‘Be Deliberate’ About Using Your Voice and Telling Your Story: What I’ve Learned From Mentorship

Sponsored by Bank of America

Lillie Louis-Fils. Photo courtesy of Bank of America.

Lillie Louis-Fils. Photo courtesy of Bank of America.

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April 12, 2024 at 10:59PM UTC

In 1999, Lillie Louis-Fils began her career in finance "with a determination to help people with financial literacy, serve the community, and become an expert in my field,” she tells us. “Over the next nine years, I served in many roles such as a property and casualty insurance agent, Director and fundraiser for nonprofit organizations, real estate investment professional, and mortgage broker.”

Then, in 2008, the market crashed and Louis-Fils remembers searching for a job as a recently laid off single parent. During this search, she got licensed to become a financial advisor and was eventually hired by a firm. “However, the requirement was to go door-to-door to sell stocks and bonds,” she recalls. “I remember days when I would wear a poncho to knock on doors in the rain and then fall asleep in my shoes, completely exhausted. This experience taught me the importance of perseverance and how to overcome rejection.”

Only a few years later in 2011, Louis-Fils made a major career move — she joined Bank of America as an advisor trainee. “That is where my banking career really took off,” she says. “Finally, I had a real opportunity to deepen relationships with a broad spectrum of clients — thousands of consumers in my backyard could benefit from my financial advice. There would be no more knocking on doors!” Since then, she’s built a strong network of connections and has been able to teach, learn, and make a real difference for the clients and communities she serves. And, since she’s moved into leadership and is now a Regional Executive leading Preferred Banking and Investments across for the Mid-South Region, Louis-Fils’ impact has only grown.

“Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of building, transforming, and growing teams with the end goal of excellence, which we continue to work toward every day,” she tells us.

As for how she’s been able to follow her dreams, help others, and continuously grow, Louis-Fils tells us that mentorship has played a major role. Early in her career, her parents served as her mentors. “My father gave great advice on the importance of self awareness, discipline, and excellence, while my mother instilled in me the values of faith, humility, and resilience,” says Louis-Fils.

Then, professionally, “there are many mentors and sponsors that have helped me and continue to shape the way I approach business and leadership,” she states. “Having a variety of mentors is key. Some are peers, other experts in different businesses, and some at the senior level.”

Through mentorship, Louis-Fils says that she “learned the importance of relationship building and developing a strong foundation to receive advice from visionaries.” And, one of the most important lessons is “how to be deliberate about using my voice and telling my story,” she says.

Here, Louis-Fils tells us more about her current position, her role as a mentor, and how Bank of America prioritizes mentorship. 

To start, could you tell us more about your job? What’s your favorite thing about your role and about working at Bank of America?

I am responsible for a combined licensed sales force of over 160 Leaders and Financial Solutions Advisors across Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Every day, we work to make clients’ financial lives better. It is truly an honor to work with such a great team.

In my role, I enjoy bringing people together and helping others. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing my teammates achieve their individual greatness and realize the value of their uniqueness. Bank of America supports diversity, equity, and inclusion and provides tools and resources to be successful regardless of your background. 

In addition to your day-to-day role, could you tell us more about how you mentor others?

From early in my career, it was important to me to be deliberate about serving people in a mentor capacity in the community. Over the last 20 years, I have served in organizations like Shiloh Community Services, Operation Hope, Junior Achievement, and the Mentor Foundation. Currently, I serve as a mentor both inside and outside of Bank of America, which has granted me the opportunity to build relationships with amazing people.  

How do you approach your role as a mentor/sponsor differently from how you approach your own work? 

The approach is very similar. The goal of getting to know teammates personally and professionally does not change. In order to lead with motivation, I seek to understand my team’s and mentee’s goals for individual and brand development.

Does Bank of America have a formal program in place for mentor/sponsorship, or is it more of a casual occurrence that happens organically?

It is a balance of both. I have had the privilege of being a mentor for both formal and informal mentorships. We have formal external partnerships as well as phenomenal internal programs like our Consumer Investments Black and African American Mentorship Program, Women’s Mentorship, Atlanta Collaborative Mentorship, and employee networks. On other occasions, mentorships are formed through networking.

What’s the No. 1 thing you think women should know about working at Bank of America? 

There is a team of incredible leaders that believe in bringing others along. You can use your gifts and talents and have purpose in the work you do every day. Bank of America is a place where you can be proud to work

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