Helen Barnabei has worked in banking for 19 years, and her experience in both commercial and community institutions has allowed her to watch the industry evolve. Her career journey has taken her through numerous positions: teller, customer service representative, operations manager, branch manager, and now vice president and retail manager-security officer at Fidelity Bank of Florida.
“The banking industry, like most industries these days, is becoming more electronic,” she says. “It used to be you would see lines out the door on days Social Security was being deposited. Now those checks are electronically deposited, and other types of deposits can be made by a mobile phone or other types of remote deposit machines.”
Barnabei’s ability to adapt to these changing roles and systems is a credit to her commitment to continued education and growth — the same commitment that has inspired her to pursue further schooling at Seminole State College. She’s working toward a Human Resources Administrator Technical Certificate.
She’s been inspired by the connection she feels with people she helps. Community banks allow the time and focus to connect on a more personal level, so she is able to cater to each client’s unique needs. “It’s amazing to see small businesses begin their journey when they first open an account,” she says. “Then to see their accomplishments, their growth, and how the bank can assist in the growth is very exciting.”
This connection doesn’t just extend to her clients. She emphasizes the importance of hands-on training with her retail team and enjoys watching employees learn and grow just as she did. And when she’s not at the bank, she’s watching her two sons grow, spending time with them and her husband swimming, camping, or visiting the beach.
“For me,” she says, “it’s important to commit to continued education, self-growth and learning or trying something new daily.”