Sunny Blanco AAPI Heritage Month Employee Profile

Sunny Blanco AAPI Heritage Month Employee Profile

05/13/2024 | Community

United Voices

Get to know some of United’s Asian team members this Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage 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 approximately $30 billion in assets and serves a consumer and commercial customer base that is diversified across lines of business as well as geography, with more than 225 offices located throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, as well as Washington, D.C., where it is the largest community bank headquartered in the D.C. Metropolitan region.

United’s employees are its greatest asset – when team members thrive, so do customers and so does business. That’s why, this Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, United is spotlighting some of its Asian 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 Sunny Blanco


Sunny Blanco Headshot

At nine years old, Sunny Blanco and her family made the move from Seoul, Korea to Virginia. Fast-forward to today, and Blanco considers herself a lifelong Virginia resident. A graduate of William & Mary and the University of Virginia School of Management, Blanco has established deep roots in the Commonwealth, an asset she uses to her advantage to better serve United Bank’s Northern Virginia client base.

As VP, commercial services officer at United and a certified treasury professional (CPT), Blanco utilizes her 23 years of banking experience to support Arlington and Alexandria commercial clients with their deposit and treasury management needs. She also works closely with bank partners – commercial lenders, business bankers, market presidents, and branch managers – to retain and acquire large deposit relationships.

Blanco graduated from William & Mary with a B.S. in psychology and sociology. And while the Commonwealth has remained a constant in her life, she has experienced her fair share of changes during her decades-long banking career. Blanco’s introduction to the banking world was as a management trainee at First Virginia Banks (now BB&T) where she learned the fundamentals of retail banking, working her way up from a teller to branch manager. She then made the move to Cardinal Bank where she worked as a retail trainer before ultimately returning to a client-facing role at Virginia Commerce Bank. There, she took on the new challenge of opening their Springfield branch, a first for Blanco. Both banks were eventually acquired by United – the latter bringing her into the United Bank fold. She went on to spend the next 18 years at United, rising through the ranks and honing her skills in the commercial services division. During her tenure at the Bank, Blanco has managed several Northern Virginia bank locations before transitioning to a commercial services role. In 2019, she was promoted to commercial services officer, a role which she still holds today. Blanco finds inspiration working alongside the Bank’s motivated, service- and goal-oriented professionals, and she is constantly looking for ways to continue learning from those around her.

While finding a career that would allow her to make an impactful contribution and help others was what originally led Blanco to the banking business, it is the opportunities for not only professional, but also personal growth, that motivates her today. Outside of work, Blanco combines her passion for giving back to her community with her professional knowledge to help support local organizations. She serves on several community boards and committees, including the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s Professional Women’s Network steering committee. She also serves on the board and the finance and executive committees of The Arc of Northern Virginia, the local chapter of the largest national non-profit organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.


Sunny’s Experience as an Asian Leader


What has your experience been like as an Asian business leader?

There’s a stereotype that says that Asians are quiet, passive, and lack social skills. In my first leadership role, I felt the need to overcompensate to disprove these stereotypes, but I quickly realized that this was the wrong approach. Luckily, I had amazing mentors and role models who encouraged me to be true to myself and shift focus from my own self-consciousness to supporting and encouraging others, and hopefully making an impactful difference in their careers – as they had done for me.

I learned to see past these stereotypes – realizing that great leaders know when to speak up and when to listen. There’s value in creating a space where others have the opportunity to be heard, and that is the furthest thing from being “passive.”

Are there any Asian leaders that inspired you in your career journey?

I had an Asian leader who served as my mentor throughout my banking career. One of the most important lessons she taught me is the importance of hard work. Regardless of race or ethnic background, with hard work and perseverance, the sky is the limit as far as what can be achieved. When I look back on my career and think about what I wish I knew then, and what I would tell younger people of color following a similar path as I did, I think of what I learned from my mentor and how I carry myself to this day. You just have to remember that you can be or do anything you want! Whatever you choose, give it 110%, always stay true to who you are, and be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. My mentor taught me to be the best in everything I do, which I strive for every single day.

What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?

Having spent most of my life in the U.S., it’s easy to feel distanced from the Korean part of my identity. AAPI Heritage Month has allowed me to better understand and embrace my culture and heritage. It has also allowed me to reflect on the many contributions the Asian and Pacific Islander communities have made, not only in the U.S., but worldwide. And an added bonus of this month is having the opportunity to indulge in and appreciate Asian cuisine!


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