DaVonte Poole spent much of his early life filled with curiosity to see the world, but without the family or economic stability to fully stretch his wings. “I knew there was something more for me out there, that there were more than just the four corners of my Chicago block. I knew the world was bigger and I wanted to see it,” he said.
After moving between different homeless shelters, he left Chicago for Alaska, where he discovered Covenant House of Alaska, a shelter in Anchorage. In Alaska, he worked several jobs in retail and hospitality—but one person changed DaVonte’s life. At NuVision Credit Union, DaVonte met LeeAnthony Jenkins, who recommended he joined their credit union and learn about the possibilities of working in the financial services industry. “From day one, LeeAnthony challenged me to learn everything I can about the financial Industry, and I accepted the challenge head on! He truly inspired me because I didn’t know that it was possible for someone in the financial Industry to look like me” says DaVonte.
After moving back to Chicago in 2017, while he was also taking the Dovetail Project, a program for high-risk fathers to understand their importance in the lives of their children, DaVonte discovered the BankWork$ program at Association House of Chicago. He knew his limited interview and office experience was limiting his professional opportunities, and felt BankWork$ could give him the tools necessary to go farther in his career in banking. He loved learning about professional roles he could take on.
“The BankWork$ curriculum included panels of program alumni speaking about their careers, and I appreciated the insights. Being able to hear others’ stories of what they went through in the industry gave me tools to put in my toolbelt. I was constantly taking notes about every little thing.”
After graduation, like all BankWork$ graduates, DaVonte attended a career fair with employers looking to hire. Wanting to learn from the ground level of how money moves as a teller, he interviewed for a position at a call center for Bank of America. “I had a great interview, and they offered me a position.” After eight months as a teller, he was promoted to a banker.
After two years of working with Bank of America, DaVonte accepted a new job at Credit Union One as a personal banker, where he became interested in mortgages and credit cards. ” As a Banker, one of your primary roles is to achieve sales goals through providing loans. When I was at Credit Union One, I was able to sell over a million dollars in loan value, which was one of the highlights of my career.” In his next career move to BMO Harris, he developed skills in commercial and business lending. “I wanted to be multi-faceted when it comes to financial services.”
In May 2022, DaVonte accepted a new role as Assistant Branch Manager at PNC Bank and is looking forward to supporting the next generation of bankers. “I’m excited about this new job! I want to be able to train a new team of bankers. I know what it takes to be a banker, and I know the habits in order to be successful. If I’m given the opportunity to multiply myself, I know can take a branch to the next level. Hopefully, we can do some great things.”
As DaVonte reflects on his career, he credits a combination of his own drive and the BankWork$ training he received. ‘Any time I received a no, I felt like I had to sharpen my toolset. I looked at myself in the mirror to figure out what was going on. You have to be your biggest motivator; when you are, nothing someone can say will knock you off your path. People told me I was crazy for wanting to be a banker. External supports can be few and far between on the road to success. I’m thankful for BankWork$ because it gives opportunities to individuals who would otherwise not even think about stepping into this industry. Because BankWork$ didn’t give up on me, I didn’t give up on myself.”
DaVonte started off with very little encouragement in his career in the financial services industry, but through perseverance, determination, and confidence he has worked his way from BankWork$ graduate to Assistant Branch Manager. We are so excited to see how DaVonte continues to make an impact on the financial services industry. Congratulations on your continued advancement in your career, DaVonte!