to be a good mother," Bourne says. "I just had to think strategically in my personal life as well."