The Financial Journey is a unique series focused on financial education and opportunities. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between Wells Fargo and Word In Black.
WIB: Can you describe your role at Wells Fargo?
Squires: I have the honor and privilege of leading the Diverse Segments group at Wells Fargo in Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB). What we’re doing in CIB Diverse Segments is designed to help change the fabric and culture within the capital markets space. Our charge is not only to diversify opportunities for our clients but to also make all points within the financial ecosystem more diverse and inclusive. We are a dedicated group of people looking to help meet the financial goals of more clients, keeping our clients engaged at the highest levels and deepening relationships with diverse clients across all of our businesses.
Wells Fargo took a very differentiated approach to growing success with and for diverse market participants. CIB, along with our four other operating businesses of Wells Fargo, established a new business line called Diverse Segments. Our CIB team’s overall goals include: maximizing positive outcomes and driving greater access to capital for our diverse clients, as well as advising all of our corporate clients on strengthening and delivering on their own DE&I imperatives, goals and work with diverse market participants. Our team focuses primarily on diverse-owned and diverse-led companies. Some examples of these are Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), diverse-owned broker-dealers and diverse-owned asset managers across our platform.
WIB: What would you say is the best part of the work you get to do?
Squires: On the one hand, it’s great to see the level of support and prioritization that this work garners from the highest level of our organization and all throughout. Equally as important, has been the enthusiastic reception from all the people and companies we interact with, and the marketplace at large has been tremendous. Our clients recognize we are being intentional in progressing financial inclusion and appreciate that our corporate and investment bank is intensely focused on helping diverse-owned and diverse-led clients in ways they haven’t felt or seen previously by many market players.
Additionally, we know as a corporate and investment bank, that our success in covering our clients is not just based on understanding their industry, products, and services they offer, but also understanding who they are and where they want to go. It has been a true honor and privilege to lead an effort that aims to heighten the representation of diverse companies in every corner of the financial realm. I continue to be inspired and energized by the focus of our collective team who are consistently advocating for our diverse clients and prospects, thus moving our entire business forward.
WIB: What does diversity and Inclusion mean for you?
Squires: Simply put, I believe “diversity and inclusion” means recognizing the need for having diverse thoughts, perspectives, and experiences in the room and being intentional about creating the conditions that allow for and consider those thoughts, opinions, and experiences. In a business sense, I like to think of diversity and inclusion as a business imperative that ultimately will determine businesses that will grow and succeed at the highest possible levels from those that will not. Interestingly, it is not just me who believes this, there’s plenty of research and evidence that supports the premise that, over the long term, diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams. It should be the goal for all of us to outperform where we can!
WIB: What is one piece of career advice you can give to our readers?
Squires: One my favorite pieces of advice that I received is from my mentor Janet Hill, who passed away last year. She’s well known for her “Top Ten Tips for Success.” While I can promise you that all ten tips are well needed and right on target, there have been a few that have stuck with me the most: “Support and respect others. Support causes that are greater than yourself. Others benefit from your leadership and success. The greatest sense of personal gratification is not in how much money you make or how powerful you become but in how much you make a positive difference in the life of someone other than yourself.”
Now imagine if all of us held true to that…
WIB: Having a role in banking can seem daunting at times, what do you enjoy most outside of work?
Squires: It is important to note that banking plays a very important role in society, and those of us in a leadership position take that role and responsibility very seriously. Part of the reason the role can be daunting, particularly in a role like the one I am in, but even for the banking industry at large, is that we are trying to help address inequities that have been around for generations. We recognize it is important work and there will be setbacks along the way, but we are sure we can overcome these inequities. We celebrate the wins, learn from the mistakes that we encounter on this journey and most importantly, we keep going!
Outside of doing this work, which I love, I enjoy time with my family and participating in all the joys of parenthood. Whether it be soccer games, volunteer missions, homework sessions or traveling on vacation to new countries together, being with my family is my most precious and desired place to be.
WIB: Describe your proudest moment to date.
Squires: I have been truly fortunate to be a part of many great accomplishments and events over time both with my family at home and our family at work. Watching the relationships and connections I’ve established between people flourish into businesses, joint ventures, financing and even a few marriages over the years…yes, actual marriages bring me great joy and pride. One collaboration that will always stand out is being a part of the team that helped First Independence Bank open the first Black-owned bank in the state of Minnesota, specifically in Minneapolis, is one of the proudest moments I can think of. What that meant for the local community, for our nation and for the banking system is incredible. I am forever grateful, honored and blessed to be a part of it.
WIB: What would you say is the most important lesson about finances?
Squires: That’s a good question. It all starts with financial education. Financial literacy and education, particularly when acquired at a young age and built upon, can be as important to one’s well-being as good eating and exercise habits are to good health. We know and must always acknowledge that there have been, and at times continue to be, structural impediments that diverse people and communities have to overcome. However, I am convinced that one of the ways in which we combat some of those starts with being informed about, educated on and connected to Finance. We do a lot of work in support of narrowing the wealth gap, and financial education and literacy are at the core of that work.
WIB: Can you describe a pivotal moment in your career?
Squires: The moment I truly believed in the power and possibility of the role I am currently in has been the most consequential point in my career. As I prepared to create this new business line in our corporate and investment bank, I reflected on the immense need for a real paradigm shift not only in the financial industry but also in our American economy. The idea that diverse business is indeed good business has been celebrated in small pockets of society but really has a long way to go to be woven into the fabric of every company everywhere. It was then that I was energized and galvanized to create a strong force of radical financial inclusion spanning Commercial Real Estate, Capital Markets, Investment Banking and Strategic Client Partnerships. I often ask myself and my team, if not us, then who? This is a call to action we all readily answered.
WIB: What does having an “authentic voice” mean for you?
Squires: Be who you are, always. And please know, that I realize, that isn’t always easy. Leveraging all my experiences, unique aspects that make me who I am and having the confidence to share those perspectives, contemplations, and guiding thoughts in the situations I encounter, is the best way I can share and respect my “authentic voice.”
Danielle Squires is a Managing Director and the Head of Diverse Segments and a member of the Operating Committee for the Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division of Wells Fargo.
As the leader of CIB Diverse Segments, she is responsible for integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into every aspect of the business by developing products and services that drive greater access to capital for diverse clients, as well as advising corporate clients on strengthening and delivering on their DE&I goals. Her team focuses on diverse-owned, diverse-led companies, as well as Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) and diverse-owned broker-dealers and underwriters across the platform.
Danielle joined Wells Fargo in 1999, working first in the Leveraged Finance group and then moving to roles in Foreign Exchange Derivatives and covering Global Financial Institutions. For much of her over 20-year career, Danielle has been structuring and marketing interest rate hedging solutions for corporate, commercial, brokerage, real estate, and wealth management clients across the United States. Prior to her current role as Head of Diverse Segments, Danielle led Wells Fargo’s Southeast Commercial Rates & Foreign Exchange Team. She has been a regular presenter at industry and professional conferences regarding interest rate hedging, U.S. economic outlook, as well as the global market transition from LIBOR to SOFR.
Over the course of her career, Danielle has found ways to help advance diversity, equity, and inclusion both within Wells Fargo and in the communities she is a part of. She currently serves on the Board of Wells Fargo’s Black and African American Executive Forum and is a member of the CIB DE&I Advisory Council. Outside of Wells Fargo, Danielle is a member of Duke’s Women’s Impact Network and National Alumni Association Board, and is a Past President of the Duke Black Alumni Association. In the Charlotte community, Danielle currently serves on the boards for the Novant Medical Group and Trinity Board of Visitors at Duke University.
Danielle holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Comparative Area Studies and Italian from Duke University with a concentration in Economics. She currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and twin daughters.