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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 24, 2013, 6:35 am

Women in Business 2013 keynote speaker: Jamie Moldafsky, Wells Fargo

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    2013 Women in BusinessLooking back on a professional career that has included marketing and general management roles in fields including financial services, startups and manufacturing, Jamie Moldafsky noted a common thread extending to her to her role today in guiding the overall brand focus of the 265,000-employee Wells Fargo Bank.

    Each of those roles, she said, has involved a focus on customer experiences and an opportunity to learn within different industries and corporate cultures. As Wells Fargo’s chief marketing officer, those experiences have helped to cultivate a shared approach across an institution with a myriad of products and services.

    Jamie Moldafsky

    Jamie Moldafsky

    “It feels different if you’re a commercial customer or a consumer, but there is a common theme,” said Ms. Moldafsky of Wells Fargo’s approach.   

    Today, Ms. Moldofsky is charged with maintaining and guiding the identity of one of the world’s most recognizable brands. She has served in her current role for two years, with a total of seven years at Wells Fargo that included her former position as executive vice president of home equity acquisition and customer management.

    Her responsibilities include the bank’s advertising and marketing across a variety of mediums, market research, social media management and leadership of 11 different history museums, as well as contributing to the general strategic planning for various products and services.

    That role has become one of greater complexity in recent years, as customers are now more able to directly interact with companies in the realm of social media, she said.

    “It used to be you controlled your message — you issued a press release, you bought an ad. Now, you have to earn your right to be part of that conversation,” she said.

    Prior to Wells Fargo, Ms. Moldafsky served in roles that included guiding the strategic direction for profitability as general manager for Whirpool Corp.’s Kitchen Aid brand, senior vice president of retail marketing at Charles Schwab and senior marketing roles at American Express.

    It was at American Express that Ms. Moldafsky said she chose to pursue her MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Yet it was experiences in her earlier education, including the decision to intern at a newspaper in India while completing her University of Michigan bachelor’s degree in a study abroad program, that Ms. Moldafsky credited for helping to cultivate what would become her professional focus.

    “I always looked at — how is what I do next going to help me grow to be better?” she said. “I’ve tried to leverage what I’m good at and pursue things I don’t know yet.”

    In high school, outside pursuits included volunteer work at a local hospital. It was a formative experience, the sort that Ms. Moldafsky lamented has morphed from self-discovery to a means of padding a college resume for many of today’s students.

    “Unfortunately today, it’s checking off boxes for applications,” she said. “For me, all of those experiences were about helping me decide what I liked.”

    In reflecting on her current and prior roles in advance of her keynote presentation at the North Bay Business Journal’s 2013 Women in Business Awards July 10, Ms. Moldafsky recalled that she was at one point the only woman on a leadership team of 25 individuals at Whirlpool.

    Today, at Wells Fargo, she noted a number of female leaders in the upper ranks of the organization. The face of business has become more diverse, and is coming to embrace a reality for many female professionals.

    That’s important “at a minimum — if you decide to have kids,” said Ms. Moldafsky, herself a mother of two.

    Ms. Moldafsky’s role at Wells Fargo comes at a time when the memory of the recent financial crisis remains strong for many borrowers, causing some to look at their financial institution with greater scrutiny. The period highlights the merits of strong customer relationships, she said, with “conversations” initiatives across the company among her efforts to encourage employees to build those ties.

     ”I’m not going to get us there single-handedly,” she said. “You have to have everyone rowing in the same direction. Companies where people aren’t in alignment, and aren’t thinking of the customer — that’s transparent.”

     

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