Get to know some of United’s Black leaders this Black History Month
United recognizes that the diversity of its team supports the Company’s overall mission to provide excellence in service to its stakeholders. Its commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion fosters respect and a shared purpose that aligns with the Bank’s core values and community leadership. Since the Bank’s founding in 1839, its leading principles have helped United grow from a single-office bank to a premier regional banking company with a strong presence throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Today, the Company holds nearly $30 billion in assets and serves a consumer and commercial customer base that is diversified across lines of business as well as geography, with close to 250 offices located throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, as well as Washington D.C.
United’s employees are its greatest asset – when team members thrive, so do customers and so does business. That’s why, this Black History Month, United is spotlighting some of its Black employees, their accomplishments, and the work they are doing to support their communities, bolstering the Bank’s commitment to ensuring that employees from entry-level to management are empowered to reach their full potential and make a difference, contributing to a culture that is entrepreneurial, efficient, relationship-based, and service oriented.
Meet Channing McDowell
Channing McDowell was born and raised in Morgantown, WV and attended West Virginia Junior College – Morgantown where she received an associate degree with a focus in Business Management. She has 18 years of experience in the financial services industry.
McDowell is now the Branch Manager, AVP at United Bank’s Benvenue Road location in Rocky Mount, NC. In this role, she oversees the operations of the branch including loan approvals, customer care, credit cards, new lines of business, and maintaining current bank assets. She thinks of herself as a coach ensuring her team is delivering on goals and objectives that ladder up to United’s overall commitment to supporting and strengthening relationships with the communities it serves.
McDowell’s work history has offered her a wealth of different experiences that have manifested as an obsession with providing excellence in service. From her first job as a sales associate at the former Elder Beerman department store in Morgantown to a server at her local Applebee’s (where she first met her now husband), to now leading her own team of staff as a branch manager, McDowell is constantly seeking new opportunities for continued growth and professional development.
McDowell continues to live by the example set by her grandmother growing up, who she says was her biggest advocate. Seeing her grandmother’s commitment to the church and caring for her family instilled in McDowell a deeper sense of the meaning of family and the importance of community. Growing up, she and her siblings played active roles in the church, acting as ushers, singing in the choir, assisting with devotions, and being Sunday school leaders. Today, she still volunteers, serving as the treasurer for Redeeming Love Ministries Baptist Church in Raleigh, as well as their women’s ministry. Her dedication to her family is also a main priority for her. In between work and volunteering, she enjoys taking trips with her sister and cousins, and spending time with her four daughters and husband.
In addition to serving her local community, McDowell is a board member of Down East Partnership for Children, a Rocky Mount nonprofit. She also serves as a member of United’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, and as a member of the North Carolina Bankers Association’s North Carolina School of Banking.
Channing’s Experience as a Black Leader
What do you attribute to your success?
The mindset, ethics, and drive that have allowed me to reach this point in my career can all be credited to my parents. From a young age, I was made familiar with the aphorism that as a Black woman, I have to work twice as hard just to be seen as equal. They had very high expectations for my siblings and me, and we always rose to the occasion. We had chores in and out of the house, we were all enrolled in sports, and we were always expected to bring home nothing less than a B – in the words of my parents, “Anyone can be a C average student.” I still follow their teachings to this day and my leaders have noticed and appreciated these qualities that were instilled in me from that young age. I worked hard, kept to my own business, and was productive. Throughout my career, as a junior-level employee and now managing my own team, I always made sure to respect authority and take ownership of my responsibilities, and I hope to inspire those around me do the same.
What would you tell your younger self that is just starting their career?
Don’t let your color discredit your hard work and dedication. People will tell you that you’re a diversity hire – checking two boxes as a Black and female manager – but you worked hard to get to where you are, and you deserve to be here.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is a reason to pause and just say “thank you” to all those who paved the way before us. Their blood, sweat, and tears are the reason we’re able to be who we are today. The opportunities we’re afforded were made possible by them and this is just a reminder to make the most of it and continue moving forward and growing.
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