Ayisha Devonish – Member Spotlight June 2011

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?

I am currently a Residential Lender at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, responsible for providing high net worth individuals with mortgage loans in the $1mm+ range.  I was exposed to the opportunity to work full-time at Deutsche Bank after completing a competitive undergraduate internship program with Deutsche Bank through the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) program, a prestigious career internship program that places selected undergraduate students in internships in highly coveted industries and grooms them to become successful.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

One of the greatest challenges I face at work is learning how to effectively manage client expectations in order to minimize the impact from delivering unfavorable information and/or credit decisions to clients.  In my unique client-servicing role as a residential lender, it is imperative I master the art of balancing our mandate to protect the bank with our mandate to go above and beyond to serve client needs.

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement to date was being accepted to serve as a member of CUP’s inaugural Leadership Board in 2010, and later going on to help establish a corporate partnership between CUP and Deutsche Bank.  Upon graduating from Spelman College in May 2009, I temporarily experienced extreme difficulty adjusting to my first few months of working full-time in Corporate America, after going from constantly seeing motivated and talented leaders of color on campus, to barely seeing people of color in management positions at my firm.  You can imagine my excitement when I came across CUP, where there is an overabundance of successful and driven people of color working together to promote civic engagement and tackle issues such as workplace diversity and access to opportunity for Minority and Women-Owned businesses.  Deutsche Bank’s partnership with CUP is a significant step in addressing issues of workplace diversity across Corporate America.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?

While I greatly admire such individuals as the late great Malcolm X, and the illustrious Barack and Michelle Obama, there is no one I admire more than my mother, Pastor Je’Nise Goss.  What I admire most about my mother is her dedication to entrepreneurship and service.  For the past 8 years she has consistently worked a minimum of 20 hours a day, seven days a week, to build her business (Holy GhostWriters, Inc., a ghostwriting and transcription company), pastor a church (Greater Deep Tabernacle of Faith), and support her family.  I continuously pray for the day she is able to step away from the business she has put so much time and energy into building and enjoy the fruits of all her labor.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I see myself in a position where I am able to support dedicated small business owners in the MWBE (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise) community by providing them with the resources they need in order to become self-sustainable businesses.  Watching my mother work the way she works is my reason for wanting to dedicate a significant part of myself to helping serious entrepreneurs build businesses that will allow them the ability to one day comfortably retire.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?

You are never too young to create the change you want to see. The most powerful people are those that do not let themselves or other people talk them out of doing something important to them. Do not worry about not yet having all of the resources you feel you will need in order to be successful. If you are passionate about your vision and able to mobilize a team of people around you that have strengths in areas you may have weaknesses, you can make an impact.