Chief Credit Officer, Regions Financial

As one of only two women on the 15-member operating committee at Regions Financial, Chief Credit Officer Barb Godin is usually outnumbered when it comes to choosing venues for social outings.

“Being from the South, they really like golfing, fishing and hunting — and those are not the three sports that I particularly have much interest in,” Godin said, in her characteristic lighthearted manner.

Godin, who is originally from Canada, said some of her male colleagues have expressed interest in going with her to the spa.

Still, she has made it a priority to advocate activities that don’t make either sex feel excluded. “My push has been — and I can’t say I’m successful at it — that we do some gender-neutral activities at our level,” Godin said.

For her own department, she organizes team-building events that revolve around food, such as potluck dinners, chili cook-offs, bake-offs and catfish fries.

“Anything involving food, people absolutely love,” Godin said. “It brings people together.”

Godin serves as a sponsor for Regions employees at a range of levels. In talking with women, she said she makes sure that they are proactive in asking for the jobs and salaries they want.

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She also follows her own advice, noting that she recently met with the head of human resources, just to talk about options for the next step in her career.

“I said, ‘For my own career, this is where I’m at. I have one more rung to go — can I make it to that next rung?’” Godin said. “‘Oh, and by the way, this is the salary I’m looking for.’”

Women in senior management roles often get passed over for jobs because their bosses assume they are happy where they are, Godin said. So she encourages her colleagues to use their voices, and make it clear where they want to go.

“I don’t want them guessing, ‘I guess Barb is happy, I guess she should just retire out of that job,’” Godin said. “I’m saying, ‘No, I’m happy, but I would like to go up one more rung. What can you do for me?’”

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton is a reporter for American Banker, where she writes about the business of national and regional banking.