“I grew up on a farm with no running water and a black-and-white television that only had one channel.”
Anna Brackin’s story begins in southern Brazil, where she spent much of her childhood with her maternal grandparents. Her early experiences created a personal understanding of financial hardship.
“That really plays a role in my story of ‘why Regions,’ and why the company’s vision and values speaks to me. I grew up very modestly and now I get to work for a company that is committed to helping make lives better,” said Brackin, who joined Regions in 2020 as head of Corporate Banking Corporate Strategy and Administration.
We sat down with Brackin to learn more about her career journey and what shaped her leadership approach, passion for people, and a knack for risk management, investigation, research and strategy that drives her success.
I grew up very modestly and now I get to work for a company that is committed to helping make lives better.
Anna Brackin, Regions Chief Compliance Officer
You immigrated to the U.S. at 15 – how did that influence your life’s path?
That was a challenging time – I didn’t speak the language and left my close extended family. It felt like my entire world had been turned upside down, but looking back, I credit that experience with building an incredible sense of adaptability and resilience in my life. When I first moved to the U.S., I noticed that I gravitated toward people who were more like me culturally, and that was the Hispanic community. As a teenager new to the country, I had to figure out how to fit in since I didn’t really ‘fit the mold,’ so I learned to relate to many different people, and I know how important it is to feel like you belong.
You received a degree in Business Administration from the University of South Florida. Did you know going in that you wanted to go into finance?
I originally went in thinking I was going to get a degree in psychology, like my father, but after a few classes I realized that wasn’t the path for me. I found I really enjoyed the creative, yet structured, nature of business school. While going to school at night, I took a full-time job in a call center that supported financial institutions, so that is what initially drew me into a career in financial services.
I moved into a role in fraud, which is where I found a passion. I am naturally very curious and what I loved about that role was having to piece together the puzzle to determine what was happening with customer behavior or a specific transaction.
I later changed firms and moved into a credit analyst role. One thing I learned while in this role, after witnessing some leaders in action, is that no matter where my career would take me, I never wanted to lose touch with the people on the front lines. It takes all associates to make a company run. That is another aspect of Regions’ culture that I really appreciate as the bank celebrates all associates with our Evergreen Week in September and specifically honors the customer-facing teams in April, with Frontline First Week.
What are some standout moments from your career so far?
There have been many, but I’ll share a couple from early in my career that helped shape both my career path and leadership style.
While working for a financial services company, I had an opportunity to run the implementation for one of the top U.S. retailers that was rolling out a new program nationwide. It was great exposure across the business, and I got to flex different muscles. I learned to appreciate how much I enjoy a role with broad responsibility, and I could see all the connections across the different areas and align them for success. That role was incredibly demanding and helped shape my leadership style, my work ethic, my belief in the importance of transparency with clients and peers, and really listening and then delivering on commitments. I had to understand the endgame, then worked to turn the strategy into execution, requiring careful application of change management to operationalize the vision. We successfully rolled out the program to 2,800 stores in 10 months.
Following that project, I was approached by a leader who saw potential in me and believed I could have a broader positive impact in the firm. He gave me my first management opportunity, leading a fraud team where I was responsible for 25 direct reports. While shadowing associates to learn the business process I noticed multiple fraud losses that were coming in on the same day. I learned by talking to the associates that our data was coming in batch mode a day late.
I asked a simple question – can we get the data near real time? And the answer was yes, but it is hard. I asked how hard? And kept pushing until they agreed to make a change. That change ultimately resulted in a 700 percent improvement in losses for very little cost.
Imposter syndrome can be a common affliction as women move into leadership. How did you navigate the self-doubt as you’ve moved up through your career? And what advice would you give others that may feel that?
Someone once mentioned to me that I would come into meetings downplaying my expertise when I first stepped into an information security role, and it really opened my eyes to how I was projecting myself into my external environment. I reflected and realized that a way to overcome that is to be authentic. I then shifted my style to be vulnerable while confident and deliberate about communicating my motives. Even if I did not have all the answers, I chose to trust that I was selected for these roles because the leaders believed I would make a positive impact. I have always been incredibly driven to make things better for all stakeholders involved and that is another thing I love about Region’s mission of creating shared value to all stakeholders. If you find yourself having doubts, my advice is to reflect on what you can bring, not on what you lack, and double down on that.
What advice do you have for others that are hoping to achieve success in their careers?
Your words matter and how you portray yourself matters – what you say and how people hear it may be different. It is not just what you say, it is about how it lands on people that matters. So be deliberate about getting feedback on your effectiveness around communication and constantly adjust your approach.
Having a vision and being able to effectively communicate to create alignment is key. Be confident in your skills, your ability, your drive, yourself.
I found that a key to success is to surround yourself with the right people, as they are a reflection of you. Also surround yourself with people that constantly challenge you and push you toward growth. Step out of your comfort zone to find people you can trust and that you bond with and have fun. Lastly, seek feedback and reflect on it as it will help you grow. A mentor once told me feedback is a gift and I truly believe that.
You joined Regions in 2020. What drew you to the Bank?
I knew a few people at Regions and they had shared the company culture with me. When I met the leadership team and saw how cohesive they were, I knew this was the place for me. I really love how the company and leadership values and supports work/life balance – and embraces all of what our associates bring to work. They see you as a whole person and allow you to place family first when needed. At this point in my life, I have a demanding career that I want to excel in, and I also have a husband, two teenage daughters and aging parents that I have to balance. Regions, by far, stood out as a place that would allow me to strike the work/life balance I desired.
Since I joined, my initial impression of the bank’s culture has only solidified. I have had a blast over the last few years in the Corporate Banking Group, where I had the opportunity to continue to grow under a phenomenal leader and work alongside an incredible team.
I was recently appointed to lead Regions Corporate Compliance Program. I am very excited about the opportunity to continue to grow professionally and to make a positive impact in this area of the bank.
When I joined Regions, it really was the culture, the leadership and the vision and values behind the brand that drew me in, and that continues to stand out above the rest.
Ready to build your career at Regions?
Associates are Regions’ most valuable resource. When they succeed, Regions succeeds. Looking for a place to chart your personal career course? Visit the Careers page on regions.com to search current job listings and to learn more about working at Regions.
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OFCCP Disclosure: Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans