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By ROBERTA CODEMO
    A friend suggested that Jodi Clinton apply for a position at Commerce Bank. She knew the local bank president through school connections and arranged a meeting with him.
    She started out as a part-time personal banker at the Fenton location and has been with the bank since 1998.
p13 ClintonClinton    “I’ve been working at the bank longer than I’ve been married,” she said, laughing. “It was a fantastic opportunity.”
    While working full-time, she attended college and graduated from Webster University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance.
    Throughout her 19-year career with Commerce, she has moved steadily up the ranks. She was promoted to branch manager and later to regional sales and experience manager, where she made sure her branch teams had the tools and resources that they needed to succeed.
    Recently she was promoted to South-Metro East Group manager, and she really enjoys it. She is responsible for helping employees achieve their personal career goals while making sure the bank is the best partner that it can be for its customers.
    “I love what I do,” she said. She enjoys developing people and teams and finding solutions for customers. “I love being part of the community,” she said.
    For her, it’s all about helping people through all stages of their lives. She loves working with customers and helping them make the right financial choices. So many decisions people make revolve around money.
    “It’s rewarding to be the go-to person for those types of questions and decisions,” she said.
    She’s proud to work for Commerce, and said it’s a great bank. The bank has been rated one of America’s best mid-size employers by Forbes and has a fantastic culture. It’s ranked among the top seven banks in the country with a baseline credit assessment (BCA) of “a1” by Moody. BCA reflects a bank’s standalone credit strength.
    Commerce has been in business for more than 150 years and is the 38th largest United State bank based on asset size. The bank believes in a super-community banking model, and offers large bank products and services while focusing on the local market and meeting their customers’ needs. “That’s one of our biggest differentiators from other banks,” she said.
    “I was young when I started working at the bank,” she said. She’s been fortunate to have some great leaders mentoring her in positions she has held.
    For women who want to enter banking, she said it’s a great industry. It’s important to be open to new possibilities. Banking is evolving at a rapid pace and new opportunities are constantly being created. Know where you want to go, and what you want to accomplish.
    It’s important to cultivate relationships with other women in the field who can serve as mentors, she said. Mentors help support the development of women leaders in the banking industry. She points to a Price Waterhouse study that found while women held 60 percent of the positions in the financial services market, only 19 percent were in leadership roles.
    “We need more women in leadership roles,” she said, and points to studies that show companies with three women on their board outperform their competitors.
    Giving back to the community is ingrained in Commerce’s culture. The bank is very active in the community and focuses on strengthening the region, building strong communities and neighborhoods and helping youth succeed, and supports a number of non-profit organizations throughout the area. It is a big supporter of Junior Achievement.
    She lives in South St. Louis County with her husband and two daughters.