First Woman To Lead Sales Group Wants Others To Follow in Her Footsteps
NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / March 24, 2023 / U.S. Bank
Originally published on U.S. Bank company blog
When Anita Colvin took a job as a part-time teller at a U.S. Bank branch in the greater Portland, Oregon, area, she had no idea it would lead to a career in financial services.
"I was a total accidental banker," Colvin said. "My plan was to take a year off school and work the part-time teller job while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life, and here I am 25 years later."
Colvin spent more than 12 years in branch banking, earning a series of promotions and working her way up to a district manager role, then joined the business banking group before she saw an opportunity on the equipment finance team in 2016.
Colvin initially served as director of sales for the equipment finance team's small-ticket group, which generally supports customers with transactions below $1 million. In early 2021, she became the head of U.S. Bank Equipment Finance's manufacturing vendor services and the first woman general manager in that sales organization, serving clients across the United States.
As its name implies, manufacturing vendor services provides financing for manufacturers in metal-cutting, plastics, woodworking, glass, stone and other manufacturing industries to purchase or upgrade equipment. The U.S. Bank team works with equipment manufacturers to provide financing to their industrial customers in a fashion similar to auto manufacturers providing financing to consumers.
"I'm always of the mindset that great leaders ask great questions, and my team would certainly tell you I ask a lot of them."
- Anita Colvin
Colvin wasn't an expert on the ins and outs of manufacturing when she accepted this leadership position.
"When I took this role, I knew enough about manufacturing to be dangerous, and I still continue to learn every day," she said. "In my sales organization, we have folks who have been in this space for many years and are experts because they're working on transactions every day. I'm always of the mindset that great leaders ask great questions, and my team would certainly tell you I ask a lot of them."
Colvin takes pride in being the first woman to serve in her role.
Traditionally, there has not been a large representation of women in senior leadership positions in the equipment finance industry, especially within the sales organizations, she said.
"There has been a big focus in the industry to change that," Colvin said. "The workforce is becoming more diverse, which is exciting."
Colvin is active in diversity efforts, serving as an advocate for women in several professional organizations. She serves as the treasurer on the Women in Manufacturing Oregon Chapter Board, an organization focused on supporting, promoting and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry. She is also a member of the U.S. Bank Women's Business Resource Group and an active mentor in both the internship and MentorConnect programs at U.S. Bank.
"I'm absolutely trying to help other women follow my path," she said. "Creating a diverse team is a critical piece of moving forward. When we all think alike, we limit our long-term growth."
While the industry may be traditionally male-dominated, Colvin said she hasn't faced a great deal of bias.
"People have been extremely open and welcoming, giving me the grace to ask questions and learn," she said. "I've been so blessed to have great mentors and sponsors at the bank who advocated for me."
The people Anita interacts with are what she likes most about the job.
"Whether it's working with my team or working with our clients or customers, it's really about building mutually beneficial relationships," she said. "I just love watching people succeed."
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Spokesperson: U.S. Bank
SOURCE: U.S. Bank
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