Please give us a little background on
how you got into the ABL industry.
I was recruited by the ABL subsidiary
of the bank that I joined right after
graduating from the University of
Texas at Austin with an MBA. I was
a banker in commercial lending and
the division relied on the asset-based
lending group for expertise on collateral and audits. The ABL group was
frequently in our credit committee.
As a young banker, I was permitted to
pitch the easy deals to the committee. For some reason, the ABL group
decided they liked me and thought
I would be a good fit for them. I was
very lucky because all the managers in
the ABL group had been recruited from
GE, so I was taught by a number of GE
veterans and really benefitted from
their expertise. They were incredibly
knowledgeable. It was great training.
What has been the most challenging
aspect of being not only a woman
in a male-dominated industry, but a
woman in a high-profile position?
I think it’s a relatively nuanced ques-
tion. I would say probably there’s a
dichotomy in that, to be successful
in asset-based lending, there are two
attributes that you really have to have
regardless if you’re a man or a woman.
You need to be assertive and aggres-
sively defend assets. I think most peo-
ple would use one word to describe
those attributes and that is “tough”.
But those aren’t attributes that make
you popular, even within your own
organization. The other problem is
that it’s more acceptable for men
to be tough than it is for women to
be tough. So that’s a challenge. And
that’s just in general. If you consider
other lines of business like enter-
tainment, journalism, or retail, it’s
probably similar for women in senior
positions; it’s the same dichotomy. Al-
though statistically, financial services
certainly have fewer executive women
than many other lines of business.
What advice would you offer to
a woman just starting out in this
My daughter is actually beginning a
career in asset-based lending for a
competitor, and she will allow me to
offer her advice. My advice is: cultivate mentors. That’s very important. I
think it’s also very important that your
day-to-day attitude is very balanced
and positive. So, regardless of what
challenges come your way, you have to
have a balanced and positive attitude.
I think women do have more challenges, especially related to managing
child bearing and child care responsibilities with careers. Maintaining that
balanced approach is hard work, but
you have to do it.
Mentors are really important
because they help you read between
the lines and find the right fit for
you within the organization. So even
though you can be really smart and really hardworking, it doesn’t necessarily mean that every line of business or
every function within the organization
is going to be fertile ground for you.
You need to find a place where you
can grow and blossom, and a mentor
is going to be able to analyze you and
the organization and highlight what
could be the best opportunities for
you. You might never be able to find
that path without that guidance.
Within Wells Fargo Capital, we
have a very successful mentoring
program. This year over 20% of our
team members are participating. We
have many smart, talented, young
people who begin their careers with
Capital Finance, and it’s a sign of success that our turnover is very low. The
formal mentoring program is partially
responsible for this trend, but we also
have a very strong informal mentoring
culture. That’s one of the reasons that
we retain talent. If the fit is right, our
young people are very successful.
Wells Fargo is considered the leader
in the lender finance market; to what
do you attribute this success?
First of all, we have had incredible
support from Wells Fargo Capital
Finance in terms of embracing the
business model. Other important factors include a very talented team with
deep experience. We have been in this
segment for about 20 years and were
lucky to have experimented with the
asset class for eight years when we
worked together at a previous institution and then we’ve been together at
Wells Fargo for 13 years.
We’ve seen credit line utilization lev-
“There are two attributes that
els for CFA members average around
you really have to have regard-
less if you’re a man or a woman.
You need to be assertive and ag-
gressively defend assets.”