Donna Smith
EVP, Head of Commercial Middle Market and Regional Banking, Associated Banc-Corp

She had neither the time nor the resources to install a state-of-the-art customer relationship management system, but Associated Banc-Corp's Donna Smith still pulled off major infrastructure improvements her company needed to close the gap with rivals in the middle-market lending arena.

Promoted to her role in 2011, soon after her arrival from Bank of America, Smith swiftly instituted a new prospecting process that was adopted by the sales force bank-wide, and she made quick use of the 360-degree customer views that had just become available to Associated's commercial group.

Another help: a new, formal process for reviewing and following up on customer satisfaction data gleaned from third-party research. As the benefits of those measures began showing up in the commercial bank's efficiency ratio and customer loyalty scores, Smith moved onto another big project, implementing a new system for commercial loan originations.

The only female business-line executive on Associated's executive committee, Smith also is executive sponsor of the company's first affinity group, the Associated Women's Network.

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