POWER SUIT: Patty Juarez, The Doer

By always staying positive and adding value, Wells Fargo EVP Patty Juarez has forged a remarkable and influential career path

Wells Fargo & Company Executive Vice President and Head of Diverse Segments Patty Juarez has spent more than 28 years in commercial banking in various leadership roles. Currently, Juarez is responsible for developing and executing Wells Fargo’s Diverse Segments strategy for commercial banking. She started with Wells Fargo in 1995 as a financial analyst and completed the bank’s Credit Management Training Program in 1998. She then joined the technology banking group, where she was soon promoted to credit officer; she held this position until transitioning to run a commercial banking team in Southern California in 2010.

Juarez is active in a variety of professional and community organizations. She was chairwoman and now board development chair of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which represents the interests of the county’s 30,000 Hispanic-owned businesses. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MBA from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

Diversity Woman: Tell us about your childhood and family. Describe a person who shaped who you are today.

Patty Juarez: I was born and raised in Mexicali, Mexico. I grew up surrounded by amazing family and friends, great neighbors, and many, many cousins. I used to spend most of my childhood weekends at my grandmother Pina’s house. She was the first person, even with her grade-school-level education, to teach me about finance. Back then, my mom and dad would pay me if I ironed the [school] uniform shirts for me and my sisters. I would save all the money I earned. Sometimes my grandma would run short of money before her next social security check came in. She would ask me to loan her $20. When her check came in, she would give me $22 back. She’d say, mija, thank you for the loan, and you have earned some interest! She was one of my earliest inspirations. 

DW: Describe a leadership lesson you learned early in life.

PJ: Do the best job that you can, and have a great attitude. When I started as an analyst, I would come into the office and just smile and try to be helpful to as many people as I could. I learned that if I wanted to do well, I must always give it my all and be positive! In fact, being tenacious and positive is something I focus on everyday.

DW: What obstacles have you faced in your career? 

PJ: Many times, as a young Latina banker, I was the only girl in the room and the only Latina in the room. Often,
I felt that people around me did not know how to act toward me. I frequently had feelings of self-doubt and questioned whether I belonged in those rooms. But I learned that as long as I was prepared and spoke with confidence, folks around me would listen. I learned to look beyond being the exception in the room and instead focus on what I could contribute. That made me gain confidence over time.

DW: What career advice would you give ambitious recent Latina college graduates?

PJ: For those just getting started, try to marry your passion with your career objectives. Doing what you love pretty much guarantees that you will be focused on creating positive impact. Second, there is no substitute for hard work. Make sure you add value and are strategic. That will ensure a promising future.

DW: What are you proudest of in your career?

PJ: I am proudest of the positive impact I have had with my clients, like when I have gotten their loans approved; with my colleagues, like when I have been able to coach and mentor them; and in my beloved Hispanic/Latino community and in other underserved communities, like when I can help support their goals. DW

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