Amira Colee: BBVA Compass has provided so much opportunity for learning
Position: Credit Products Officer, Commercial Risk & Portfolio Management
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
How did you land at BBVA Compass?
Back in 2009, during my undergraduate studies, I went on an Economics study abroad to Spain. One of our business visits was at BBVA headquarters in Madrid, and I was impressed by that experience and the discussions we had surrounding the bank’s long-term strategic focus and on banking research and development. As I was finishing my degree later that summer and preparing to begin my MBA, I applied for a position in Commercial Banking here in Florida and got the job. BBVA Compass has the right balance where we have great products and technology, but also where people are important and not just viewed as a means to an end.
How do your role and service line contribute to the bank's success?
I am part of BBVA Compass’ healthcare specialty group, which is an important segment of the Commercial Bank, comprising of a large portfolio of assets. Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry with constantly changing needs, and our group can support that by leveraging our expertise. We specifically focus on and understand healthcare financing, giving us the opportunity to create amazing experiences for the bank’s healthcare clients. I believe clients prefer a bank that understands their business and can help them be successful. I think the healthcare segment will continue to be a profitable area of growth for the bank for years to come.
What unique technical and non-technical skills do you bring to BBVA Compass?
I have an accounting background and a long history in banking in a variety of roles that have allowed me to see things from different perspectives. I can put myself into those shoes to better serve or understand my partners and our clients. When I work on a project, the accountant in me really likes to get into the details, though some of this is just my immense curiosity. I have always loved to learn, and I use that in my role every day.
How is BBVA Compass supporting your professional growth?
BBVA Compass has provided so much opportunity for learning, which is truly the facilitator for growth. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a team of mentors who are always willing and able to provide guidance and advice. Through collaboration and communication, this team shares with me a wealth of knowledge which would have taken me years to learn on my own. The bank has also provided tuition assistance as I worked towards my MBA. Now I’m able to build on that knowledge within my actual field of work, which has contributed to multiple advancement opportunities. I am appreciative to be at this point in my career where I am very satisfied, but I also know that there are more good things to come in the future.
Amira Colee: 'BBVA Compass has provided so much opportunity for learning, which is truly the facilitator for growth.'
Is there a certain experience at BBVA Compass that has been particularly significant to your career growth?
I’ve found that individual moments don’t have as much impact as the everyday experience. I have been able to build on the things that I’ve learned in such a way that I don’t feel that different as the days go by, and sometimes I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve learned very much at all. But then I go back and look at a where I was a few years ago, and I can’t believe how much I have grown.
What keeps you coming back to BBVA Compass every day?
I love my job! I’ve always been a bit of a nerd, so doing research, analyzing numbers, and solving problems fascinates me. I am also fortunate enough to have a great manager and team, and I work for a company that shares my values, and that’s important. I think it’s somewhat rare to find the intersection of belonging to the right group, doing something you really enjoy, and getting paid for it.
What are you most proud of doing in your time at BBVA Compass?
I’m proud of the times that we’ve worked hard with our partners on an opportunity and won for the bank. I guess I can also be proud of the times we’ve worked hard together and didn’t win, because we put our best foot forward as a team, and there’s no shame in that.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who was just hired, what would it be?
I’d quote Abraham Lincoln: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” We need people who care about the success of the bank and about their roles in that success, however “big” or “small” they are perceived to be. It will show because when you care, you hold yourself accountable, and you do your job to the best of your ability.
Employee Spotlight is a bi-monthly series highlighting a diverse selection of employees from across BBVA Compass’ footprint who are helping to push the bank forward. The series reinforces BBVA Compass for being a workplace of opportunity that enables its employees to contribute to its overall success.