Debbie Trujillo, regional corporate responsibility officer for KeyBank in Colorado, Idaho and Utah, was recently named the winner of the Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business Award in the “banking & finance” category.
Career makes local impact
A native Coloradan and Spanish speaker, Trujillo took her first banking job in 1978 as a teller at Columbia Savings. When word spread with customers that she was bilingual, Spanish-speaking customers started making the drive to her location to get their paychecks cashed in her line.
In her role today with KeyBank, Trujillo oversees corporate giving in the Colorado market, which includes Key Equipment Finance.
Trujillo's work also encompasses Key's ongoing support and partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business, which works in numerous ways with Key Equipment Finance to support first generation and low-income students from diverse backgrounds. This support includes the Summer Bridge Program, a three-week program designed to prepare students for success at Leeds, and the KeyBank Business Leadership Program, which brings together first-generation, low-income, underrepresented high school students of color from across the state to the CU campus for a one-week, on-campus business intensive experience.
Entrepreneurial mindset shapes ideas
In a Q&A with the Denver Business Journal celebrating her Outstanding Women in Business Award, Trujillo describes her background as a Latina woman climbing out of poverty to the C-suite.
Even early on, she took an entrepreneurial approach to her job. When she started as a teller in banking four decades ago, she noticed Spanish-speaking customers often weren’t comfortable with banking, and sometimes avoided financial institutions all together.
To help address this, she spent personal time translating essential documents and opened the door to an entirely new clientele. That eventually turned into Key@Work, which offers discounted checking, direct deposit and other services to employers for their employees. The program is still active at 53 locations across the U.S.
In her Q&A, Trujillo also describes the importance of bringing your authentic self to your work. When it comes to her hopes for the future, she would like to see more women in board rooms in the next decade.
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