Irina Pritchett is a Regions associate who has made great career moves across the bank. She started out as a risk quantitative model validation analyst in 2016, and today she leads the internal training and external communications for the LIBOR transition as the LIBOR transition and strategic risk manager.
We caught up with Pritchett to find out more about how she has grown her career at Regions, where she sees herself in the future, and what advice she can offer to others wanting to do the same.
So, tell us — how did your career at Regions begin?
My degrees are in economics, and I started as a model developer working with a grad school friend at a different bank. I ended up following this friend to Regions in 2016 and coming into model risk management and validation (MRMV) which set a new standard for a team culture of growth, development and inclusion. Originally, I was interested in coming to Regions because I wanted to find my way back to Birmingham. I stayed because of the culture and internal opportunity. While in MRMV, and with leadership’s support, I was able to serve as a founding director of the Regions Analytics Institute, a training program focused on upskilling Regions associates in the areas of programing, data, analytics and model design. I also participated in Regions’ benefits and services workstream during the development of our current parental leave policy.
Alongside my work, these engagements were key to my 2019 transition to the role of LIBOR transition and strategic risk manager. I lead the internal training and external communication efforts for the LIBOR transition, which is the industry-wide shift away from a prominent reference index. The transition impacts all areas of the bank, making it a great opportunity to gain institutional and industry expertise.
Regions is a relationship bank, and that extends to developing your career. The reputation you build is critical, and you never quite know where it will lead.
What steps have you taken to advance your career at Regions?
It’s my nature to raise my hand if there’s somewhere I can jump in, whether someone’s asking for help or if I see an opportunity myself. Sometimes it’s “little” things, like proofing a teammate’s work. Other times it’s creating an opportunity to nurture team culture or support the local community through volunteerism. I’ve raised my hand to volunteering for both sides of mentoring opportunities, moderating the Risk Greenhouse Challenge, a platform for cultivating ideas, some of which grow into strategic initiatives at the bank; organizing the MRMV Quant Summit, a conference-style event with showcasing thought-leadership from diverse quantitative areas of the bank; and serving as 2020 co-chair of the Birmingham Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Network, which works to further the bank’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
I have extended this “raising my hand” out into the community through volunteering. I organized a monthly financial literacy training lead by MRMV associates for Workshops Inc., a local nonprofit that provides vocational rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. I also mentor with Girls Inc. of Central Alabama, a nonprofit that helps and empowers girls and young women; and I volunteer with Innovate Birmingham, a local nonprofit that aims to train the region’s next generation of aspiring tech professionals.
While these activities are outside of Regions, I came to them through the connections that I made here.
How has the pandemic changed the ways in which you engage with others?
It’s changed some of the ways in which I connect with others to be more deliberate, as I’m not bumping into anyone in the elevator or lobby, and coffee dates have gone virtual. I’ve also made a conscious effort to help others form connections, especially those new to the bank. I certainly miss the chance conversations that happen when running into others in-person, but the tradeoff is not all negative. I’ve been able to volunteer much more over the past year as so many things have gone virtual. I can do a mock interview or a mentoring session over lunch, then get right back to work.
My ultimate career goal is to keep contributing, growing, and learning in ways that match these values.
What advice do you have for associates looking to develop their career?
Raising your hand and engaging with others from across your organization is so very important. Regions is a relationship bank, and that extends to developing your career. The reputation you build is critical, and you never quite know where it will lead.
In my case, my hiring manager for the LIBOR role saw me as someone who was able to partner with people across the bank to take something from idea to reality based on the work I was doing. As well as knowing my background and skills, they knew me through a mentoring group. When the opportunity arose that played to my strengths, as well as my growth goals, I was on their radar.
I encourage people to have regular, open conversations with their managers around performance, career ambitions, and what will get them there. I also recommend leaning into career tools, mentorship programs, and others.
What’s next for you career-wise?
I have no idea what’s next with any specificity — and I love that. Oftentimes, the job you’ll be doing a year or two from now doesn’t exist yet, and that’s a great thing. To me, that speaks of innovation.
While I might not know exactly what my future at Regions might look like, I do know what I value in my work – from the impact of the work, to the skills I get to lean into and those I want to cultivate. My ultimate career goal is to keep contributing, growing, and learning in ways that match these values.
Ready to build your career at Regions?
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