As we prepare for the 5th Annual Diversity Leadership Forum & Award Gala, we are highlighting some our past award winners. This occasional series will focus on those that received special recognition as Executive Leaders and Emerging Leaders. We hope learning more about them will help you reach new heights in your careers.
“One has to learn quickly to define what success looks like and be able to be nimble, flexible and productive,” says Lewis Warren, managing director, Global Commercial Banking Northeast Regional executive for Bank of America. For a long time he’s believed that hard work, tenacity and perseverance pay off.
With such thinking, it’s not surprising that he’s at the top of his game. For nearly 25 years he’s been a banker in various roles, from commercial to investment banking. Currently, Warren is responsible for Middle Market and Business Banking in the Northeast, a $2 billion business. He is also a member of the company’s Management Operating Committee. Previously, he was Deputy Head of Global Investment Banking at Bank of America. Prior to joining his current firm, he was Managing Director and Head of Business Development for Global Transaction Services for Citigroup. He worked at Salomon Brothers and as investment banker at Morgan Stanley and S.G. Warburg.
Warren has had his share of challenging managers and difficult assignments. “Early-and-mid career, I had assignments where I may not have had the resources to make budget or deliver superior financial results, but one can always work through a problem or issue,” says Warren. That can-do attitude also fueled him to take career risks by seeking out opportunities to broaden his skill-set. He didn’t go it alone though. “I’ve been blessed to have worked with many exceptional leaders who set the bar of achievement high, but allowed me to make mistakes along the way, to develop and to grow. In most situations, someone has to offer you a shot to be successful – to manage a bigger team, to have a more significant P&L leadership role, to run a business. I’ve had excellent training, but I’ve always tried to self-improve and learn as much as I could, no matter what the role or the job.”
The best advice he got early in his career was to be alert to new opportunities, be a good listener, and to not hesitate to ask for advice. Lastly, “Be prepared to allow yourself to be receptive to active coaching. We all need quality coaching to develop our talents and abilities.”