June Emerging Leader: Marlyn Benavente

As part of the SDBA’s mission to grow South Dakota’s future bank leaders, we feature a monthly emerging leader. This month’s feature is on Marlyn Benavente from Dacotah Bank in Rapid City.

First-Ever Job

When I was a teenager, I took a job as a Bank Teller at Bank of America in 1995. Becoming a banker was the best decision I had ever made as it prepared me professionally: I learned how to communicate effectively, better understand people from different backgrounds, provide exemplary service, discuss credit and finance, and sell a product or service without feeling like a salesperson.

Emerging Leader Story

Looking back on my career, I have taken on leadership roles without even realizing it. It all started with determining a purpose, and mine is to make a difference. I begin each day with a positive and ready-to-work attitude. When faced with challenges, I view those as opportunities to grow. I am passionate about my job and go above and beyond to deliver results that matter to my organization’s success, as well as my own.

Throughout my banking career, I have been blessed to be led by effective and productive managers and leaders. To maximize my growth opportunities, I study and learn about what makes them successful. I initiate conversations about my career goals and plans with people in key roles to gain insight and build relationships. Seeking additional responsibilities enables me to further my professional development. By constantly improving my skills and acquiring more knowledge, I am able to perform my job to the fullest extent of my abilities.

Up until a year ago, I served as a Branch Manager for many years. As a Manager, it was my duty to mentor, coach, and train my staff. My number one priority was to cross-train each person so that no one was left behind. Every morning, I had the opportunity to connect with my employees: plans for the day were established, assistance was offered from me when necessary, and success stories were shared. I asked for feedback, listened well, and observed those under my care. A career plan outlining goals was created for each employee to encourage their growth. Not only was I flexible, but I was also available when they needed someone to turn to or rely on for assistance. Along the way, I influenced and inspired them to become their best self. As a result, many of my direct reports have been promoted to the next level.

Just over fourteen months ago, I relocated my family to the beautiful state of South Dakota. I am grateful to Dacotah Bank for affording me the opportunity of my role in Mortgage. I look forward to a very rewarding career with them. I feel my leaders truly care about me as well as my success.

I attribute my success to my current and former managers and leaders for their mentorship and inspiration over the years. As an individual, I choose how to lead my life – personally and professionally. I strive to lead by example, get things done, and celebrate success! Regardless of my role and responsibilities, I embrace and love what I do!

What She Most Likes About Her Job

As a Mortgage Banker at Dacotah Bank, I originate, underwrite, and process FNMA, FHA, VA, USDA, Portfolio, and Construction loans. Part of the process includes analyzing credit and financial data, and making credit decisions within my lending authority.

What I enjoy most about my job in the banking industry is helping people realize their financial dreams. My favorite part in the Mortgage world is seeing people become homeowners whether as a first-time or repeat buyer.

If She Could Have Any Job

If I could have any job in the world outside of banking, I would be a United States Marine! I would be honored to serve and protect our country.

Her Life’s Passions

My life’s passions are my faith, my family, our country, and my career. My faith keeps me grounded. I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my family. In America we have always had the world’s finest men and women serving our country who protect us and preserve our freedoms. I love what I do; I feel I’ve not worked a day in my life!

In Her Spare Time

I enjoy reading leadership books in my spare time, and running is an activity that helps me unwind.

Little Known Facts About Her

My heritage is Japanese and Spanish. I was born on the island of Guam, the eldest of six children. My family moved to the United States when I was five years old. As a young child, I was raised by my grandparents and grew up with my mother’s nine adult siblings.

Early on in life I learned to work hard, take pride in everything I do, and that there’s never a free ride!

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