Amy Barrentine is a managing director in the Assed Based Lending Group for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. Amy leads the ABL Originations team for SunTrust’s Commercial Banking Markets. She joined SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in March 2005 at the formation of SunTrust’s ABL group and has been instrumental in the platform’s growth. Amy has 27 years of bank- ing experience primarily in asset-based lending, with the majority of her career focused on originations and underwriting. Prior to joining SunTrust, she was an SVP and senior underwriter for both CIT Business Credit in Atlanta and Bank of America and its predecessor organizations including NationsBank, Fleet Bank and Bank of New England. Amy has experience financing both publicly and privately-held companies in a diverse range of industries and transaction types. Amy received a Bachelor of Arts from Mercer University in 1990. She also holds security licenses series 79, 63 and 24.
Amy resides in Atlanta, Georgia. When not working, Amy is active volunteering at her children’s schools and attending their various extracurricular events.
What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Starting out in my career, I was afraid to ask questions, but as I progressed, I quickly realized that it was perfectly understandable that I did not know what dilution, cash-flow burn or liquidation thesis meant. I have been fortunate through- out my career to have great leaders and mentors and, when there have been knowledge gaps, I have leveraged their experience. It is also important to take personal responsibility to learn and grow in your career. Utilize your firm’s information such as field exams, inventory appraisals, financial statements and loan agreements. Develop relationships with the vendors who support the ABL industry as they have vast knowledge and experience and can be a great resource too. Finally, accept personal accountability…produce the best work content and own your recommendation and decisions. This won’t go unnoticed by your managers and peers.
What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning of your career?
This has been a very difficult concept for me to “attempt” to master. I am learning to turn off the computer at a certain time and be present with family. My advice, is when something needs to be addressed after disconnecting, then reconnect after the kids are in bed and don’t be afraid to ask your manager for flexibility. In the technological world in which we live, I juggle work and family responsibilities, whether taking a conference call from the car or replying to emails while waiting for my son’s base- ball practice to end. Occasionally, I work from home, and support my teammates doing so as well, as I believe balanced teammates are happy teammates.
What kind of role has mentoring and/or sponsorship played in your career?
Mentorship has been critical throughout the progression of my career. I believe it is best to find mentors outside of your direct- reporting channel to rely upon for candid advice. Get to know them, tell them about your goals and aspirations, both personally and professionally, so they can give you the best advice. In my late 20s, my mentor at NationsBank recommended that I explore asset-based lending and introduced me to the then-Head of NationsBank Asset Based Lending Group; that was 21 years ago this month and I am still enjoying a fascinating career in ABL.
What do you think the industry could do to attract and retain the best and the brightest today?
One of my favorite aspects of my job is interviewing upcoming college graduates. I am amazed by their intellect and maturity, often demonstrated by stellar grades and numerous extracurricular activities. Every summer, we hire several new analysts that have been selected after a long and competitive interview process. We invest a lot of time in the recruiting process and we are passionate about their success. In addition to competitive compensation, defining career opportunities and advancements, along with commitment to their personal growth, is a differentiator when competing for these graduates. Once we select and hire the right candidates, we invest in training and on-going development. This year we introduced a monthly lunch-and-learn session for our analysts on a variety of topics, ranging from understanding a field exam to capital structures. We leveraged leaders on our platform and vendors to be part of the training. It was a huge success! Each new hire also selects a mentor within the firm and finally we, as leaders in our group, engage routinely with them and provide feedback. Being approachable and consultative is critically important to successfully retaining top talent.
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