By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
Patrick Yalung, a Filipino American, is the president of Wells Fargo of the Northwest. He oversees about 130 branches and 1,500 employees.
Yalung joined Wells Fargo in 1983. Previously, he was the regional president for Wells Fargo in Greater Arizona. He is a member of the National Board of Advisors for the University of Arizona Eller College of Business and Public Administration, the Pacific Coast Banking School Administrative Board, and the Washington Bankers Association Board of Directors.
Yalung is also the national spokesperson for Wells Fargo Asian Business Services. As spokesperson, he works with key national organizations to support continued growth of the Asian business community.<!–more–>
Yalung earned his Bachelor of Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He also earned a graduate degree from the Pacific Coast Banking School, based out of the University of Washington.
1. Why is it important to you to contribute to your community?
We all have a responsibility to give back, and when we do that, we create a better place to live, work, and raise our families. As a result, we end up with stronger communities.
2. What does the word diversity mean to you and how do you foster it in your work?
The word diversity means valuing individual differences and perspectives. The way I foster it in my work is by modeling the behavior that I expect from my leaders: promoting diversity and inclusiveness; attracting, placing, and retaining a diverse workforce; and seeking out diverse viewpoints.
3. What was one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work?
The current challenges facing our industry are some of the biggest in my career. Yet, they are also some of our industry’s biggest opportunities. Our opportunities include listening to our customers, learning from their feedback, and developing new technologies to address those changes.
4. What was one of your proudest moments in your work?
There isn’t just one. They happen every time I get a message from a team member or a customer who said, “You made a difference.”
When a customer writes to thank us for helping them get into their first house or who we helped refinance to save for a future need — or when a team member says that I helped them with their career growth or helped them create a better work/life balance. Those are the proudest moments in my work.
5. Can you finish this sentence? “My work excites me because …”
I get excited about the team members and customers that I get to work with every day. My work excites me because we are making a difference in the lives of our customers.
6. If you could pick only one trait, what trait do you think is the most important for a leader?
Courage. Leaders are put in positions every day where they are making tough decisions that are not always favorable, and leaders need to have the courage to do that.
7. If you could compare your leadership style to that of a historical figure, who would that be?
I aspire to be the kind of leader that Ernest Shackleton was. In the early 1900s, Shackleton led a trip to the Antarctic with the ship Endurance, planning to cross Antarctica via the South Pole. The Endurance became trapped in ice, and through Shackleton’s leadership, the entire crew survived after he developed a plan to get help. Through his leadership and courage, his team overcame every obstacle and every challenge. The leadership characteristics that Shackleton demonstrated — curiosity, courage, optimism — are the ones that I desire in my leadership.
8. If you weren’t doing what you’re doing today, what other job do you think you’d be good at?
I would love to be a swim coach. As a leader, a big part of my job is coaching, so being a swim coach is tied to what I love about my current job, joined with a sport that I love.
9. Do you have a secret talent? What is it?
I don’t think I have a secret talent.
10. If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Curious, honest, and optimistic. (end)
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.