It is with great pride that we “mix it up a bit” and have asked some of the most prominent men in the world of financial services how they support women in their careers and at their firms. It’s an honor to present our first “Dynamic Women, and the Men Who Support Them” blog with my former boss, mentor and friend, Jim Nonnengard. I’ve had the privilege to work with Jim for many years, learned from him and watched him grow our Investment Services division to the best in the bank brokerage arena. He is one of the true greats who coached and supported me (and still does) along the way! Here is his story:
– Maree Moscati, CEO, Copytalk
Executive Vice President
Head of Regions Investment Services
Do you have advice for men interested in mentoring women and how it's different than mentoring someone of your same gender?
Jim: No. Just do it–for the future of the industry, for the diverse customers that are coming to you. The statistics are out there that women are getting into the business and more women are controlling more wealth than ever. Open your mind. It just needs to happen.
I don’t want to say diversity is an initiative. At Regions, it’s part of our culture. It’s just the way we operate, and the way we want to continue to operate, and it starts at the very top of our company with our CEO. It’s the way we go to market, and we know we’ll be successful that way.
How do you support women in this industry where they're under-represented statistically?
Jim: Well, I’ve been in this business for 35 years, so I’ve seen how it has evolved, and it’s certainly heading in the right direction. But we still have work to do.
I’ve supported women in my career, hired and worked with many and reported to a few, and that continues to grow. I think women have more empathy and better listening skills sometimes than men, and it resonates, particularly with a lot of our investment customers. We recruit, retain, hire on merit and ability, but there is more merit and more ability from females than ever. At Regions, we measure not only just through revenues and assets, but also through client retention, and it’s better than ever. Additionally, our retention of employees has really improved, and I have a tendency to believe that women are more patient with their careers and give them more time to flourish.
What advice do you have for people looking to be mentors, and what do you think makes a good mentor?
Jim: I have coached and mentored several people over the years, and what I’ve learned through coaching and mentoring is that it’s not all one way. It’s not just me coaching or training someone else. I’ve learned a lot for myself, and I’ve learned a lot about people by mentoring, by being open myself to other ideas and to other opinions and other ways of doing things.
Working with Maree, we really played well together and played off of each other. When I met her, she was very experienced in the business, and so we had to figure out how to deal with a Birmingham-based Alabama bank and a South Florida bank and someone who has a New York and a Brooklyn background. But she was open to that, and there were times when I had to talk her off the ledge, and there were times where she taught me an awful lot about the market that we had just bought into. There was definitely a bigger sense of urgency in South Florida that really wasn’t where we were coming from, and she coached and brought me along, too, and it worked out really, really well.
Jim Nonnengard serves as Head of Regions Investment Services for the Wealth Management Group at Regions, a regional bank that operates throughout the South, Midwest and Texas and is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. He is responsible for providing executive and regulatory oversight of the Investment Services Department, which is comprised of Securities Licensed Financial Advisors and Insurance Licensed Bankers.
Nonnengard joined Regions (then AmSouth) in 2004 as president of AmSouth Investment Services, Inc. Previously, he served as managing director for Wachovia Securities / SouthTrust Securities in Birmingham and state sales director for Chase Manhattan in Rochester, New York.
Nonnengard is current president of and on the board of directors for the Bank Insurance and Securities Association. He holds Series 24 and Series 7 securities licenses and a state of Alabama insurance license.