Back Talk: Jacqueline Russell

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Southern Indiana

Resume: cash management sales and service, Old National Bank; asset allocation program specialist, Old National Trust Company; business development and client management, Integra Wealth Management; trust administrator, client advisor, and certified financial planner license, Old National Wealth Management; vice president and trust officer, and certified trust and fiduciary advisor, Baird Trust Company (2016-present)

Hometown: Newburgh, Indiana

Family: Husband, Rodney; son, Wesley (14); dog, Parker

“I’m a total reflector,” says Jacqueline Russell, vice president and trust specialist at Baird Trust Company. “I like to think about things, but as I started thinking about this (interview), I thought, what a great platform for me to be able to use my experiences to benefit other women and maybe other young professionals who are coming up that want to look at career paths of someone who might be similar to them.”

On the surface, Russell’s statement may appear a simple realization, but it is a testament to the mentality that has propelled her through more than 30 years in financial services and local nonprofits.

The second of 10 siblings, Russell grew up as the “assistant boss” under her older sister. She says she was taught and expected to help those around her, and it turned into a sense of responsibility that has spurred a lifetime of mentorship.

In addition to her tenured career at some of Evansville’s top financial institutions, Russell was a founding member and currently is on the advisory board of Holly’s House, a non-residential child and adult victim advocacy center. She’s also volunteered with and sat on the boards of more than 10 nonprofits. She was a YWCA mentor and is a member of Baird’s women’s employee resource group, Ascend.

As a woman in finance, what obstacles have you faced? Has that experience affected how you approach your role?

I got into the trust area, and so that’s what brought me into this industry in a bigger way. I would go to these huge symposiums and there’d be 10 percent women, and we’re talking hundreds of people. Growing up with six brothers, I was around males my whole life, but then I softened up and became a mentor. So, I wasn’t intimidated by that because I knew I had a lot to bring to the table and it’s just my background.

It did make me work harder because there was a stigma that women maybe — not that they didn’t belong — but it was more dominated by males. It was kind of special to be unique at the time. And I was like, I’m going to embrace this. It made me work so much harder to really receive the respect of my male peer group. I wanted to really embrace that challenge and hopefully be successful in it.

What does the word “mentorship” mean to you, and how have you implemented that in your career?

It’s really about setting a good example. One of the things that my mom instilled in me was doing the right thing. We’re a Catholic family; we went to church every week. I went to a religious grade school. And so, it was all about setting a good example, being the best version of yourself. And I wanted to carry that through.

I try to think about that every single day. What is the best version of yourself, and how do you want other people to see you? In my profession, unfortunately I have to go to funerals. So, how do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered in a positive way, that I cared about people, that I wanted to make a difference, and that I helped others.

What advice do you have for women taking control of their finances?

If we think about the evolution of women in careers and work life, not only are they doing what their moms did, but they also do what their dads did. So, they don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to it. There was a study done that two-thirds of women said that they deferred those financial matters to their spouse because of the demands and they don’t have the time. Some women don’t have spouses. We have a lot of blended families in the world, and so what do they do?

Something that women can do is really to talk to other people who are in the industry, just to do their own little research, and then to take a class and start with the basics. We’re trying to help women carve out that time. It’s finding the time, and you have to make it a priority.

We’ve got something called the space where we’re focused on women’s wealth.”

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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