Lindsay Lawrence, First Foundation Bank | Most Powerful Women: Next

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Chief operating officer

Give Lindsay Lawrence a big job to do and she just might find a way to make it even bigger.

Over the past few years, First Foundation Bank in Irvine, Calif., has acquired two banks, one of which had two core systems. So Lawrence ended up overseeing three core conversions last year.

But, recognizing an opportunity to go beyond the task of unifying platforms, she also created an enterprise delivery services team to work with the core delivery team. They were tasked with helping the $5.5 billion-asset bank enhance its own system, in part so it can better leverage data.

"We're building out a data warehouse so that all of the information from all of these various systems can be housed together, so we can really get a true picture of who our clients are," she said.

Lawrence's work has earned her a spot as one of the 15 women on our inaugural Next list. An extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program, the list is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.

David DePillo, the bank's president, described the initiatives Lawrence undertook as "extremely impactful" for the bottom line.

"But, perhaps the more impactful component was her ability to lead these teams through such tremendous change, especially over the course of a year, and still have her teams smiling and motivated," he said.

Lawrence is pleased with the results too. "I really feel like we've been able to make a change and do something unique, and I've kind of been able to put my fingerprint on it, which is pretty cool," she said.

"She picks up processes and information swiftly and is not afraid to confront people who may have a much more seasoned tenure." — David DePillo, president

Lawrence is just as proud of her family life, and wants other women in the industry to know that balancing responsibilities as a mother and as a business executive is possible. She has two children, Addison, 7, and Grayson, 5.

“I think it’s important for people to hear that because I think that there are a lot of young women out there who kind of wonder if they have to make a choice and you really don’t,” she said. “We’re really fortunate today that we don’t have to.”

Nominating executive: David DePillo, president

What he said: DePillo has worked with Lawrence for 14 years, going back to the start of her career as an income property loan assistant. Her ability to build consensus stood out to him from the beginning, along with her grasp of subtleties and complexities. “She picks up processes and information swiftly and is not afraid to confront people who may have a much more seasoned tenure," DePillo wrote in nominating Lawrence for the Next list.

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