Leading in Central Massachusetts: BNY Mellon VP, Tina Potenti
Monday, January 27, 2014
She is also an Alumni and will be serving as a committee member for the 2014 Board for the Emerging Leaders Program through UMASS Boston’s Center for Collaborative Leadership, a program whose goal is nourishing “emerging” leadership in metropolitan Boston by identifying and then developing future leaders for the Greater Boston region. Through this program Potenti was chosen to write and introduce the key note speaker at their graduation Former LT Governor and Babson College President- Kerry Healy.
Due to a difficult personal experience, Potenti has embarked on a journey that has made her a role model to many women struggling to change their lives.
A Conversation with Tina Potenti
SW: Let’s talk first about your career at BNY Mellon. How did your career begin?
TP: I always laugh when people ask me that question. I was that girl in school who basically got all A’s except when it came to Math. I was absolutely terrible with Math so when I applied at what is now BNY Mellon as a temporary employee for customer service position all I knew at the time was that the salary was good for someone my age and I wanted my first “real job” so desperately. During the interview the manager explained to me this was financial services and I would be answering phone calls and working with Mutual Funds. My first thought was “Oh great… this is a Math job! If you had asked me growing up if I would be in financial services let alone become a Vice President I would have thought you were crazy. However, with the support of the company, some amazing mentors and further education, I’ve made a very successful career for myself.
SW: What helped you to your succeed at a financial career path?
TP: Well, we already established Math was not my strong point so a focus on accounting was definitely not in my future. However due to relating well with people, being able to organize analyze and execute process improvements coupled with a tenacious work ethic, I found myself exceling in client facing and management type positions.
SW: You have become a role model for other women. What could have destroyed you made your life a success. Can you talk about it?
TP: Sure, I am assuming you mean personally so I’ll touch on that aspect. I basically did what everyone else does in their mid to late 20s. I had a job, got married, got into that daily life type of routine and unfortunately gained weight. I was about 70 pounds overweight at my biggest which was in 2010 but I was comfortable in my life, married and happy.
The thought of infidelity never crossed my mind until it unfortunately happened to me in early 2012. There in one night my life as I knew it for the past 11 years was gone and that’s when it hit me. I have no choice but to start over. I can’t just sit here and if I am going to start over what better way to start over than to start over with me. So I began to walk, started eating healthy, hit the gym, travelled and focused on my career.
SW: You also stepped in front of the cameras. How did that come about?
TP: My pictures… I smile when I say that because they mean so much to me for reasons I will try to explain. I was the person for so many years that hid from the camera because I wasn’t happy with myself. I missed out on so many memories captured on film because of my insecurity.
So here I was half way into my personal fitness journey and feeling really great about my progress so I decided with the encouragement of my amazing cousin to go to the Great Model Shoot at Worcester Photo Studios. This was a networking event for local photographers, models, make-up artists hairstylists etc where photographers would meet and collaborate with models in order to build their portfolios and makeup artists or hairstylists would come and do our hair and makeup in order to be able to showcase their work as well.
I stepped out in front of that camera as a testament to myself and how far I had come. I worked hard to not have to hide from a camera and I’ve been doing the pictures ever since. I get to collaborate with photographers who want certain types of pictures for their portfolios or want to practice techniques and in return for my time I get the pictures. I have made some amazing friends and met some great people through doing this and always put myself out there for projects because it keeps me on target for my fitness goals.
SW: What do you tell other women who are struggling to get back in shape?
TP: I tell everyone the same thing. If I can do this anyone can. Take one day at a time and you don’t need to buy tons of products or do crazy workout routines when you are just starting out. Eat right and a good basic workout routine is all you need. I changed the way I ate first and foremost because you can work out 5 days a week but if you are eating the wrong foods, you will not see the progress you expect or deserve. I eat clean natural foods which include fruits, veggies, meats and fish all baked or grilled. I noticed after a while my body started to crave the fruit and veggies whereas before that was the last thing I wanted to eat. You will be surprised how you will learn to love food that is good for you... Trust me!
Another thing, forget the numbers! Any amount of progress is a reward in itself and you should feel proud of every accomplishment and milestone reached. If you think the end goal is the only way to measure your success you will have missed all of the milestones along the way that should have been recognized made you feel great about all your hard work. This is a lifestyle change and the deadline is forever so just keep plugging away one day at a time and remember that your best asset is always going to be the one thing people can’t see…your strength.
SW: What is your advice for helping other women to reach their full potential?
TP: When I started this journey I had no one else in mind except for me. I was using social media as an outlet to post pictures and updates because I felt that if I put it out there I was accountable for making it happen. What I didn’t realize the impact I would have on others. People started cheering me on and supporting me and then asking me for help or tips. The last thing I expected to be was a role model or inspiration for other women but it somehow just happened and I am embracing it. If you as a person are doing something that others admire or feel inspired by and they reach out to you, take the time to talk with them, tell them your story, support them and offer encouragement, ideas and ways to reach their own greatness. Women and people in general need to find the strength in themselves and know what they are capable of achieving both personally and professionally and having a network of people in your corner goes a long way.
SW: You are active in supporting community organizations. What organizations are you involved with?
TP: I have done a lot on an individual contribution level. Clothing and food drives, drop off donations to the Animal Rescue League and for the past several years make weekly contributions to Abby House through work as well as recently collected donations to drop off from their Holiday Wish List. Through the Emerging Leaders Program I was able to work on a website redesign project for the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA and I also support my friend’s charity called T.L.C. (The Love Alive Charity) out of Jacksonville Florida which is fairly new but I am expecting to see great things come out of this.
SW: What is your favorite quote?
TP: “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” - Emile Zola
SW: What is the something that few p eo p le know about you?
TP: This is a hard one because I am an open book in so many ways. I guess something that few people know about me is that my dad was a boxer and he made sure at a young age that I learned how to strap on a pair of gloves and throw some pretty good combinations.
SW: How do you spend your free time these days?
TP: My free time is spent at the gym, spending time with friends and travelling. I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot this past year and plan to keep travelling. In the summer you can find me at the beach almost any spare chance I can get. No matter what I am doing or where I am though, my sneakers are never too far away.
SW: Any special plans for your future?
TP: I had to focus on me this past year and get to a place in my life where I wanted to be but now it’s time to pay it forward. I am looking to mentor people through work and assist with career development. I will continue to collaborate with the other Alumni of the Emerging Leaders Program on any projects or initiatives that need my support. I plan on getting more hands on in my involvement with our local nonprofit organizations and finally, I would love to start or be a part of a nonprofit organization or some type of network in our area that is geared toward educating and helping residents of Central Ma live more fit lifestyles.
GoLocalWorcester presents Leading in Central Ma, a weekly profile of an outstanding community or business leader. Join us every Monday for an inspiring look at the careers and lifestyles of Central Massachusetts’s most influential citizens.
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