Our Single Steps Strategies Spotlight for the month of February 2018 is Jennifer Bibb, Banking Center Manager from WesBanco. Ms. Bibb is also one of the co-founders of a local women’s networking group, P.O.S.H. Women, who is committed to connecting with local business women in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Originally from Jeannette PA, Jennifer now lives in Mt. Lebanon. She enjoys cooking reading, golf and watching sporting events with her family.
We recently spent some time with Jennifer to learn more about how she fell into her banking career, started P.O.S.H. Women, all while still being the CEO of her life.
Question: Tell us what prompted you to choose the career path that you chose…what was your “single step” in that direction?
Answer: I started in banking young, 19 years old. I started as part-time teller who really did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I quickly loved banking and while working in a slower branch spent most of my days reading articles, company training manuals, etc. to further my knowledge. I knew that I had a passion to help my clients feel secure in their financial lives and that the more I knew, the more I could help. I did not go to college and always worried that would be a stumbling block for me some day. The reality is that this helped me to work just a little harder, to show myself and everyone else that I truly had what it takes to be successful. Now I am a proud employee of a great company and I treat my branch as my own business. From the growth of the branch to the operational effectiveness, I believe in taking ownership and taking the steps necessary to run as my own.
Question: What services do you provide through your banking position? Is there any related advice you can offer to local women who might be looking to start their own company or develop a skill?
Answer: I offer banking and financial services to both consumers and businesses. Financial Education is very important to our communities and especially to business owners. They have so much on their plate already; with guidance and the right product fit, we can find solutions to give them more time to spend in their business than in line at the bank. I would definitely recommend having a great relationship with your banker as well as the rest of your “team,” attorney, CPA, advisor, etc. These relationships will be valuable as you move through the process of starting and growing a business. The more we know the more help we can provide.
Question: You are the co-founder of a women’s group, POSH Women, can you tell us about how that journey started and what you hope to accomplish with the group?
Answer: POSH was founded by Jackie von Thun and I after a discussion on networking options for women in the South Hills area. There are so many great choices available and each one offers something special. We knew that we wanted to create an environment that women could gather to discuss issues, celebrate success, share ideas and just be there to empower and encourage one another. It started as a discussion on what would be nice to have and literally washing dishes in my kitchen that night the thought that we could make this a reality really struck.
We met again to set meeting structure, how things would flow and come up with a name. We tossed around some things and kept coming back to “South Hills” since that is our market. With the “SH” set on the end we went through some words with the same ending and also liked “power.” POSH Women stands for Power of South Hills Women. We loved being able to call ourselves POSH since the definition is the quality or state of being elegant, stylish, or upper-class. That fits our ladies so perfectly!
With the identified goals that we had for the group, we started advertising and crossed our fingers. Our first meeting was held in January, 2017 and 25 ladies showed up! Our vision was becoming a success. We continued to grow and found a permanent home at Houlihan’s that seats 40 in the private room. We have maxed out (and had a waitlist!) for every meeting since. It is amazing to see so many women come together every month to encourage and empower. Every meeting is so full of energy!
Question: What are some challenges that you have seen that are specific to woman-owned businesses? What advice do you have for overcoming them?
Answer: Sometimes, I think the biggest challenge is just confidence. Know that you can do anything and have the courage to do it. Don’t worry about traditionally male dominated industries or being new to something. Focus on how awesome you are and that you’re the right person to serve that client.
Question: Looking back, what do you know now (about business) that you wish you knew when you started out?
Answer: It’s ok to say no! I think sometimes we feel that the more we can be counted on for something or the more tasks we sign up for the better off we’ll be. I value the experiences that I had but know how important it is to have time for family and friends and the things that you enjoy. A break is ok!
Question: Can you tell us about a time where you stepped out of your comfort zone to help you focus on your career and path to success?
Answer: When I meet people today, they tell me that they can tell I love to network. I do now but it wasn’t always that way. It’s a funny and long story how I got to this point but it basically involved being tossed into a networking group, taken under the wing of many women in the group and never looking back! Networking and connecting is now a major part of my personal and professional life.
Question: What your business looking forward to in 2018?
Answer: I am looking forward to helping even more clients achieve their financial goals in 2018, whether it is to finally start that savings account or get a loan to buy a new home. Becoming the trusted banking partner for everyone I meet.
To learn more about P.O.S.H. Women or meet Jennifer, stay in touch on Facebook and be in the KNOW! Their next event is scheduled for Wednesday, February 21st. For complete details, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/posh-february-luncheon-tickets-42358801315