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Three Questions with Michelle Tucker, VP of Identity Governance, at Huntington National Bank

Michelle Tucker is the type of person who raises her hand and gets the job done. While she never imagined she would end up working in cybersecurity (when she was younger, she dreamt of being a lawyer), she is now one of the leaders within Identity and Access Management at Huntington National Bank as VP of Identity Governance.

Her journey to get there was winding. At one of her first jobs as an administrative assistant at a software firm, she saw a way to make even more impact, taking on part of the technical deployments of the (now vintage) Macintosh Plus computer to the entire sales force. From there, the rocket was launched, and she found ways to make big moves in her career — whether it was through building strong relationships, crafting her job title to fit her role better, or taking on additional projects to refine her skills.

Her work in Risk, IT, IAM, and Cybersecurity is where her growth as an individual and as a manager flourished throughout the years. From working in an enterprise analyst role to being a technical writer, all roads led to her current position as a leader in the Information Security field.

While there are many things we learned from Michelle in our conversations with her, one of the biggest lessons is this: step up, forge your own path and success will follow.

Learn more from Michelle in her own words, in our Women in Identity interview below.

If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Have I reached that place in my career where I can say that I have my dream job? Not yet. But if I started over and could have my two beautiful children be the amazing people I have been blessed to have in this life, I would have gone back in time and went to Japan to teach English for two years. I know the impact I could have had on the lives of the young people I would have been responsible for would have been an awesome experience.

I could say I have regrets, but I really don’t. To be here, right now, in this very moment having time to trace back all that I have been through and share a piece of me with you is a blessing in itself. I am still growing and reaching for better, and there is so much more ahead of me to explore. And that is exciting all in itself.

The one thing I can say I would not do: I would never stop being concerned about the impact you leave with those you meet.

2020 has been an interesting year. What’s the most important business or other discovery you’ve made in the past six months?

Transparency is truly important. With the shift in how we interact with our partners, both internal and external, having real dialogue and open communications is what we must do. The world has truly changed around us, and that means we also have to change. Nothing is as it was, and we have to create a space that enables us to grow together. Being honest is key. Talk about what matters and what will move you through this crazy world we are living in.

I’ve been talking about the journey for some time now. We are all in it together, and when we take hold of that, the change that we are experiencing all around us becomes a little easier day by day.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a leader in your role?

The care and well-being of my team. With the added pressure of adjusting to our new working environment, organizations are going through the adaptation to the new work-from-home or adjusted work schedules, and there is a lot of change happening all around. With that and the impact of the pandemic, economic climate, and the social injustice that impacts us all – mental health and well-being have to be in focus.

Taking time to lean in and listen to your team is critical. Checking in not just on how their workday or productivity is progressing, but asking how they are, is what we as leaders have on the top of our minds. It really is simple. Say hello. Ask what’s going on in their life. And then ensure that you are creating ways to encourage them to live and breathe. I always try to find ways to have “breathable” moments. Work will always be there, but when you take the time to invest in your team, the rest seems so attainable.

One of the touchpoints I created with the team is called “Coffee & Conversations with IG.” This is a moment for all of us to meet once a week on video. This is a no-work zone, and we take the time to just tap back into one another. It has been absolutely wonderful, and everyone is assigned a meeting to prepare to connect. It is fun! And, that is what we all need to incorporate in our lives; both work and personal.