The Women to Watch: No. 21, Regions' Kate Danella

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Head of Strategic Planning and Consumer Bank Products and Origination Partnerships, Regions Financial

It didn't take Kate Danella long to rise through the leadership ranks at Regions Financial.

She joined the Birmingham, Ala., company in July 2015 as the wealth strategy and effectiveness executive and less than a year later was promoted to head of private wealth management.

Last year, in one of his first personnel moves after being names Regions' president and CEO, John Turner named Danella his head of strategic planning and corporate development, a newly created post, and in June of this year Turner added to Danella's responsibilities by selecting her as head of consumer bank products and origination partnerships.

Danella is now one of 10 Regions executives — and the only woman — on the management team who reports directly to Turner.

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In her newest role, Danella is responsible for driving overall business results for consumer and small-business deposits, credit and debit cards, unsecured lending, auto lending and real estate lending, as well as overseeing fintech partnerships for lending and payments. Regions' consumer bank serves more than 4.3 million households and small businesses and has more than $30 billion of loans and more than $59 billion of deposits.

As head of strategic planning, Danella works with department heads to identify strategic priorities across all business lines and communicating those priorities, and management's vision for the company, to investors and employees.

Danella has also been a driving force behind Regions' decision to improve maternity and paternity benefits for new parents.

She and her husband adopted a baby boy in early 2018 and at the time Regions offered no maternity or paternity leave, only six weeks disability for birth mothers, and had no benefits at all for adoptive parents. It was not a hardship for them — they could afford to take unpaid leave — but Danella recognized during her leave that many colleagues didn't have that luxury and set out to change Regions' policy.

Working closely with human resources, Danella helped to craft a policy that offers three months of fully paid leave for birth mothers and six weeks of fully paid leave for fathers, domestic partners and adoptive parents. The policy, which Danella said puts Regions in the "top quartile relative to peers," took effect in January.

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Consumer banking Strategic planning Kate Randall Danella Regions Bank Women in Banking