Chief Credit Officer, Regions Financial
Barb Godin has some simple advice for ambitious female bankers looking to advance in their careers: "Don't just let life happen."
Godin began her banking career in her native Canada in the early 1980s, but always wondered if she could "make it" in the U.S. banking industry. So in the late 1990s she made the bold decision to relocate her family to Ohio, where she spent five years as KeyCorp's chief consumer credit officer. In 2003 she moved on to AmSouth, which later merged with Regions.
She often shares this story with women she mentors to illustrate the importance of having a game plan. Some promotions are a surprise, but more often than not, opportunities come to those who actively seek them out, Godin says. Women in particular are reluctant to be proactive about career moves and Godin believes that it's the responsibility of senior executives like herself to nudge them along.
"You have to stand up and be counted," she says. "You have to put your hand up and say, 'This is what I want out of life.'"
Godin also strongly believes that women have an important role to play on boards. Over the years she has served on several corporate and nonprofit boards on which she was the only female, and she says the lack of diversity hurt those boards. "It was an issue for overall governance," she says. "Females can bring different views to a board."