Terri LailClass of 1994
Senior Vice-President / Senior Data Architect, Bank of America, Charlotte, NC

The banking industry is one of the most vital sectors necessary for our society to function and can be considered the lifeblood of economic activity. Individuals and businesses need to be able to trust that their banks are safe and efficient, that their money is well-maintained, and that their personal information is secure. But the average person going about his or her day isn’t likely to give much thought to the hard-working individuals who make sure that the proper standards of a banking institution are maintained.

“I sit in Bank of America’s Chief Data Office within the Enterprise Data Management Governance organization,” explains Terri Lail. “My team owns the Enterprise Data Management Policy and supporting Standards, which serve as a foundational control to ensure data risks are mitigated, monitored, and controlled across the data lifecycle (from data capture through data use) and across the enterprise.” She and her team ensure the bank has the right guidance and tools to sustain adherence to the Enterprise Data Management Policy and Standards, while simplifying the complexities of data management and improving the bank’s agility to adapt to new data-centric capabilities and enhanced global regulatory expectations.

“I enjoy many aspects of my job. My position allows me to build business acumen and relationships across the enterprise. My team and I continuously improve processes and controls to manage data responsibly, efficiently, and effectively. I take pride in working for a company that places the highest value on diversity and inclusion, community support/involvement, employee engagement, and career development.”

Such an essential job has its continual challenges, including keeping up with our ever-changing world. “This group is on the forefront of technological advances and emerging regulations in the financial services industry (e.g., Artificial Intelligence) and is frequently entrusted with complex problems to solve on the bank’s behalf. But I take tremendous satisfaction in knowing that my work brings value to regulators, customers, employees, and shareholders and stability to global financial markets as a whole.”

Terri received two Bachelor of Science degrees from NC State University, one in Chemical Engineering and another in Pulp and Paper Science and Technology, and then went on to earn a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Georgia State University.

“My first role out of college was with Honeywell Industrial Automation and Controls as an application engineer. More than anything else, this role taught me the importance of relationships and the value in spending the time and effort to nourish them. In my time at Honeywell, I was also given the opportunity to pursue a Six Sigma Certification; this certification and the entire process improvement mindset have shaped my entire career. The certification allowed me to enter the financial services industry and continues to shape and support the work I do on a daily basis. Every problem or opportunity breaks down to process, and knowing how to define, measure, analyze, improve, and control a process has allowed me to work in various roles across Bank of America – Innovation and Development, Six Sigma Education, Home Loans, Risk, Treasury Servicing and Fulfillment and Anti-Money Laundering Operations.”

Terri’s classes and activities at East Burke helped give her the incentive to succeed. “My great experiences in science and math with teachers like Mr. Jimmy Hipps, Mr. Mark Jolley, Mrs. Rory Hefner, and Mrs. Lucille Bond, as well as fun activities like Science Olympiad, inspired me to pursue an education in chemical engineering. Although I’m not currently working in that field specifically, the problem-solving concepts I learned are applicable across all fields and industries.

“Dr. Robert McAdams taught me the importance of keeping up with current events – we owe it to ourselves to be aware and informed as responsible and caring citizens.

“My participation in the music department with Mr. Jim Williams stirred my passion for music and the arts and made me a strong advocate for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). It taught me academic and artistic pursuits are equally important and valuable in developing critical skills and values. Musical performances in the Chamber Singers and in the musical ‘The Music Man,’ directed by Miss Phyllis Garrison, instilled values that translate well to corporate America, including Bank of America’s core values: Deliver together, Act responsibly, Realize the power of our people, Trust the team.”

Terri also credits her high school friends and peers for uplifting and supporting her and each other. “We were not made to do life alone, and my support system began in high school, carried me through undergraduate and graduate studies and into corporate America.”

Bank of America is known for its community outreach and partnerships. The company’s innovative employee networks provide teammates opportunities to connect with one another, develop leadership skills, build strong ties to the communities they serve, and bring lasting value to their business strategies. “I participate in several Bank of America employee networks including: My Environment; Women in Technology and Operations; and Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development for Women.

“Bank of America recently kicked off a campaign centered on the question: ‘What would you like the power to do?’ I would like to help as many people as I can answer that question and empower them to see they can make it happen. As Jim Valvano so eloquently said, ‘In every single day, in every walk of life, ordinary people do extraordinary things. Ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things.’”

Published January 2020

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