Senior Vice President of Operations and Northeast director, Gerber+
40 Under 40 Category: Portfolio/Risk Management
Entela Semini is the senior vice president of operations and Northeast director of Gerber+, a division of Gerber Finance, Inc. Entela interfaces daily with clients ensuring that the system of funding the portfolio is efficient and straightforward. She is responsible for a large portion of the Gerber portfolio. Entela works on developing new relationships with companies that would benefit from financing with Gerber and its newest division, Gerber+ which services businesses seeking a higher level of funding ranging from $10-25 million.
Entela began her career in commercial finance as an analyst with Gerber Finance in 2006 and throughout the years she has held different roles in the organization. She holds a B.A in finance from Pace University.
Entela was born in Albania and moved to the States as a teenager. She currently lives in New York with her husband and two kids.
What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?
Work hard, be humble! This advice came early on in my life from my parents. They instilled in me the value of hard work, the importance of committing and giving it all, and manage my responsibilities. They always believed in me and emphasized the importance of dreaming big, be that in school, in my career, or in life. They always stressed the value of remembering your beginnings and being grateful for what I have. This is advice I have received throughout my life personally and professionally, and certainly is advice that I take to heart and apply every day.
What is your definition of success?
Success is achieving your goals, be that short-term or long-term, in your professional and personal life. For me success is being able to look back and say now or in the future: I did it, I am proud of my personal and professional triumphs. I did it on my own terms, without compromising my values and beliefs. In simple words, being happy with my achievements in all aspects of life.
How do you define a good leader?
My definition of a good leader is someone that encourages collaboration, professional growth and provides mentorship and opportunities to young professionals. Throughout my professional career, I have been very fortunate to have had continuous support from managers and leaders. They have always encouraged me to keep moving forward, to bring my best to the table, and get out of my comfort zone. They have always advised aiming for the next chapter in my career. My career trajectory is certainly a combination of hard work and commitment, patience, and hunger on my side, but also the steady support from management and leadership that I have received throughout the years. To me, that is the essence of a good leader and the leader I hope to be.
What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?
I always think of mentoring as an opportunity to give back to the company and industry by teaching the new generation entering the industry, and so I always make myself available to the junior team members in my organization.
When I am given the opportunity to mentor someone, the first advice I give is to not be afraid of asking questions; there are no bad questions. Be curious and challenge yourself; questions are an opportunity for development and professional growth so take advantage.
I would advise my young team members to build their network internally within the firm and externally by attending as many industry events as possible. This will allow them to build and nurture new relationships and it will help the career trajectory tremendously.
How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life?
At Gerber, we have a program called, “Hope-Full Kids” through the Gerber Finance Foundation. This program offers employees the opportunity to volunteer together and help provide breakfast and lunch for children in need during school holidays. It is a program very near and dear to my heart and there is no better feeling than being able to help children in our community. It is also a good way to learn how to work together in teams and to help develop organizational skills. So, I would suggest to every young professional to find a volunteering program that means something to them and to try and volunteer as much as they can.