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CFO of the Year award winner: Jessica Mitchell, PNC - FlagSpin

CFO of the Year award winner: Jessica Mitchell, PNC

Jessica Mitchell is a winner of a 2021 CFO of the Year award.

When PNC Financial Services Group Inc. completed its conversion of BBVA USA Bancshares on Oct. 12, Jessica Mitchell, CFO of retail banking at PNC for the past four years, became responsible for another 600 branches as the national total for the country’s fifth-largest bank swelled to 2,700.

Deposits as of the third quarter for the retail bank were $262 billion and loans topped $97 billion, and the bottom line is Mitchell’s accountable.

But Mitchell, who joined PNC in 2005 in her early 20s as senior analyst and financial project coordinator, knows the drill. She has advanced her career as the bank grew its presence coast-to-coast, and Mitchell has now been a CFO at three different divisions — initially at PNC Investments, then at the company’s Asset Management Group.

She said her first CFO role at PNC enabled her to become immersed in strategy and end-to-end operations and to align business decisions with financial objectives and outcomes.

“Making those connections to help drive results more broadly was appealing to me when I started on the CFO course and remains an appealing part of my job now,” she said.

She and her team worked closely with PNC leadership to execute a strategy to bring investing and retirement solutions to clients in a competitive and relevant way that, even now, is the accomplishment that stands out most to Mitchell.

PNC last acquired another bank in 2012 when it bought RBC Bank USA, extending its footprint into the Southeast.

“In my prior experience during a large acquisition, while I had a smaller scope of responsibility, the lessons I’ve learned stemmed from managing through many components of a project at a fast pace,” Mitchell said. “This experience allowed me to see the tangible and intangible dynamics of cultural integration and understand the importance of ground-level details that work together to create accountability for achieving the financial value of a transaction and ensuring investor confidence.”

Mitchell’s present role coincided with PNC launching its national retail expansion initiative, literally branching out into the nation’s biggest metros.

“In many ways, the opportunity to expand our presence across new regions and grow our customer base through the BBVA USA integration is just a natural progression of that,” she said. “As I’m sure you can imagine, the scope and complexity of integrating an entire organization, not to mention the financial and accounting aspects of doing so, has certainly been different from the organic expansion efforts we began in 2018.”

But what Mitchell likes best is being part of a team working collectively to make a positive difference and help its customers — and the business — move forward financially.

“Given that PNC’s Retail Banking line of business produces several billion (dollars) in revenue, has a substantial customer base and is multidimensional, I enjoy managing the financial elements from many angles,” Mitchell said. That spans product development and pricing, sales and service distribution, operations, risk and customer experience.

Beyond learning on the job, Mitchell has opted for additional training and education, both to keep pace as financial and accounting principals evolve and also to grow as a leader. She was in the third cohort of The Advanced Leadership Institute’s Executive Leadership Academy, which prepares African American leaders to advance in their careers.

“The program covered many relevant leadership skills and competencies, provided dynamic executive mentoring and coaching and exposure to an impressive network of other Black leaders from various industries across the Pittsburgh region,” she said.


Age: 39

Title: Senior vice president, CFO, retail banking, PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Education: B.S., business administration, accounting and accounting information systems, Duquesne University

First job: Babysitting and pianist for a church’s youth group devotions

Family: Husband, Tayon Mitchell; daughter, Jordan (12); sons, Tayon Jr. (10) and Jayce (4)

Hobbies: Cooking and watching football

Community involvement: Sunday school teacher and children’s educator at Clark Memorial Baptist Church; volunteer parent, youth flag football

Favorite book or movie about money: “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006) starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. “This movie was an inspiring film based on a true story of hard work, perseverance and commitment to giving others — his son — a better life financially. This testament illustrated the pursuit to leave someone or something in a better place than the starting point. Whether that’s the business’ financial performance, a team I’m responsible for leading or my family, my goal is to do just that.”

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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