In honor of Women’s History Month, we celebrate the dedicated women who make Associated Bank the Midwest’s premier financial services company. Today, we are featuring Brenda Griep, SVP, director of technology administration, who shares her experience as a senior leader in a technology field.
Griep joined Associated Bank’s Operations & Technology team as a project manager in October 2010. Since that time, she has taken on additional responsibilities to lead our Enterprise Project Office (EPO), serving as program management office manager and enterprise project management director before being named director of technology administration in October 2020.
In her current role, she is accountable for a number of functional areas within Bank Operations, including Commercial Loan & International Trade Services, Deposits & Payment Transactions, and Treasury Management Services. In addition, she oversees the enterprise project portfolio and acquisition integration, providing leadership and guidance to ensure projects are aligned to strategy and business goals. Her team also builds and maintains sustainable project management practices and governance to ensure the consistent execution of projects across the organization.
How did you begin your career in technology?
I began my career as an assistant service director with United HealthCare, implementing and managing an enhanced customer service model across the organization. From this role to leading a project management office, I have always either sat within IT or had heavy partnership and respect for the role it plays in the success of a business. I have told many folks over the years that I am the least technical person in the sense of true IT; however, through my strategic thinking and ability to innovate, I view myself as a very successful IT colleague and partner.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy the endless amount of opportunity and challenge. It allows me to continually think about how I can make a difference. I am able to be courageous without fear.
What are the most important skillsets you look for in someone interested in technology?
Interestingly, for my role in IT, I look beyond the technology skillset and focus on their people and management skills along with the individual’s work ethic. The ability to challenge the status quo and ask questions to understand can spark innovative ways to do things or uncover root causes that help us analyze for change.
What is the most innovative project you’ve been involved with?
We are always focused on opportunities to be innovative and inspire new ideas, so it’s difficult to name a single project. Sometimes the innovation is not in an innovative outcome or deliverable, but rather thinking innovatively to reach end of job. When you challenge yourself and others to stretch their own goals, the result is sharpened skills, developed talent, gained efficiencies, and robust partnering and networks. Those are just a few of the successful achievements reached while being able to deliver on a project or service.
What do you feel is most unique about your team? What might interest someone in becoming part of Associated’s technology team?
My team is unique in that we’re accountable for many different functions that work well together while also having a wide connection with most areas of the organization. We manage company-wide acquisition efforts and support strategic project efforts for all lines of business, while also managing day-to-day back office bank operations. My team has the privilege to be exposed to a variety of partners, roles and colleagues across the company in our daily work.
What would you want women to know who are interested in technology?
At the risk of sounding cliché, I would tell women interested in technology that the possibilities are endless. You will have the opportunity to develop a well-rounded foundational skill set, while learning to think innovatively, strategically and logically at the same time. It’s important to be savvy and in tune with what is happening around you and what the future may hold. Be courageous and be willing to trust yourself and your instincts. As a leader, I am always open to exchanging ideas to aid in development, discuss the challenges we face, set goals and discuss future opportunities.