Sometimes we find our careers and sometimes our careers find us. But whichever way it happens, it is the passionate pursuit of that discovery that positions us for our future. What drew Sandy Hostetter to banking? “Well, to be honest, I just needed a job,” she said. “I had just graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in marketing and the economy was sluggish, so when Barnett Bank made me an offer to help them start a marketing department in Central Florida, I jumped at the opportunity. I thought it would be temporary until I found something else, but once I started, I just loved what I saw and I’ve never wanted to be anything but a banker.”
Explaining part of the basis for the surprise, she said, “I never would have thought of myself as a numbers person. In fact, when Barnett offered me the opportunity to enter the bank’s Management Training Program in a credit analyst position, my husband, a CPA, asked me if I was going to tell them I didn’t even balance my checkbook. But once I got into the training and realized what all the numbers can tell you and how I could use them to help my customer succeed, I was just on fire. I am a lot more detail-oriented than most people think.”
Like most, there are many people who shaped her development, but for Hostetter, there was primarily one. “My dad has been by far my biggest champion and source of inspiration. He was way ahead of his time and a man who dropped out of school to support his family at an early age. He constantly told me that I could do anything, and when he said I could be president, he didn’t mean of the bank. He meant the President of the United States!” she said.
“One day when I was a little girl, maybe only 7 or 8 years old, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told him I wanted to be a nurse. Well, he knew that answer had come from my mother who thought that being a nurse was a great education for a stay-at-home mother, her ultimate goal for me. My dad bent down, took my hands, and said to me, ‘Sandy, be the doctor!’ At the time, I thought that was silly. I didn’t know of any women who were doctors, but subconsciously, he was sending me a powerful message: ‘Think big; the sky’s the limit.’”
It is a message she freely communicates to others. “Don’t listen to the naysayers who try to put limits on you. They are not you and they were not given your skill set. It’s one of my only regrets. Back when I graduated from college, a lot of people told me I couldn’t balance a family and my career and one of the two would suffer. I hesitated and wasted valuable energy worrying that they might be right. Invest in yourself. Feed yourself very positive messages and stay above the fray, and have faith that God has a plan for you that is much bigger than any of us can imagine for ourselves.”