Turning a job into an unexpected career
Brandy Blake shares advice on career shifts, following your passions, and making it all happen while pursuing a degree.
Remember your first job? Broadway Bank’s Brandy Blake does! As a daughter of a restaurant owner, she was no stranger to rolling up her sleeves and finding ways to be helpful during her adolescent years. It comes as no surprise that she started chipping in at her family’s restaurant at a young age, helping around the kitchen and dining area. That’s how she learned valuable lessons in entrepreneurship and perseverance, lessons that would later equip her to be an invaluable asset to her clients.
“Because I was raised by an entrepreneur and am now engaged to a business owner, I understand the world many of our local entrepreneurs and Broadway Bank customers live in,” said Brandy. “I love that I can use the skills and talents that my family taught me to support my clients. Helping them thrive is my number one goal.”
At 18 years old, Brandy started thinking about her own career and passions. That same year, Brandy landed a job at a Broadway Bank financial center and immersed herself into the banking industry. As a natural learner, she observed the processes and turned to Broadway’s seasoned financial experts for mentorship. Just two years later, Brandy’s talent and drive were noticed by Broadway Bank leadership, and she was plucked into a role at the Broadway Bank Main campus, working with the bank’s President and Chief Banking Executive, Harvey P. Hartenstine.
“As a fresh high school graduate, it was important for me to find a company that allowed their employees to pursue higher education while in the workplace. I planned on pursuing my bachelor’s degree while employed,” said Brandy. “Broadway Bank values continued learning, especially for their bankers. That’s all I needed to hear to jump on board.”
Brandy ended last year with another promotion and a fresh start for setting goals in 2022. “I love working at Broadway Bank and I’m excited to start a new journey as a Private Banker,” said Brandy. “I’m feeling refreshed, revitalized and motivated to make this year the best yet.”
As Brandy celebrates her sixth anniversary as a Broadway Banker, she is sharing her experiences and advice on career shifts, juggling school assignments with work responsibilities and lessons from her first job.
Describe a day in the life of a Private Banker.
As a Private Banker, I feel a big responsibility to my customers and their needs. The sense of duty and responsibility might be something that was ingrained in me during my early work years. The customer comes first. I use my days to visit with customers face-to-face or over the phone to understand their situations, goals and how I can play a part. I also use my time to stay up to date on current trends, offers and products that Broadway Bank provides. This allows me to think through the best solutions and recommendations for our customers.
What is your favorite part of your role at Broadway Bank?
The atmosphere at Broadway Bank. It’s a family atmosphere, with employees and customers. There is a sense of family and many of us feel like we have each other’s back. I see how our bankers appreciate and respect our customers, and our customers appreciate us in return. Broadway Bankers have a reputation for caring about their customers and building trusting, lasting relationships. I see that experience firsthand every day and it makes me proud to work here.
What interests you in the banking industry?
When I came to Broadway Bank, I didn’t think I would make a career in banking. But sometimes the universe has different plans and maybe it was part of my destiny. My mother currently works in the financial industry and my grandmother was an accountant for a law firm. I never pictured myself following in their professional footsteps and then I came to Broadway and fell in love with my job. The defining shift that made me see my role at Broadway Bank as a career more than a job was when I left the financial center and went to work with Harvey. My scope grew and I saw the professional development opportunities and possibilities. Broadway Bank is a special place where professionals can take advantage of mentorship programs and resources to build a lasting career.
Thinking back to when you were a working student, what were the tactics you used to stay on top of your responsibilities for class and your role at Broadway Bank?
Working for a company that encourages and supports its employees to pursue higher education made my experience much more attainable. With a busy schedule, it’s important to carve out time during the week to work on my assignments and keep track of deadlines. I’m a little old school and used a weekly planner to hold myself responsible and accountable for my work duties and school assignments.
What is a lesson you learned from your first job that you carry with you today?
Exceptional customer service and listening to your customers go a long way—both in the hospitality and financial industries. I’ve learned to ask the right questions and learn the goals of my customers. It’s important to listen to what they need and want to ensure you’re giving them the best financial advice that will work well for their situation. Professional and personal growth has always been something I strive for, from educational aspirations to career milestones. I encourage all young bankers to continue to develop themselves and never stop learning. Broadway Bank has provided me with many opportunities to evolve my skills and I feel truly blessed.
For more information about becoming a Broadway Banker and for a list of job opportunities, visit broadway.bank/careers.