Deborah Charles is the Black talent the financial services industry pretends doesn’t exist. Deborah has had orchestra seats to some of the financial services industry’s most pivotal moments. Too Big To Merge. Too Big To Fail. The Mortgage Crisis. Dodd-Frank and CFPB (Consumer Finance Protection Bureau) mandates.
In 1998, Deborah joined Citigroup’s eCiti division and led the go-to-market strategy for online banking, investing and aggregation (citi F/I and myciti). While there, Deborah made history as the only acquisition manager to close any sales, in a period spanning almost an two years. Deborah also introduced the two-day delivery to the market as part of the product offering for citi F/I- in one of the few times financial services had the opportunity to lead retail. (Prime would not launch until five years later.) However, as hard as she tried, the then CEO, Sandy Weill, would abandon the online banking service. Many industry pandits believe, this departure contributed to Citibank’s decline from the perch as the number one bank in the world.
It was World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2002, which motivated Deborah to leave the New York area for the slower pace of the south. After a series of industry firsts at Wachovia, where Deborah served as the linchpin between digital and traditional marketing divisions, she departed shortly after the Wells Fargo merger.
Still married to the industry, in 2010, Deborah would ignite Bank of America’s Northwest Transition of Online Services. Along the way, Deborah would earn the recognition as, “the best delivery manager eCommerce has ever had.” Also acknowledged as one of the bank’s best change managers, Deborah would continue to support the bank in various role until November, 2020.
Concerned both by COVID, and her increasing awareness of global environmental injustices, Deborah shifted her focus to social and sustainability causes. Today, Deborah is a United Nations Food Systems Summit Food Hero, a member of the Climate Reality Project Leadership Corp, and developing her first book, “There Goes My Baby”. Deborah’s story of how the mail product feature she created with the United States Postal Service (USPS) has morphed into one of the planet’s most environmentally damaging services.
Deborah is a natural born advocate. Deborah’s life philosophy: Destination determines the journey. Know where you’re going! Let passion and purpose be your guide.