Here’s the Secret to Making a Job ‘Your Own,’ According to a VP

Sponsored by PNC Financial Services Group

Kristen Byrd, Vice President, Regional Banking Manager at PNC Wealth Management.

Kristen Byrd, Vice President, Regional Banking Manager at PNC Wealth Management. Photo courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

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You can imagine that as Vice President, Regional Banking Manager at PNC Wealth Management, Kristen Byrd has a lot going on. 

Between dreaming up innovative new projects and mentoring a team of advisors across the Atlantic Coast, she somehow still makes time to exercise almost everyday. And some days, those workouts come from chasing her daughter on the soccer field. 

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Kristen told Fairygodboss about how she manages her demanding schedule, how she plays to her strengths at work, and how she’s been able to develop a career that’s perfect for who she truly is at PNC. Plus, she gave us some great advice about lifting other women up. 

How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously? 

I’ve worked for PNC since I graduated from college. I’ve been fortunate to have many roles in the past 16 years. I’ve worked in the Wealth Management business in several capacities,  helping individual clients and families, and leading teams of advisors. I’ve only been in my current role for about 4 months. I lead a team of around 40 banking advisors in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

What’s the first and last thing you do at work every day? 

At some point towards the end of each day, I review my calendar for the schedule of my next day or two. It’s easy to let email, phone calls, Skype messages, and teammates stopping by take up all my time. I make it a priority to be available to my team, but I also have tasks I need to achieve. It’s important for me to keep my schedule organized so I can support my team and get everything done. 

I actually start my day the exact same way: making a plan before I jump into emails and meetings.

What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company?

The people – colleagues and clients. When I first started my career at a legacy PNC bank, I had no idea what I was getting in to! From my first days as a teller to my time working with top clients and wealthy families, I have been so fortunate to learn from everyone. I’ve been exposed to so many unique ideas and ways of doing things. Oh, the stories I wish I could tell! I would have never known that banking could be so much fun.

What’s something you’re especially good at at work?

I’m self aware. I know my strengths and the things I enjoy. I try to spend most of my time playing to my strengths. At the same time, diversity is incredibly important, and I try to surround myself with people that have different strengths from me. I also make sure to recognize and thank them for all they do. I make decisions and act at a fairly rapid pace, but I also hear other perspectives before making big decisions. I may not agree, but it’s good to know what I could be up against.

Another strength I have is my inquisitive nature. I genuinely want to learn about people. This quality has served me well in helping clients and in leading teams. If I understand why someone makes a decision or reacts a certain way, I can provide better advice or feedback.  

What about outside of work? 

I’m very dedicated to my family. I’m fortunate to live near my parents and sisters. We all have busy lives, so we help each other out. On top of that, my two children and their activities keep me busy, especially with a husband who has his own demanding career. I’m really enjoying coaching my daughter’s soccer team. 

Besides commitment to my family, I’m also good at making time for exercise. I schedule a workout almost each day – morning, lunch, evening – wherever I can fit it in. It keeps me sane. I grew up playing sports and played college soccer. Now, I try to run or workout most days of the week.

What’s your favorite mistake?

I make mistakes every day. There are way too many to count. My favorite ones are the ones I learn from and can do something about the next time around.

What do you love most about your job or your company? 

Throughout my entire career, I’ve been able to make each job my own. There’s a certain way I like to do things, certain clients I tend to gravitate towards, and certain community involvement I enjoy. I’ve really enjoyed the ability to achieve my career goals in ways that I find interesting.

For instance, at the very beginning of my career, I was a Branch Manager near a local university. I noticed many student athletes would come into our branch asking for overdraft refunds. No one had ever taught them to manage their finances and many of these athletes went on to professional careers. My branch team and I developed a program to teach financial literacy for student athletes.

Also, I’ve enjoyed helping women business owners and women in business succeed.  PNC supports women company-wide with our employee business resource groups, certified women business advocates, and progressive human resource policies. I’ve utilized these resources to help many female clients and employees in almost every position I’ve held. By being involved in all of PNC’s women focused programs, I’ve been able to connect with internal and external folks I never would have met otherwise.

I genuinely enjoy coming to work each day and a big part of it is because I focus on what I enjoy and utilize my own strengths rather than following a prescribed methods or processes that don’t really fit me. I’m very grateful to work at a company that allows me that flexibility.

What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?

Network. Get to know people that work at the company you are interested in – not just the hiring manager. It will help you get the job, but it will also help you ensure that company is truly the place you want to be.  

What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?

My favorite bosses have had a few things in common. All of them worked hard and efficiently.  They have all been willing to do anything they asked of their team. They have also been the ones to let me be me, make mistakes, and give me direct feedback – good and bad. They’ve set a clear strategy and let me execute in a way I can be most successful.  

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