Q&A on workforce development with Jennifer Anderson, Wells Fargo Commercial Banking Market Executive
As executive vice president for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, Jennifer Anderson knows how to tap into the Greater Phoenix talent pool. In this Q&A, Jennifer shares her leadership journey and how she grows a strong team in Greater Phoenix.
Q: You were born and raised in Phoenix. Why do you stay?
Jennifer Anderson: I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Phoenix is where my family is and where I’ve built my career. My parents moved to Arizona in 1965 when my father started his career with Motorola. After earning my Bachelor and Master degrees at Arizona State University, I jumped right into the financial services industry and have been at it for the past 20 years. My husband is originally from Chicago but his mother is now here in Arizona. My mother is our neighbor, and she is very involved in our lives and with my two sons who are 10 and 12 years old.
Q: You created a leadership program at Wells Fargo during the economic downturn in 2010. Tell us about the program and how it helped you retain talent.
Anderson: Early in my career, I was quickly promoted from credit analyst to a relationship manager for Wells Fargo’s business banking group. Knowing the industry was difficult to navigate, I wanted to help other entry-level analysts learn the ropes so they could also climb quickly in their careers. The program included elements of mentorship and business coaching.
Q: What does Wells Fargo currently do to attract and retain talent?
Anderson: Wells Fargo is committed to hiring and retaining the best and the brightest. We offer competitive pay and benefits, and equally as important, we support the communities where we live and work. In 2018, team members personally contributed $2.8 million during our annual Community Support Campaign, in addition to the $5.46 million in corporate giving. That means we donated a total of $8.2 million to 414 grants to nonprofits, schools and community organizations in Arizona. Additionally, our team members volunteered 115,000 hours, many using the two days a year Wells Fargo provides full-time team members to serve in the community.
We are a company that employees feel proud to work for. Whether it’s building homes for those in need or providing funds to support childcare during the 2018 teacher strike, Wells Fargo works hard to attract and retain talented employees by investing in causes important to our team members and their families.
Q: What makes the Greater Phoenix workforce different from other regions?
Anderson: The workforce in Greater Phoenix is highly specialized and educated. Industries including finance, aerospace and emerging technology are booming, and educational institutions partner closely with local businesses to make sure they are developing leaders who are ready to enter the market with real-life experience and relevant skills.
Q: How do you hire talent for strategic tech roles?
Anderson: Skilled technology professionals are in high demand for organizations in the financial services industry and across the board. To find qualified candidates, we think about what’s most important to those in the technology industry: opportunity, teamwork, currency and a flexible work schedule.
Opportunity – Wells Fargo brings a lot of opportunity to new and seasoned technology professionals. We cover almost every aspect of technology across the enterprise, which provides an opportunity to grow and move within the organization, along with the ability to focus on a specialty.
Teamwork – We consistently hear from new resources that they are surprised about how well we work together. Technologists coming from other tech shops do not always have that experience. Our technology team helps and backs one another up. That is meaningful in this industry.
Cutting edge – For college graduates, getting into a technology environment that is current is crucial. When up-and-comers have just learned about the newest and greatest methods and technology applications, it can be disheartening to walk into a job that is 20-30 years behind. Wells Fargo consistently brings current technology to our environment.
Flexible Work Schedule – This is one of the strongest hooks we have to keep good people. Technology is a 24×365 job. Companies often require teams to work around the clock, so it’s important to offer on-site options and the ability to work from a dedicated home office. Tech jobs are demanding and many times require long hours over multiple days. Flexibility makes the hard times easier to swallow.
Q: What advice would you give other business leaders looking to grow their workforce?
Anderson: On a micro-level, I’ve had success nurturing my current network. I recommend leaders pay close attention to connecting positively with current employees – whether it’s mentoring new talent or showing up in person for events across the region, employees need to know they can count on their leader. In turn, they spread the good word to other qualified candidates.
On a macro-scale, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council provides support and guidance to businesses in Greater Phoenix and across the globe to provide connections to community colleges, universities and key workforce assets, including business leaders and elected officials in the region.
Jennifer Anderson is the Executive Vice President for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking. Her office is located in Phoenix.
The views expressed present the opinions of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo & Co., its affiliates and subsidiaries.