Most Powerful Women to Watch: Jennifer Strybel, HSBC Bank USA

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Chief Operating Officer

Jennifer Strybel thrives on routines. She has a favorite workout and a steady commute, works best at the office, loves social interaction and likes to be able to gather people around to jump on a problem.

COVID-19 threw the world for a loop, and though it disrupted all of Strybel’s routines, she adapted — and her team didn’t skip a beat servicing HSBC customers, even as it shifted to fully remote work.

Strybel is in charge of operations, services and technology at HSBC Bank USA. She manages its digital transformation programs, which last year included the launch of real-time payment functionality. Transaction volume subsequently grew by 21%.

When the pandemic hit, her team increased its bandwidth by a factor of 10 so its 10,000 employees could transition to working from home smoothly. It also built four new servers to support remote trading operations and launched Zoom two months ahead of schedule to interact with clients and collaborate with colleagues.

Through endless challenges and sleepless nights, Strybel learned to create new routines that would help her lead in a different environment — daily Zoom huddles, Thursday virtual happy hours and a scheduled 7 p.m. shutdown of the computer. She even found a new fitness routine.

Strybel, who is a member of the U.S. executive committee and the global COO leadership team for the British banking giant, also learned to be open about her travails. She and her teammates, for example, wrote blog posts about how they were coping.

“Within hours of sending my blog, the reactions from my staff were truly overwhelming,” she said. “Sharing my vulnerabilities made me stronger and a better leader. I feel more connected to my team than ever before.”

For the first time, American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking celebration is open to the whole financial community. Join us virtually October 6-8 to hear our 2020 honorees' stories and experiences. Register here.

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