We are so excited to continue our profiles on St. Louis-based, Black professionals in the finance industry with Ms. Toni Douthit. Toni has over 45 years of diversified technical consulting experience within the computing, data, and telecommunications industry. She has in-depth experience with branch automation, business process reengineering, client support activities, and large-scale implementations.
Toni is also an avid science fiction fan and collector of technology antiquities. She supports local school, family, and community partnership initiatives promoting life-long learning through integrating technology access, understanding, and utilization by students and their families. She also participates in community-based programs that support minority and women students interested in the pursuit of technology fields as courses of study or a career.
At present, Toni is the Senior Service Delivery Manager, Senior Vice President at Bank of America. In this role, she is currently responsible for overseeing the delivery of voice telephony and audio/video conferencing services. Her focus is on establishing delivery processes that provide consistently high levels of customer service to internal and external customers. Learn more about Toni and her background below.
Prosperity Connection: What is your educational background?
Toni Douthit: Bachelor of Science, Computer Science
PC: How did you end up where you are now?
TD: When I was in middle school, Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) had a program called Explorer’s Post and that is where I first learned programming languages. From there I was able to accept a position after high school with Nestle (Ralston Purina) as a Systems Programmer which I held during college. AT&T (Southwestern Bell) was entering into the computer marketplace due to the breakup of the Bell System. I accepted a job within AT&T. I worked in the retail, government, and financial sectors. I found the financial sector the most interesting and I decided to make it my professional home. I worked for NCR (a technology provider of software, hardware, and services for banks, restaurants, and retailers) as a consultant serving Boatmen’s Bank (Bank of America). I left NCR to take a position with Bank of America and have been there 25 years.
PC: What do you like most about being in your role?
TD: The diversity and varying scope of work, applying technology solutions to problems. Every day brings new opportunities that challenge my skills, experience, and technical expertise. I am continually learning. There is a personal sense of accomplishment achieved when you see a plan you have built executed.
PC: What would you consider your greatest achievement in your financial career so far?
TD: Wow that is a tough one considering how long I have been in this career space. I was at the Grace Hopper Celebration in 2018 and was talking to a group of students from a local St. Louis university at my hotel one night. I asked them if they had been to the Bank of America booth to inquire about careers there. Their response was “why would I want to work at a bank?” It’s amazing that most people only think of banking in relation to the traditional experiences they have had. I explained to them all of the technology that is behind providing global services to internal and external clients. They went to their rooms and came back with resumes. That moment made it clear that I loved my job and career choice so much I was able to share the wonderful experiences I have had with a whole new generation.
PC: What is your top, simple financial tip?
TD: I once volunteered to teach a financial literacy course for middle school students. The unit I taught was saving money. What amazed me the most was how the students spent their monthly salary and how they justified their spending choices. Only one person in the course actually saved any money. The purpose of the unit was to level-set how important the balance of need vs. want is. My most important tip is to understand the difference between needs and wants. Pay yourself first; that will ensure your future.
Big thanks to Toni for sharing her story and her wisdom with us!