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A Journey to Excellence

BN360 is excited to introduce you to Darnell Haywood. Darnell is the first BN360 Spotlight Professional of 2020. Spotlight Professionals are young people who live and work in Buffalo Niagara. They are professionally motivated their industries and careers and are passionate about giving back to the community.

Upon meeting Darnell, it is quite clear to see just why he was selected as a 2020 BN360 Spotlight Professional. Aside from his many professional accomplishments, and continued passion and efforts to better the community, especially through mentorship, Darnell has a positive energy that is simply contagious.

[Q] Where are you, professionally, at this moment?

In joining BankonBuffalo, I had the opportunity to move into a more community focused position. I currently serve as the Community Office Assistant Manager. Within my role, I work as a representative of BankonBuffalo within the community.

As an organization, we work to be both present and engaged in the community in many ways. One project I am especially passionate about is the financial literacy classes we are providing with in the Northland Corridor.

[Q] Where do you want to be professionally? Today? Tomorrow? Next year?

Today, I am in a great place. I wanted to be in a position where I could influence positive change in the community. As the Community Office Assistant Manager, I am in a position to do just that.

As for tomorrow, I can honestly say, I don’t know. I see myself continuing along the path of community engagement and hope to develop an even strong position in that space. I think it is most important to work hard, do the best job you can with where you are, and to be grateful when you make it to the next step.

Next year, is exciting. BankonBuffalo is continuing to grow and develop within the Buffalo Niagara market. There is so much potential in the region. It is really exciting!

As I continue my professional journey, today, tomorrow, next year and beyond, I will continue to seek and follow great mentors. I try to find people who are in my role or in my dream role in the financial industry.

[Q] What quality has helped you most to find professional success?

I would say it is my ability to be both easy going and to adapt to change. I have been in banking for almost 15 years, within that time, I have been through two acquisitions and three mergers while serving in a leadership role. In any role in any industry, being able to adapt to change and to be successful within that adaption is very important. Today’s world is constantly moving and changing. We must do so with it.

[Q] What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome professionally?

Myself. We all face personal obstacles that we must first recognize, and then overcome. For me, I don’t always think I push myself as hard as I could or should. I also can overthink challenges or opportunities. Overthinking is fine line, right? You want to give a challenge or opportunity enough consideration, but not too much that you miss judge the timeframe.

Making the choice to join BankonBuffalo was a huge professional step for me. I had been in banking for over 10 years, mostly with large banks. Then, this opportunity came along at a brand new, and relatively speaking, smaller bank. It was risk, but a risk that was worth the reward because now I am in a position and on a trajectory that I am passionate about.

[Q] How do you help others to be successful?

Mentorship has been extremely important and valuable to me. I continue to give back, sharing my time and expertise as a mentor. Riverside High School has a great mentoring program where you work with a student from freshman year through senior year as they navigate their next steps. I found this experience to be extremely rewarding. And, in fact, I just saw my mentee. We have continued to keep in touch over the years. Junior Achievement has also been a great experience in helping others to find their path to success.

[Q] What are some resources you utilize to help yourself professionally?

I have had the opportunity to surround myself with an incredible group of friends. Some are from childhood, some from work experiences, some who have crossed my path along the way. We motivate each other. We celebrate personal and professional wins and talk through challenges. Open communication and trust are incredibly valuable and has been so helpful to me.

This content was produced in collaboration between Buffalo Rising and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. The facts and opinions published in Buffalo Rising express solely the thoughts and opinions of our respective authors.

Written by BN360

BN360

BN360 is the region’s premier young professionals program. Through a variety of programs and events, BN360 focuses on the tenets of: connect, develop, and empower—creating an inclusive and collaborative network of resources that can empower talented individuals to achieve their goals for professional growth and success. BN360 is a program of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

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