After her first year of college, Beth Pedersen took a summer job as a teller. That summer job turned into a successful career in banking, and it also led to Beth meeting her now husband. Get to know Beth in this interview:
What path led you to banking?
I needed a summer job after my first year of college, so I applied at the local bank and got a job as a teller. When I went back to college in the fall, I came home after my first day of class and was miserable—I was studying political science and it just wasn’t me. My dad was supportive, but he said, “well, you have to get a job.” So I got my teller job back.
I realized I couldn’t do that job forever, and the bank had amazing opportunities and worked with me to go back and get my bachelors. I was a good employee, they invested in me and my education. I went on to get a masters degree MBA with a concentration in finance. I came to Citizens Bank and spent 12 years as Controller, and was promoted last year after the retirement of the CFO.
What has been the best part of this career for you?
I loved being a teller; I loved the interaction with the customers. Funny story. Way back when I was 19, I was a drive up teller working late on Thursday nights with a girl who became a very good friend. We always joked about this guy in a red truck we called Red Truck Man who would come every Thursday to my line.
We dated, but he was older and we broke up. I married someone else, and then my husband passed away. A few years ago I ran across Red Truck Man’s son on Facebook, got in touch, met up four days later and now we’re married.
So banking gave me an education and a husband, and a great career.
What do you love to do?
I love to read—I enjoy history and biography, but also enjoy mystery and true crime. I love baseball (go Cubs!) and auto racing; we go to a lot of dirt track races. I also really love to cook.
Tell us your best dish.
My husband would say pork roast with cranberry chutney, but for me, it’s just chocolate chip cookies. It’s my go-to if I want something to do. The biggest key to making them good is measuring the flour properly. You’ve got to sift the flour, and a scale works really well to get just the right amount.
Do you have a secret talent?
Most people don’t realize I love to teach. I was an adjunct faculty member for Marian University for 11 years. I also teach finance at the Indiana Women’s Prison, which I love. I get very passionate about passing along the power of financial responsibility and literacy.
What’s your favorite piece of banking advice?
You have to save. That seems so simple. But you’ve got to make the commitment to save. You don’t know what the future holds. This is how you are responsible and prepared as an adult. Money handling is the basic start of responsibility.
What do you most wish your customers knew about Citizens Bank?
The big thing is that we care. It breaks my heart that people think the bank is the bad guy. I so badly want to say “come talk to us, tell us the situation, we can work with you and the more we know the more we can help.”
We also support a lot of causes in the community, a lot of employees work in various aspects volunteering, but we don’t always say “look at us.” We care about the individuals and the communities we’re in and that’s what makes us different from the larger banks. I am on the Board of Directors for League of Miracles which is a special field in Morgan County that allows children with special needs to play baseball and have all the fun and enjoyment of being a part of the game. I love being a part of the organization and get so much inspiration at watching the kids play.