Early in Annie Fallows’ career—before coming to Capital One
—she walked into a meeting and the conversation died. As she looked around, she noticed a dozen men looking back at her. She was the only woman in the room.
For Annie, now senior vice president and head of auto refinance, that quiet moment became a deafening call to action: Do everything possible to make everyone feel included.
“Most of the time, people are not deliberately trying to exclude someone, but their subtle words, actions or lack thereof can have that effect,” Annie said. “I want everyone to feel empowered. I’m extremely passionate about making sure diversity, inclusion and belonging
are woven within our culture at Capital One.”
Creating inclusion through conversation.
When Annie joined Capital One in 2015, she took interest in the Financial Services Diversity Council and enrolled as an ally in many of our Business Resource Groups
(BRG). She listened to experts, leaders and colleagues with underrepresented identities share their stories about working at Capital One and other companies.
And she also shared her own story—speaking to VOICES
, our BRG for Black associates and allies, and Salute
, our BRG for veterans and military personnel, spouses and allies—about that moment early in her career when a room full of men went silent as she walked inside.
“Opening up about my journey hopefully creates an inclusive space for others to feel comfortable with bringing their true selves to the table,” Annie said. “That’s when we can take action to strengthen bonds and build trust between one another.”
Asking questions, sparking dialogue.
For Annie, asking questions is her power move; something she encourages her associates to embrace as well.
While Annie is comfortable sharing her journey, she finds more fulfillment in turning the spotlight onto others. She connects with colleagues by asking them about what they want from their future careers, how they’ve been successful so far and what they are thinking and feeling about their current roles.
“I want associates to feel safe talking to me, their peers and other leaders,” Annie said. “The good, the bad and all the feedback in-between are valuable for development and help open the lines of communication.”
Annie’s father taught her to focus on her strengths and to coach others to do the same.
“He always encouraged me to focus on my strengths and lean into ‘better ifs,’ or opportunities for improvement,” Annie said. “I try to take this approach with others. Watching my associates grow and develop in their careers is immensely rewarding.”
Finding strength in the truth.
Annie says she is encouraged to ask questions because it is part of Capital One’s culture to seek the truth. That foundation of honesty provides associates the grace to admit they don’t know everything, permission to learn and a safe space
to have difficult conversations with their peers and leaders about belonging and development.
“I’ve always admired how Capital One values professional growth for every associate, no matter the role we play in the business,” Annie said. “When at a crossroads of choosing to remain great or evolving into your fullest potential, we have the opportunity to pave the way to excellence. That’s truly inspiring!”