JEANNETTE MCCLURE

RELATIONSHIP MANAGER AT PACIFIC PREMIER BANK

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the AgSnacc Podcast, where we take a look at careers in agriculture and the journey towards those careers. I’m your host Erin Gorter and we hope you enjoy this tasty AgSnacc. 

Erin Gorter:

Cool. So we’re here with Jeannette McClure a Relationship Manager at Pacific Premier Bank. Good morning Jeannette. 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Good morning Erin! How’s it going? 

 

Erin Gorter:

It's good it's good. So we start off with one question right from the get go: tell us what you do and what a typical day looks like for you at work. 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Sure. So a Relationship Manager is kind of a fancy way of saying loan officer. So my daily job is to make sure that my customers are happy and that's just a high level overview, but every single day is something different. So I'll go into the office and my customers might have a need for a loan, they might have a need to order new checks. So anything in between my day is basically just spent attending to my existing customers; and then also doing business development and trying to bring new customers to the bank as well. So that looks different every single day, but generally that's what I do. 

 

Erin Gorter:

And what do the majority of your customers represent within agriculture? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

So I have kind of two different areas that I work with and so I have my Robles clients and most of those are vineyards and wineries; and then I have kind of the Santa Maria group which is the produce. That is the vegetables, greenhouses, bro crops and then of course everything in between but those are the majority of my portfolio which means all my loans consists of those two types of clients.  

 

Erin Gorter:

Cool and so thinking back, you know long before you had a job, what was your high school experience like? What did you do in high school – sports, extracurriculars, classes, etc. 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Ya so I was a total nerd. So I dabbled in sports - I played basketball for a year, I swam for year (terrible at swimming), and I did FFA for all four years and so most of my high school experience memories are all FFA related. So I did judging teams, farm business management was one that kind of actually led me into the career I am in now. But I did farm business management and then we won state and so you can't do it again when you win state. Then I did specialty animal judging. So I ran around the state and judged bunny rabbits for like two years. So that was fun and then, you know, I took AP classes and tried to get good grades so that I could get into college. 

 

Erin Gorter:

So you mentioned having an interest in kind of like banking through your farm business management experience but what did you really want to be when you grew up when you were in high school? 

Jeannette McClure:

It's so interesting, really what I wanted to be was secretary of agriculture. I wanted to be Karen Ross. But, I got sidetracked I guess, so then I went to Cal Poly with the intention of working with my family’s dairy and making artisan cheese so I majored in ag business and minored in psychology and dairy foods processing. Trying to kind of create this perfect background to do artisan cheese. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Ok so I did not know that there was a perfect background to making artisan cheese but thing that makes sense now that you mention those kinds of majors and minors.  

 

Jeannette McClure:

Does it sound like that? I don’t know. 

 

Erin Gorter:

And also it's not too late to be the secretary of agriculture you could still be on a career trajectory to get there. 

 

Jeannette McClure:

I know I think about that sometimes. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Yeah yeah. So you mentioned your education background. When you graduated from Cal Poly, what did you do after that in that time period between then and now? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Right after Cal Poly? So it was my senior year at Cal Poly and I was on the NAMA team - the National Ag Marketing Association team - and that took up I would say like 90% of our time. It was a ton of work, it was really fun, really rewarding; but we got to Spring and I had no idea what I was going to do. So my mom works for American Ag Credit and basically told me that I need to apply for an internship because I'm not coming home. So I applied for the internship at American Ag Credit, they were nice enough to select me to be in an internship program and so I did that right after graduating so I'd never had an internship during college and I did my first internship right out of college at American Ag Credit and that internship took me to a couple different places around the state. So I worked in Turlock, I worked in Salinas and then I worked in Santa Rosa and that was a really cool experience. After I was done with that program, they said, ‘We have a position for you,’ and it was either Eureka or Newport, it was somewhere very far north.  But Rabobank was also hiring in their Santa Maria location and I thought how perfect I could move back to SLO even though my parents had just moved all my stuff home. So three months after graduating, I moved back to SLO and started with Rabobank. I was there for four years as a credit analyst; so just crunching numbers all day. Actually I did that for about three years and then the last year I switched over to being a relationship manager more on the sales side and then four years ago, then four years into the Rabobank job, I moved over to where I am now. It was previously called Heritage Oaks bank but it is now Pacific Premiere Bank so that is where I am now. 

 

Erin Gorter:

That’s a good story. I think that's funny that your mom told you not to move home. How were education and work life viewed in your household when you were growing up and how did that influence your career path? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

So it's kind of interesting actually both of my parents went to Cal Poly. So when I was in high school I was very adamantly not going to Cal Poly and I had all of my AP transcripts sent to Texas. I was going to Texas A&M and that was it. My parents are okay with that, they were super supportive but they said you also need to go check out all the other schools in California first before we decide on those out of state tuitions. So we went to a couple schools, I think maybe Santa Cruz or something else and then were working our way down the state. We got to Cal Poly and I fell in love immediately, cancelled the rest of the trip, said I’m not leaving, let's spend the rest of the week here and did early decision, went to Cal Poly and loved it. I had always known that I was going to go to college and am extremely fortunate so that college was always something on the radar. Was the question something about work? 

 

Erin Gorter:

Yeah like work and being productive and how's it viewed? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

So I grew up on our family’s dairy and our house was literally in the middle of the dairy so there wasn't really a line between work life and family life. It was all just one in the same. Like one of my favorite memories is Christmas morning before opening presents we would go wash out the milk barn. So it's just really interesting and like you know going up at night and like helping my dad check the cows and pull calves. So that part of it was very… like work and family life just kind of blended together. And then my mom, when we were growing up, she worked in American Credit part time in Petaluma so she would commute an hour into town and then come home and make us dinner and so my parents are both really hard workers. I don’t know if that was the question either. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Oh no you nailed it. So what is your favorite part about your day at work as a relationship manager? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

It doesn't happen every day, but my favorite part of work is getting money to people so that they can use it to buy things, build things, expand their business. And that's the main point of my job is to make sure that these business owners - they have these amazing visions - and so you know they want to build a tasting room in Paso. Okay I can help you get the money for that and then make their dreams come true. So it's really cool to see stuff like that materialize and know that I had a part in it. So I would say that that's my favorite part of the job. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Flipside: what's the most challenging part? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Yeah telling people ‘no.’ There's a lot of people that come in and have these really great ideas and our bank decides that seems really risky. We don't want to give you the money and then put you in a position where you might not be able to pay it back and then we have to take your property or you know something like that. So that's always really tough though for me because I want to say yes and give the money to everyone. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Yeah I can see how that would be really challenging saying no is always hard. We’re in the business of producing, managing and marketing the distribution of food, what is your favorite food commodity? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Okay so I thought about this one. I'm 50% leaning towards zucchini and then 50% towards cheese and together they are also delicious. So I don't know how to choose. 

 

Erin Gorter:

That’s a good combination: cheesy zucchini. Got it.  

 

Jeannette McClure:

Shredded zucchini. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Oh shredded okay got it. What was your biggest challenge kind of pursuing this career path? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Yeah so I don't feel personally that I was prepared for it through school. I think the credit and finance class that I took - I took one credit and finance class – and it 100% focused on net present value. I have never used net present value. So I heard that there's a couple of classes that have been added since I graduated which is fantastic but that that was really the one thing that there is just nothing that prepared me for it so it was 100% on the job training.  

 

Erin Gorter:

Gotcha. So you mentioned - I guess your on the job training now - but you also mentioned your own internship early on. Can you think of any types of internship or volunteer opportunities that high school students could take advantage of now to get a little bit more background or experience in your line of business? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

So I think in terms of an actual internship, a lot of banking institutions will not do internships for high schoolers however there are a lot of programs through high school. Like I mentioned that farm business management team that probably prepared me more for my career than anything I did in college. So I would say that was fantastic or  I think they might have like accounting clubs or something. Like I know that’s super nerdy but it's really important in any line of business to understand financials like a financial statement. Like did the company make money and then how much do they owe to people and how much do they own and understanding that business part is helpful in any industry. 

 

Erin Gorter:

For sure, for sure. So looking forward in your industry, what are some changes that you think are going to happen in the next 20 years that students can prepare for now? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

I mean I'm sure that everyone says this in everything, but technology is replacing people's jobs left and right. And so when I was a credit analyst I spent the first several years of my career looking at numbers and taking numbers from someone’s tax returns, for example, and putting those into our computer system. I imagine that even in the next five years there will be a computer that can simply scan the tax return and put that into a software program to read the numbers. So you know it's going to be more about not simply imputing financial information, but you will have to have a value to add to a lot of these things as jobs go away. Computers can't learn everything and so you have to be able to have a deeper understanding of some of those concepts. I don't know, I think technology is going to change significantly everyone’s jobs but you just have to be better at the interpretation side of it instead of just the numbers and data. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. This is the last question: if you could go back to high school Jeannette, what's the biggest piece of advice you would give her? 

 

Jeannette McClure:

I would tell her that everyone is right on when they say it's not what you know, but it's who you know. Because I did not think that was real, I didn't think was real in high school, I didn’t think it was real in college, and after you get out of college you realize, ‘Oh my gosh that is the best piece of advice that anyone could have given me and that I could have listened to.’ And so just network, network, network as you're going from high school to college get to know your professors. Make sure that they know who you are. Work on establishing references in high school and college. That’s the number one thing hands down is meeting people and networking with people. 

 

Erin Gorter:

Life is all about relationships that is for sure. Alright well thank you Jeannette for taking the time to visit with us today. Again this is Jeanette McClure, Relationship Manager at Pacific Premier Bank. Thank you Jeannette! 

 

Jeannette McClure:

Thanks Erin!  

 

Thank you for listening to this AgSnacc, a production of the Cal Poly Brock Center for Agricultural Communication at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in collaboration with the South Coast Region Agricultural Education Consortium. For more information, please visit our website at www.agsnacc.com. That’s www.a-g-s-n-a-c-c.com