Catherine Lee, TIAA Bank – 2023 NextGen 40 Under 40 List

Catherine Lee, Senior Marketing Manager, Commercial Division, TIAA Bank

While Catherine “Cat” Lee’s primary professional focus is supporting the equipment finance business of TIAA Bank, she attributes her career successes to one principal element: relationships. Whether spearheading marketing strategies which activate sales, building the brand and cultivating client loyalty, relationships are at the heart of her every activity. Having started with TIAA Bank in February 2020, Lee learned the business in a remote setting, giving her a unique perspective and highlighting her unmistakable can-do attitude. This determined work ethic and relentless curiosity blazed the trail for her as an instrumental subject matter expert in marketing for equipment finance. The value Lee places on relationships with colleagues and business partners, and their mutual admiration and respect, have thrust TIAA Bank’s equipment finance business into groundbreaking marketing territory.

Lee understands authenticity is a catalyst for personal and professional success. She appreciates the importance of articulating needs and how that behavior cultivates an environment that breeds success. For her, this includes being surrounded by a committed team that exercises transparent communication and balance. This creates a growth mindset where no one is afraid to give or receive feedback. “At the center of a successful marketing strategy is an engaged team that knows how to communicate, where everyone understands their scope and responsibilities,” Lee says. “Wins don’t happen in a vacuum but rather through collaboration, a healthy dose of transparency and consistent engagement, all of which can be attributed to strong relationships.”

In a world where discussing ideal work-life balance can seem cliché, Lee believes setting priorities helps her avoid the trappings of being everything to everyone. She sets herself up for success by creating reasonable expectations for what can be accomplished each day and communicates those expectations to her team. “It’s through consistent communication that a team understands common priorities and executes accordingly,” Lee says.