Denise A. Povolny


This fall, Denise Povolny and her staff spent several days stranded in sub-zero temperatures with meager supplies. They weren’t lost in the Arctic; the group was participating in a corporate team-building exercise in Pennsylvania. But for Povolny, senior vice president and business banking sales leader at KeyBank, it was an innovative way to unite her growing team.

“It gives you, as a leader, the opportunity to see how people work in teams,” Povolny says.

When KeyBank acquired First Niagara in summer of 2016, Povolny went from covering the Hudson Valley district to all of Eastern Pennsylvania, too. With that broad swath of land came eight new direct reports, more than doubling her staff size.

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“I asked for a challenge,” Povolny says.

If her history is any indication, she’s certainly up for it. Povolny joined KeyBank in 2009 and quickly transformed the Hudson Valley business banking team into a powerhouse: By 2012, her group was the highest-performing team at KeyBank.

Povolny is devoted to maintaining KeyBank’s small-town approach. “Even though we’re a large, regional bank, we operate with a community mindset,” she says. “We put a lot of money and sweat equity into the communities.”

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