A Graduate Profile of NaKecia Dean, Johnson Financial Group
By Hannah Flanders
NaKecia Dean began her career in financial services at just 14 years old. The then high school student started in the cash room of a local grocery store before transitioning to a check cashing store as a teller and eventually assistant manager.
Dean eventually left this job to pursue a position in customer service and grow her family, however, after nearly 25 years, a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in small business and entrepreneurship, and previous experience in the financial services under her belt — the mother of two was craving a return to the world of banking.
Shortly after mentioning her desire to her fiancé, André, Dean received an email from EmployMilwaukee regarding their upcoming eight-week BankWork$ program.
“It was an ‘oh wow’ moment,” describes Dean. “I jumped on the opportunity right away because it was God and the universe speaking very clearly to me.”
Though Dean entered the program with a slew of previous experience, she and her classmates learned the hard and soft skills necessary for entry-level retail and operations positions such as deepening the customer relationship, functions of a bank, and general cash handling.
“Some may think that banking is simple — you just need to be able to count money. Banking is so much more than that,” states Dean of the experience she gained during the eight-week training program. “Having the knowledge and [ability] to develop by taking on new challenges has made me a better banker.”
Following her graduation in June 2021, BankWork$ graduates and partner banks took part in a hiring event in which Dean was recruited to join Johnson Financial Group.
At Johnson Financial, Dean serves as a Relationship Banker 1, and with her knowledge, particularly in small business and entrepreneurship, Dean has formed a close connection to many small business owners in the Milwaukee area. To anyone she meets, Dean’s passion for not only banking, but assisting her community is evident.
“Not only do I have the opportunity to work face to face with real people every day, in handling their money, I build their trust and form a very strong relationship, especially with those I see regularly,” highlights Dean. “I love helping customers, greeting them by first or last name — getting to know them.”
Dean’s passion and experience in serving customers has allowed her career in banking to flourish. In addition, the BankWork$ training program provided Dean with the ability to hone these critical skills.
Thanks to the tools, resources, and confidence offered by the BankWork$ program and its instructors, Dean sees herself continuing her success in the banking world and progressing to new levels in the bank. She one day hopes to assist in managing her own branch.
To prospective bankers, Dean underscores the BankWork$ program as a rewarding opportunity to not only expand banking knowledge but leave prepared for the workforce.
“The instructors are so willing to assist because their main goals is to see you succeed in the program and in the banking industry.”