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Jacquelyn Thomas is a Senior Vice President / Loan Team Lead at Wells Fargo
She earned her B.S. from St. Catherine’s University and joined Wells Fargo in 2004
Jacquelyn moved to MSP with her husband in 2018 after spending nearly 15 years working for Wells Fargo in St. Louis and Atlanta
She lives in downtown Minneapolis
Profile: Jacquelyn Thomas, Wells Fargo
Middle Market Banking
Q: Your relocation to Minneapolis-Saint Paul is a homecoming of sorts. After nearly 15 years building your career in St. Louis and Atlanta, why make the move to MSP?
I moved to MSP for the opportunity to lead a team of local Relationship Managers for Wells Fargo and for the opportunity to plant roots in this community. I contemplated multiple opportunities in the region and decided on the Minneapolis offer for a few reasons, both business-related and personal. First, I was eager to move back “home” to be closer to family here in the area. Second, as a native Minnesotan, I believe in the business community here and I wanted to be a part of Wells Fargo’s contribution to its growth and success.
There are a number of Wells Fargo business lines based here. So, the bank has a strong presence in the market, including more than 20,000 team members. I knew this was a place where I could further expand my career without having to automatically relocate.
Q: You haven’t been back long, but what have been your initial impressions doing Middle Market banking here in MSP. Does anything stand out about your customers or the local economy?
One of the unique traits I discovered in moving back to MSP to work for the bank is the tenure of the people at Wells Fargo. Many of my teammates have 20 to 30-plus years’ experience, and even younger team members have shown their loyalty, spending their entire career with Wells Fargo. This sense of loyalty and pride for the bank has been really refreshing. Along with the experienced team, we have long tenured clients going back multiple generations, this has created deep relationships with Wells Fargo as an institution. Few other markets can tout the history of both team members and clients that we have here. One of the other interesting things about our middle market business within Wells Fargo is the diversity of clients and industries.
As our Minneapolis leader says ‘we have one of everything,’ from retailers to industrial manufacturers to contractors to medical device firms to service-based businesses. I think one of the strengths of this market is the diversity of strong businesses that are not concentrated into any specific industry.
Q: It sounds like you’ve really been able to grow and take on plenty of different opportunities at Wells Fargo. What’s been your approach to mentorship and sponsorship, both early on and now that your career is advancing?
I have always tried to work for people I have admired. This has allowed me to learn, but also create wonderful relationships and sponsors throughout my career. One of the benefits of working for a large organization like Wells Fargo is that I have spent 14 years with the same company, but have had seven different jobs without leaving the company.
I have been able to build a network of both mentors and sponsors. Wells Fargo has many programs that allow me to connect to women in leadership positions; and through these opportunities, I have been able to engage a number of strong mentors. Also, by staying within the organization, I have created a deep and broad network of leaders, who have been wonderful sponsors for me throughout my career. They have helped identify when it was time for me to stretch myself, given advice about experiences I may need in order to broaden my skill sets, and provided connections to help me succeed. The qualities that have always impressed me about Wells Fargo leaders are how humble, hardworking, and thoughtful people are within the organization. These are some of the qualities I aspire to as a leader.
Q: What are some of the most valuable skills that are needed to succeed in your work? Are there any that might surprise people?
I think a lot of people who hear ‘banking’ assume we spend a lot of time analyzing numbers and talking about interest rates. In reality, our job is really listening to our clients, understanding their needs, and building relationships in order to serve them throughout their business life-cycle. Obviously, there is a base level of finance understanding you must have, but more importantly you have to be able to become a trusted advisor your clients. In the banking industry, all money looks the same. At Wells Fargo, we differentiate ourselves by being an advisor to our clients, going beyond a conversation to bring partners or colleagues that have the expertise to help the client succeed financially and share knowledge to build their business. At the end of the day, what we provide are ideas, trust, and service.
Q: You and your husband moved into Minneapolis right before the “Bold North” Super Bowl festivities. Other than the foot traffic downtown and the need for a strong coat, what surprised him – and you for that matter?
My husband and I moved on January 2, 2018, which happened to be the coldest winter in quite some time. One of the perks of moving here at that time was the ability to partake in the Super Bowl festivities. I was impressed with everyone’s excitement to show off our city. The energy of the greeters and ambassadors around the skyway was fun. It was a true expression of ‘Minnesota Nice.’ I also appreciated the ‘embracing the winter’ theme through activities, such as biking, snowmobiling, and skiing. Though snow in April came as quite the surprise, my husband and our beloved dog grew quite fond of quick walks north to the river; and he learned quite a bit about driving in the snow. Having the Super Bowl festivities near us was definitely a bonus and being able to attend NHL games again was the icing on the cake.