Shelley Freeman leads record-setting Wells Fargo in state as it aims to add hundreds of bankers, expand its network
Near the top of Miami's banking mountain, Shelley Freeman is not necessarily the person you would expect to find. But she's there, holding down a really big fort, 38 floors above downtown in the Wells Fargo Center, regional president for Greater Miami's largest bank.
You might call Ms. Freeman an unconventional banking executive. First, she's a woman in a rarified place normally occupied by men. Second, she doesn't have a degree in banking, finance or even business administration. Instead, she climbed the corporate ladder with a degree in English literature. Third, she is married to a woman, Joni, whom she married in California. Although she doesn't go out of her way to say she is
a lesbian, she doesn't mind people
When Ms. Freeman arrived in Miami in early 2009, the banking industry and the economy were in chaos, especially in Florida, which was among the hardest hit by the housing market collapse. Wells Fargo brought her in as the company was breaking into Florida through its acquisition of the financially reeling Wachovia.
Since then, Ms. Freeman has helped establish Wells Fargo in the Sunshine State, where it has become a leading banking presence. Although she is based in Miami, she travels around the state and beyond for her job.
Despite her big-time career, Ms. Freeman has a relaxed way about her. She relishes the scenic views while driving over Miami's causeways. She likes to go swimming with her dog. And she's not shy about being a New York Giants football fan, having spent a lot of her childhood and early career in the Big Apple.
During an interview with Miami Today reporter Scott Blake, Ms. Freeman talked about her formative years, the various stages of her career, and Wells Fargo's plans for Florida.
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