Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 13, B of A's Andrea Smith

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Chief Administrative Officer, Bank of America

On the first day of her first job in banking, Andrea Smith made one of her most important decisions of her career.

After finishing college, Smith was hired into a management training program by a company that was later acquired by Bank of America. Her job as a project analyst seemed like a perfect opportunity to put her economics degree to work.

But when Smith showed up for her first day on the job, the company informed her that her position had been eliminated. She was offered a different position instead — as a computer programmer, an area she knew nothing about.

“I went home that night with two options: I could quit and nobody would ever know, or I could give it a shot,” Smith said. “The decision to stick with that job and figure it out has been key to my career. Doing so led to another opportunity, which led to another, and so on.”

Smith’s willingness to take risks — and tough roles — has been a defining trait of her more than three-decade tenure at B of A.

In fact, Smith’s current role as chief administrative officer was created for her in 2015 because she had tackled so many disparate assignments. Her current responsibilities include overseeing B of A’s annual stress tests, as well as global corporate security, real estate and procurement, among other areas.

A big focus over the past year has been assisting with B of A’s goal of improving its efficiency. Most notably, Smith revamped its regional leadership, eliminating a layer of middle management and appointing on-the-ground market managers across the country.

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Smith has also continued to make community service in Charlotte a priority.

Last summer, for instance, she worked with the local police chief to provide a leadership training program to 30 high school students with records of minor criminal offenses. This summer, the initiative, known as the Envision Program, expanded to more than 50 students.

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