Vice President/Trust Office at a Bank

Audrey Klein-Leach
M.Div.
Vice President Trust Officer
Bank of America

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the keynote speaker at my undergraduate graduation. Her message: whatever job you have, give it your all. You never know how the people you meet and the skills you learn - even if it's flipping burgers - might come in handy years later. How right she was!

After graduating from Yale in 1989 (I went straight to Yale after getting my B.A), my husband and I moved to Maine so he could attend law school. Jobs in Portland were few and far between. I took a job as a Trust & Estate and Corporate Paralegal at a good firm. It's not what I envisioned doing, but it was a paycheck. I learned a lot about trust and estate administration and even overcame my dislike of math (preparing 706's will do that).

After two years, I jumped at the opportunity to work as the Marketing Director for a small start-up catalogue company in Portland. I helped develop the catalogue and did market and product research. When my husband graduated from law school in 1992 we moved to Massachusetts hoping the economy would be better than Maine's. To keep the family afloat, I worked at a large firm in Boston in the Trust & Estate department for nearly three years. In this position I learned a lot about investments and sophisticated estate planning techniques. All the while, I was a Postulant for Holy Orders through the Diocese of Maine.

In 1996, tired of being a paralegal and not wishing to attend law school (I didn't need more educational debt thank you), I decided to try a new career - fundraising. I worked for the Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island writing appeal letters and maintaining the database. In 1997, we bought an old farm house in Princeton, Massachusetts and I decided to find work closer to home. I worked on Concord Academy's capital campaign for a year before joining the Greater Worcester Community Foundation in 1998.

When I applied for the position as the Development/Communications Officer for the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, suddenly what Sandra Day O'Connor said all those years ago made sense - all those jobs I'd had that at times felt "beneath" me had given the skills this organization needed in a professional. I understood planned giving, could read and understand a trust and knew about graphic design and marketing. When I took the job at the Foundation I decided to resign my Postulancy; it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I worked for the Foundation for six years raising over $40 million and doubling the number of funds under management.

This summer, my career took another turn when I decided to join Bank of America's Private Client Group in Worcester. As Vice President - Trust Officer, I work with clients on every aspect of their financial life. It's fascinating! The one thing that has been consistent throughout my career - and which drew me to the ministry - is building relationships with people. Although I am not ordained, my education at Yale formed who I am today. From ethics to an understanding of family dynamics, my education at Yale has been invaluable.