Exchange Bank’s Dorothy Rodella wins a 2019 Latino Business Leadership Award

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Dorothy Rodella

Vice president and regional sales manager

Exchange Bank

545 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, CA


Find out more about the other 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards winners.

Dorothy Rodella of Exchange Bank in Santa Rosa advises young people to read voraciously and learn the difference between a need and a want.

Professional background: Banker all of my adult life

Education: 40-plus years of practical banking experience including training in all aspects of lending.

Staff: Nine branch managers

Biography: Dorothy Rodella is vice president and regional manager of Exchange Bank. She has nine branch managers that report to her from Cloverdale to Sebastopol. Dorothy joined Exchange Bank in 2001 and was promoted to vice president in 2005. She was promoted again to regional manager in 2016.

Dorothy is a product of vocational education, having entered banking right out of high school in 1975. Born and raised in Fresno, Dorothy is the middle child of seven raised by a single mom, and became a mother herself at age 15. Dorothy and her husband Ron have four adult children and eight grandchildren.

Exchange Bank has been serving the local community since 1890, not only through trusted banking and financial services, but also through charitable giving. Exchange Bank differs from national and regional banks by investing 100% of its charitable giving in the communities it serves in Sonoma County and Roseville (Placer County). In addition, 50.44% of the Bank’s cash dividends go to the Doyle Trust which funds the Doyle Scholarship at Santa Rosa Junior College. Since 1948, the Doyle Scholarship Fund has provided $86 million to over 132,000 students. Bank-sponsored fundraisers are a tradition that foster a spirit of giving throughout the Bank. In 2018, employees personally raised over $125,000 through a variety of fundraising activities.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Less than 72 hours after the 2017 fires ignited, Undocufund was formed. Some fire victims weren’t applying for help out of fear that information provided on Federal Emergency Management Agency applications would be shared with immigration agents. Others didn’t have required identification to cash relief checks at the bank.

I met with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees who acted as the fiscal agent along with the Graton Labor Center and the North Bay Organizing Project. The UndocuFund for Fire Relief in Sonoma County ceased operations at the end of 2018. Between October 2017 and the Fund’s closure, it raised and distributed roughly $6 million in direct assistance to almost 1,900 families whose lost homes, possessions and earnings in the devastating 2017 Northern California wildfires

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

I managed Exchange Bank’s Sebastopol branch for 13 years. During that time, the Sebastopol branch was awarded Branch of the Year three times, including back to back wins in 2011 and 2012. I am most of proud of this teamwork at its best!

What is your biggest challenge today?

Finding the quality time to successfully lead a high-performing team while balancing the administrative demands of the job.

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?

A recent Press Democrat article really spoke to the issues the Latino population continues to experience.

I am most proud of Los Cien established in 2009 and what they have accomplished in a short time. At the recent Sabores de Wine Country event, it was stated by Mark Madrid, CEO Latino Business Action Network, that one out of every five entrepreneurs are Latinos and that we are all products of resilience!

Dorothy Rodella

Vice president and regional sales manager

Exchange Bank

545 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, CA


Find out more about the other 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards winners.

Challenges continue to include access to capital, affordable homes, lack of health insurance and high out-of-pocket costs. Latino students continue to struggle to finish college.

Words that best describe you: Smart, strategic thinker, great sense of humor, loyal and responsible.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

I had to work harder and smarter than my male peers, convincing myself that I was not only worthy of promotions but that I could do the job and do it well. If not now, when? And why not me?

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

I feel that technology (artificial intelligence and algorithms) will continue to have a major impact on banking. We will need to find a balance between humans and machines, and that will require training and reassessment of the future work in banking.

Who was your most important mentor?

My mother, Jessie. She was the oldest of 14 children and a mother to seven of her own children. She taught me the value of hard work—taking tremendous pride in doing a good job. My mother enjoyed the simple joys of life. She had an amazing sense of humor and in her own soft way she taught me to “infiltrate” and do the jobs no one else wanted to do. She is and will always be my hero!

Tell us about your community involvement: I am currently the chair of the Latino Outreach Committee for Exchange Bank, striving to embrace and serve our diverse community. I’ve been a Rotarian for 23 years.

I am the past treasurer of the Healdsburg Rotary Club and currently a member of the Sebastopol Club where I have chaired major fundraisers as well served on the board. I was named Rotarian of the Year twice, and I have a standing offer to serve as president of the club. I have also served on numerous other boards and committees.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

Never give up! Stay in school. Don’t blast your personal life on social media. Be patient. Be kind. Learn the difference between a want and a need. Read voraciously.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Gina Gallo

Currently reading: “My Beloved World“ by Sonia Sotomayor

Most want to meet: Clint Eastwood

Stress relievers: Spending time with my Ron. He makes me laugh and is my soft place to fall…and he cooks!

Favorite hobbies: My favorite hobbies include photography, gardening, cats and, of course, my grandchildren.

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?

I have met numerous obstacles and adversity along the way, and I have succeeded and thrived by being resilient, caring and surrounded by individuals that recognized my value and mentored me along the way. Happy endings are possible.

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