How long have you been with the bank?
This month I will celebrate my 25th anniversary with Wells Fargo. I started working as a teller when I was in college. I worked 30 hours a week while attending college full-time. My dad said I should go work at a bank because it would look good on my résumé.
What inspired you to go to college?
It was always a given that I would go to college. My parents sacrificed to put me and my brother through college. I was the first in the family to get an education, due to the support I received from my parents.
How did you make the leap from part-time teller to regional president?
I had a mentor at Wells Fargo. She saw something in me and gave me opportunities to grow and expand. The skills I learned from my parents, leadership from my dad, and serving others from my mom, helped me to get where I am. The vision and values of Wells—helping customers succeed financially—are so important. They match with my own values.
What do you do to mentor?
I love to develop talent. I want others to be better than I was in any job. I believe we all have an obligation to mentor those who are coming up behind us. I‘m the only female on our senior leadership team. I’m comfortable in that space, which is often referred to as "Celia and the boys." I always make sure that I’m mentoring at least a few people at once.
What was your path up the ladder?
I had to work a little harder to gain respect and prove myself. I’ve always been low key and conservative in the way I present myself. I have two young girls and I have to be a role model for them.
How many people are on your staff?
In the San Diego region I have 1,700 people in 115 locations and two area presidents reporting to me. I try to visit the branches and show my support to the staff. Due to the geography of this region, I spend a lot of time going back and forth.
How do you balance career and family?
I have a wonderful husband who is a true partner; he respects me and what I do. We are truly a team and we work together as parents. The grandparents are very helpful and I always try to attend the most important family events.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced?
I think working and getting through college was hard. I didn’t realize at the time that I was doing it. I would count that as a hurdle, and also not understanding the sacrifices that my parents were making to help me along the way.
What has been the greatest moment in your career?
When I got my promotion into this role I received a call from the CEO of Wells Fargo, who spent five minutes talking to me and congratulating me. That is one of the most memorable moments of my career so far. The greatest gift that I could give my parents was when I called them and told them that I’d received a call from the CEO. That brought everything full circle.
What do you do for yourself?
Sometimes I just like to sit and read a good mystery. I started paddleboarding, and that’s a family activity. We love the outdoors.
Where does one go from regional president?
The next step is lead region president. I’m just focusing on team members, customers, and our community. I like getting to know people and learning from others. If I continue to do that, I really believe it leads to the next job.