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Dee O’Donnell: At the Helm of Wells Fargo in Utah
By Peri Kinder
September 10, 2015
For 35 years, Dee O’Donnell has worked in banking, spending the last 25 years with Wells Fargo. She relocated from the East Coast to supervise Utah’s 125 Wells Fargo branches, plus two locations in Idaho. O’Donnell is the first woman to serve as a Wells Fargo regional president.
What enticed you to take this job?
When I first came to Utah, it was as far left on the map as I’d ever been. I loved everything that I learned about this market. Utah has an amazing growing economy, it’s a great place to do business and the population is growing here. Plus you have these beautiful mountains and the most wonderfully friendly people.
What career path led you to this position?
I go back to my first job as a banker; I loved having customer conversations and designing solutions for people. It’s a great feeling to know you’re helping people by adding value when it comes to making a difference in their financial lives. I think it’s that love of people that has led me to where I am today.
I’ve been a banker, I’ve been a teller, I’ve been in our wealth market and I’ve been in small business banking. I love leadership so much that I wanted the opportunity to teach leaders on our team. My passion is leadership and developing that in others, but always keeping our customers the center of everything.
How is diversity changing the face of business?
I’m proud to be the regional president in Utah. I’ve had some remarkablementors along my career who have coached me. I’m proud to work for a company like Wells Fargo that builds a culture of diversity and inclusion. Diversity means you’ve been invited to the party; inclusion means someone has asked you to dance. All groups deserve a seat at the table. By getting all types of opinions, we’re making our company better.
What’s your approach to life?
Caring and showing kindness to people at all times, having an open mind, being a good listener and always trying to make a difference to the person you’re with. I try to make a positive impact on people when I can.
What is your biggest challenge?
I meet with council people, town managers and mayors, seeking to understand how Wells Fargo can be a better neighbor in the communities we support. It’s understanding how we can make a difference in the state of Utah by being a good partner.
What do you want people to know about you?
I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and my father was a commercial and residential builder. My mother was a stay-at-home mom and she raised us four girls. One of the things I knew about construction was that there were good years and challenging years.
My mother knew how to stretch a dollar when times were tough. I think one of the reasons going into banking was important to me was to help people realize that whether you’re running a home or a business, you need a good financial plan.