Seizing job opportunities and supporting diversity
Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank,
Armed with an undergrad degree in political science from the U.S. Naval Academy and six years of experience as a naval officer, Monica Stevens landed a job at a lobbying firm and was all set to start her civilian career.
She quickly discovered that lobbying was not the right field for her. “Working with politicians is difficult,” she says.
It may have not been the best fit, but the job set Stevens on a new path to a rewarding career: financing instead of entitling real estate transactions.
Getting an MBA was the obvious next step, and UC Berkeley, with its reputation in real estate and location next to her hometown, Oakland, was the clear choice. Through Haas, Stevens was hired in 1996 at Wells Fargo, where she has worked ever since.
“I practically stumbled into two great life partners—Haas and Wells Fargo—which have allowed me to be challenged at work and give back to the community,” she says.
Within Wells Fargo Stevens has had five different jobs, starting in real estate merchant banking, underwriting structured real estate debt transactions. She then moved to recruiting MBAs from top business schools, including Haas. After that, she joined the syndications team covering the West, structuring mid- to large-sized facilities for businesses in a variety of industries.
Getting married, buying a house, and having a daughter all within 12 months, Stevens switched to a position that required less travel and long hours. She managed the financial analyst program and brought the instruction in house. After three years with internal development, she missed doing deals. So she became a loan team manager in the global banking group. As a senior vice president, she manages a team of relationship managers and analysts tasked with providing credit, trade, treasury management, and foreign exchange products to customers with international needs.
“I couldn’t do what I do today without Haas,” Stevens says. “As a career changer, the skills I learned at Haas continue to help me be effective today at Wells.”
“When I came to Haas, the student body was pretty diverse,” adds Stevens, who continues to help Haas create a diverse student body as co-chair of the Haas Diversity Leadership Council. Stevens works with school leaders to make Haas more welcoming to students from different backgrounds and reaches out to prospective students “to get them to know and help them say yes to Haas.” She also mentors Haas alums at Wells, many of whom have thrived in her company.
“At Wells Fargo I’ve been able to be part of a company where I can change and grow and still be challenged,” she says. “I thank Haas for the preparation, the introduction, and the continued support.”