Helping others advance in their careers is how Eshe Evans has found fulfillment in her own. Eshe has attained a high degree of professional achievement, advancing to become Senior Vice President at Atlantic Capital. Nevertheless, she finds her greatest sense of accomplishment not in climbing the corporate ladder, but in bringing others along with her.
Hometown: Lansing, Michigan
Education: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (M.B.A.)
Current Position: SVP, Portfolio Management
Eshe Evans has been conscientious with money for as long as she can remember. As a child, she meticulously saved her birthday money every year and when her older siblings wanted to borrow money from her, she made them sign carefully prepared contracts with compounding interest. To this day, her family has no idea where she got her innate sense of banking that, according to Eshe, “has always been there.”
In addition to her affinity for the world of finance, she has learned the importance of a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and using her intuition to help herself and businesses flourish. Today, Eshe is the Senior Vice President of Portfolio Management at Atlantic Capital. With over 13 years of banking experience, Eshe is comfortable with who she is but she never stops pushing herself to greater heights.
Meet Eshe Evans: she’s a woman and she leads.
How did you begin your career?
My father was a scientist and I loved to experiment growing up. In high school, I thought I was on track to become a chemical engineer until AP Chemistry began to unravel my plan. My dad was honest with me and told me I wouldn’t be satisfied as a chemical engineer if I didn’t love the coursework in my AP class. I took his words to heart and decided to set my sights elsewhere. In college, I decided to go back to my financial interests from childhood, and pursued a business degree with a concentration in accounting.
I launched my career at JPMorgan Chase. After eight years, I had grown from a commercial banking analyst to an underwriter.
How did you end up at Atlantic Capital?
Even though I was successful at my job, I knew I wouldn’t grow unless challenged. I wanted to expand my professional opportunities. A coworker at JPMorgan Chase referred me to Atlantic Capital in 2012 when they learned of a position that would be a natural next step in my career path. I’ve been at Atlantic Capital ever since. I came on as an Assistant Vice President to develop and lead the portfolio management function and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2017.
Tell us what you do as a Portfolio Manager.
My primary job is to make sure the bank remains strong and healthy and that the credit solutions we provide to our clients are structured appropriately. I have my finger on the pulse of all our borrowers and every day varies based on our customers’ needs and unique challenges. I oversee a team of seven who provide a high level of service to our bankers and clients to help ensure that these challenges are dealt with in a way that not only helps keeps the Bank successful, but our clients as well.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
In college, I worked at a center for students with learning disabilities. One of the most difficult accounting courses was Financial Accounting—everyone struggled with it, including one of my students at the learning center. I spent numerous hours throughout the semester with him to ensure he understood the concepts backwards and forwards. He finished the course with an A, which is better than I did. You can say the student became the master and I was more proud of him because I knew his particular challenges that he was able to overcome.
Professionally, I’ve enjoyed a good degree of success over the years. I get to help businesses close multi-million dollar loans, which enables them to grow their business. I’m part of them reaching their dreams. However, my real sense of success and pride comes from developing junior talent. I’m most proud when I catch wind of their successes. Recently, two employees I hired were promoted to Vice President positions at the Bank. I was ecstatic. I’ve appreciated how others invested in me and now I get to pay it forward by investing in my team.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My coworkers know all too well my love for baking. I bring cookies, cupcakes, and pies to the office, but my true passion is cakes. I’ve taken cake decorating courses and recently got to showcase a unique design. The office had a chili cook-off and instead of bringing chili, I crafted a cake to resemble a crock pot full of chili. People loved it and that made my day. I like to think that baking and decorating cakes is my way of going to back to experimenting as I did as a child with my dad, just with more flour and sugar!
How do you balance work with your personal life?
It’s not as easy as many might suggest. Work and life sometimes blend and encroach on each other. A large part of my decision to move to Atlantic Capital was the culture. I have worked for institutions that encouraged prioritizing work over personal matters but Atlantic Capital encourages both excellence and equanimity. It’s up to you to take control of your time while simultaneously, making sure your clients are properly served.
I don’t know if I’ve achieved balance, but I have learned to draw boundaries. It started with me not checking emails after a certain time in the evening. I’ve been able to create windows of time for myself where I can and I’m highly protective of them. I’ve learned that to be the best for my clients also means I need to make sure I’m committed to my well-being.
What advice would you give to women starting their careers?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take on new challenges. It’s a step towards growing and proves you are determined to get things done the right way. Be comfortable with yourself and be confident. Above all, surround yourself with people cheering for you, both mentors and peers. Help yourself, help your friends, and be prepared to meet challenges and fill new positions when they arise.
Eshe Evans is well rounded and understands what a healthy risk looks like. She is an essential contributor to Atlantic Capital’s culture of growth and encouragement as she helps others develop their talent. Because women like Eshe take the lead, Atlantic Capital is able to help clients bank in the right direction.