Sannia Naz – Branch Manager, The Fairway Branch
Before she was the outgoing branch manager she is today, Sannia Naz was a shy college student trying to figure out what came next.
“I was so shy, I couldn’t even make a dinner reservation,” she recalls.
But, as Sannia approached graduation with a psychology degree, her mother encouraged her to take a job as a bank teller in hopes she’d gain the confidence needed for her career by talking to bank customers.
Just a few months into her new position, she found herself gaining confidence. And, in less than five years, Sannia has worked her way up to being a branch manager.
Forging a Leader by Example
Sannia attributes a lot of who she is today to her banking career.
Learning how to communicate with different levels of clients, working with upper management, and leading her own team revealed to her a level of courage she didn’t know she had.
While she credits many mentors that helped her along the say, she says it’s those who weren’t great leaders who helped mold her management style. It’s because of them that Sannia wanted to one day be a branch manager that values her team’s development and have great confidence in them.
Comfortable Being You
Sannia says values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in her role and is proud to bring her culture and unique abilities to the workplace. As a Muslim, Pakistani-America she can communicate in three languages (Arabic, Urdu, and Punjabi) and connect with customers at a unique level.
Her understanding of the importance of diversity is rooted in a childhood move to a new high school the week of 9/11 and finding herself the only Muslim girl on campus. Rather than hiding her religion because of the discourse towards Muslims, Sannia knew she had to educate her classmates instead. She created a multi-cultural day at her school which continue today, over 20 years later.
“People need relatability and comfortability. It’s important to ensure everyone can have something explained in a way that makes sense to them,” she says. “For me, banking is all about human connection.”
This Women’s History Month
Sannia encourages women to think about how happy they are with themselves – placing a premium on knowing yourself and being at peace with yourself.
While the journey to independence may not be an easy one, Sannia says it’s extremely rewarding and paves the way for more meaningful relationships. Most importantly, if there’s a change or an improvement that needs to be made in your life, start today. Learning to be enough for yourself and uncovering strengths you didn’t know you had in the process is special, so enjoy the journey!
Q&A with Sannia Naz
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
I’ve always been an advocate for female independence. In my culture, women don’t really get to be independent or outspoken. When woman is strong it’s often seen as “too much” or even intimidating to others – and I don’t think that should be the case. Women are what makes the world go around and it’s special to have a month that celebrates our strengths, capabilities, and draw attention to the movement for gender equality.
Who is someone that inspires you and why?
Malala Yousafzai is so inspiring to me. At such a young age she was speaking about activism and women’s rights in Pakistan. So was so influential that she was shot because of her ability to create change. Despite this trauma happening to her, she didn’t let it hold her back – she turned her activism into something even greater. She reminds me that if something bad happens, you need to pull yourself out of it and be better because of it. It’s not about saying “poor me,” it’s about saying “I’m not backing down.”
Do you have any advice for young women who are interested in a career in banking?
Don’t doubt yourself and give yourself a chance. Banking is an excellent way to show how capable you are at being good at something – it’s a job that turns into a career. You learn how to communicate with different types of people and make them feel comfortable, and that’s a skill that brings great value to your career and personal life. Take it from me – my mother said I needed to be a teller to build my confidence and overcome my shyness, and here I am!