SVP and Internal Controls Director, PNC Business Credit
Paula Currie is SVP and Internal Controls Director for PNC Business Credit (PNCBC), where she manages 100-plus employees engaged in all aspects of field examination and operations for PNCBC nationwide, as well as overseeing field examination for PNC Corporate Banking.
Paula joined PNCBC in 1998 and has 20-plus years of experience in commercial finance and asset-based lending, having previously served as a field examiner, underwriter and regional underwriting manager.
Paula twice received the PNC’s Chairman’s Circle Award. She was nominated for and participated in PNC’s Dynamic Leadership, Executive Women’s Development, and Mentoring for Leadership Programs. Paula has served as a member of PNC’s Talent Management Council and Continuing Education Subcommittee and currently serves as a member of PNC’s Employee Business Resource Group - Women Connect and PNC ForWARD - For Women’s Advancement, Recognition & Development.
Paula received her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Joseph’s University and completed post-graduate work at Dartmouth University. She is a member of the National Association of Credit Management, SFNET (WICF committee), and TMA (NOW committee).
As a member of the SFNET, Paula has served on the 40 Under 40 Awards’ Event Planning Committee in 2017 and Leadership Council in 2018 and the WICF Events/Strategic Planning Subcommittees in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Studies have shown women are more reluctant to tout their accomplishments in the workplace. What advice would you give to help women be more comfortable with speaking up?
Women tend to view self-promotion as negative and may be uncomfortable with what feels like bragging. Some women feel that the quality of their work should speak for itself and that vocalizing their accomplishments somehow diminishes the value of their achievements. In my opinion, there are two critical steps to becoming comfortable and confident in speaking about your accomplishments.
First, recognize that self-promotion is an integral part of advancing in your career and that without it, you are hindering your success and chances of advancement. Studies have shown that women who do not promote themselves and their accomplishments are more likely to be overlooked for stretch projects, promotions and pay raises. Instead of viewing self-promotion as negative, consider it a tool to help advance your career.
Second, you can articulate your value and worth, to an organization without feeling like you are bragging or being boastful. When talking about your accomplishments, focus on the work itself and how your work contributes to the success of the company and to positive business results. If possible, quantify your worth. Provide data or examples that back up your accomplishments.
Also, don’t assume that your boss – or her/his boss – is aware of all of your accomplishments. Highlight or remind them of those achievements periodically so that when the next big project or promotion comes along, you will be considered for the job. Establish a quarterly meeting or send a monthly email to your manager to keep her/him updated on the progress of your projects. Ask for feedback.
What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
Network, find a mentor and be patient.
Building a strong professional network both inside and outside your organization is worth the time and effort. Networking not only helps you meet prospective partners and clients but also helps you develop and improve your communication and personal skills, stay abreast of the latest industry trends, keep a pulse on the job market, identify future business opportunities, and gain access to the necessary resources that will help foster your career development.
Like networking, finding a strong mentor is invaluable. The majority of women who have succeeded in their careers credit their mentor(s) with playing a significant role in helping them achieve their career aspirations. A good mentor will help guide you in your career, expand your knowledge and skill set, provide guidance, advice, motivation, emotional support, and help build your professional network.
Lastly, building a successful career takes time. Don’t be quick to accept a promotion simply because it comes with a raise, a higher title or the corner office. Ask yourself how this new opportunity aligns with your overall goals and how will it help you achieve them. Do not compare your accomplishments to others. Determine what success looks like to you and work toward that vision until you get there.
How have you approached big career decisions?
When faced with big career decisions, I evaluate how the new opportunity aligns with what is most important to me personally and professionally. Any change in career comes with new responsibility and sacrifices. I ask myself the following questions: How will this new opportunity impact my work/life balance? Does it require more work hours and/or travel? Does it require a new skill set? How will this career decision help me accomplish my ultimate career goals?
I also consult with others whose opinions I value and who have experience making similar decisions.