“Women Leaders: Secrets to Success” with Julie Graham from First Citizens Bank

Each week on “Women Leaders: Secrets to Success”, our host, Jessica Franzini, talks to women from around the country who are taking names and breaking glass. This week, Jessica spoke to Julie Graham from First Citizens Bank.

To learn more, visit https://www.firstcitizens.com

What do you feel are your key personal factors for your success?: My faith which drives my intrinsic motivation to strive for greater than the status quo regardless of incentive.. Being surrounded by supportive colleagues, friends, family, clients and various member of the community who support me as I try to support them as well… deliberate and intentional focus on activities and time allocation toward personal and professional growth.. my innate quality of transparency and ability to apply my education and experience effectively with in my role.. awareness of my strengths and weaknesses, and how to lean into and leverage each.. tenacity.. I’ve planted many seeds over the last several years, and now they are bearing much fruit. Also, to keep your body healthy. I work out and am mindful with how I fuel myself. As, my talents and skills rely on my body to have the energy to carry them. Indulging on occasion is good for the body as well.

What is the biggest mistake you would tell your younger self to avoid?: Don’t rush. Enjoy and take in the experiences of your current step/position. The next level will come when your ready for it but be present now. Also, although your young and may have less experience or uncertainty, trust your vision- speak on it and don’t let others sway your ideas too strongly… Avoid too many distractions personally and professionally in the forms of people, leisure and even some times the less fruitful option when given a choice between two opportunities.

Do you have a mentor and do you feel it is important to have one?: Yes, many.. I have had various mentors on many areas of focus including my family, my parents who have instilled some of my best qualities at a young age, spiritual leaders, professionals more advanced than I, bosses, women in senior leadership roles in the community, fellow board members with in groups. I would add it’s important you find mentors who allign with your values and goals and are an expert in the area on which they a pouring into you- and only absorb the advice in that area. For instance there are some mentors I have learned from in a professional capacity but may not share the same faith or personal beliefs, so I take in their guidance professionally but avoid personal or spiritual absorption.

Is there a book you can recommend that would be valuable to read for a woman starting out in business?: ” Business Model You” Venture Leadership by the Jax Women’s Business Center studies this text. Gallup’s Strength Finders (take your personal assessment then review the text) “How Successful People Lead” by Max Lucado

How do you achieve balance between your professional life and personal life?: Scheduling, time management and setting boundaries. I have much flexibility with in my role which makes this easier. However, when climbing the corp ladder I did serve in roles that demanded long hours which I had to juggle with other outside projects including college and community or personal growth projects. During this time it wasn’t balanced. Sometimes one dominates the other at times and that’s ok. I just try to make up for it, schedule time off or put more focus the next week. My favorite reference to this is from an episode of iconaclasts wher Shlay Judd and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright interview each other. Judd asks Albright, “Can you really have it all as woman?” and Albright’s response is “Yes, but not at the same time,” as she references having her children a bit later in life.