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Welcome to Her Success Story.

Women inspire me every single day. Their tenacity, wit, enthusiasm, power and grace have provided the world with amazing businesses that have transformed industries. Her Success Story is a podcast that allows these impactful and fascinating women to share their success journey with the world. Their triumphs, along with their failures. Their lessons, along with their leadership. And their determination to follow their dreams. Listen in each week as we talk to women in fashion, coaching, corporate, legal and so much more.

Our theme song is Irresistible Me by Cindy Rainne. 

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Feb 18, 2019

Barbara J. Smith
Senior Vice President
Director of Key4Women
Key Bank N.A.

Executive Council

Barbara J. Smith (Barb) is the Senior Vice President and Director of Key4Women, a nationwide community of entrepreneurial and executive business women brought together by KeyBank to help them thrive. Barb also serves as the co-chair of the Key Women’s Network, which was launched to enhance Key’s success by cultivating a work environment that engages, empowers and inspires employees to achieve their full leadership potential.

Prior to this assignment with the company, Barb was the Director of Enterprise Communications for KeyCorp, supporting the Community Bank, the Corporate Bank and Shared Services. In this role Barb was responsible for setting the strategic direction and execution of internal communications at Key, partnering closely with External Communications to develop complementary internal and external communications to enhance and protect Key’s reputation.

In her 23-year tenure with Key, Barb has held the positions of Director of Integration for the Consumer / Small Business and Business Banking Segment, District Retail Leader for KeyBank's Central Indiana District, as well as other senior management roles at Key associated with business banking and retail banking. Before joining Key, she held management positions in retail banking with Bank One Akron, NA (now Chase).

Barb holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University. She attended both the Consumer Banking Association Graduate Program of Retail Bank Management at the University of Virginia & the American Bankers Associations Ohio Banking School at Ohio University. She is also a graduate of the Governmental Leadership Program at Kent State University. Barb serves on the National Board of the Alumni Association for Kent State, the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, and the Board of Directors for the Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD).

Barb has held the elected position of Vice Mayor and Ward One Councilwoman for the City of Solon, Vice President of the Solon Recreation Commission, Vice President & Treasurer for the Cleveland Better Business Bureau, and Board of Director for Solon Chamber of Commerce.

She is a three-time recipient of KeyBank’s Chairman’s Award–- the highest annual recognition awarded by KeyBank’s Chairman.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why she’s an accidental banker and all the exciting roles within the banking world
  • Why her career is like a jungle gym and what that has done for her
  • Her supportive family and why it enabled her to take risks in her career
  • Knowing when it’s time to delegate and give up some control
  • The opportunity that failure brings and why you need to move the emotion away
  • The ability to say no
  • Running for council and why she had to do it, even though her life was so busy already
  • Understanding where the ‘no’ is coming from and following through when needed
  • Your choices and asking for help, especially with finances, as a woman in business