Todd Watterson, COO of Asset Finance at Huntington National Bank

Todd Watterson, COO of Asset Finance at Huntington National Bank

Todd Watterson, Huntington National Bank’s COO of Asset Finance, brings a lot more to the table than we can cover in 5 minutes. Todd has interesting experiences and insights gleaned from a career of leadership roles at well-respected corporations including GE, Starkey, TCF, and Entrust Datacard. The common threads in his succession of success are his instant likability and can-do positive attitude. Todd’s interests that range from the arts and cooking to new experiences and innovative products made Scouts Talent curious to learn more…

If you could try a different job for a day, what would you choose?

I would be a sculptor. My mother was an art teacher, she had an art studio where she taught ceramics, pottery, and I developed an appreciation for the creative arts. When I see artists transform raw material into another form or combine existing pieces into something original, I am inspired by their vision. It could be a metaphor for my work life – building teams, seeing potential, and making the sum of the parts better and different than the original order.

What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?

Try different things and pursue the path that gives you joy. I jumped right into work out of college, and I have had many opportunities within the last 30 years. However, in retrospect, I think I should have volunteered more, engaged within my community earlier on, and explored jobs that were outside of a traditional accounting and finance track. Look beyond what you studied and search for what gets you energized. Look for opportunities that create energy in your personal and professional life.

What is your mantra?

“I will.” Tell yourself “I will.” Not I should, not I can. It’s “I will” and then find a way to make things happen and persevere. I will succeed. I will achieve. I will be kind. Getting through life’s challenges – pursuing a career, being a parent and a son, dealing with mental and physical health; I always thought “I will” get through this. It is simple and keeps me focused in a positive way.

What companies or leaders do you admire?

A leader I admire is the Dalai Lama – I got to meet him in 2017 while at Starkey. He is a polarizing figure who brings people with widely diverse opinions and perspectives together for meaningful conversations. I was caught off guard when Gene Simmons of KISS introduced the Dalai Lama and expressed respect and deep admiration for his life and work. I understand that he receives support from many people but appreciate that he lives simply and doesn’t have the emotional and physical trappings of material things.

What has been the biggest shift you’ve noticed in your industry in the last decade?

It has to be remote work. It’s a lasting symbol of what has happened over the last several years with the pandemic. Working remotely made us take a step back and question how we do work and why we need to be in the same office to be productive. It opens the geography of business and enables talented people and businesses to access each other in ways that we had previously thought were too hard or impossible. Remote working options forces us to think about skillsets over other attributes and challenges the status quo of the employee/employer relationship. I believe this is here to stay and will continue to reverberate over the next decade as we find the right balance of remote and in-office needs along with better training for how to manage people and teams that are geographically dispersed.

How do you get yourself out of a slump?

If I’m in a slump I look for experiences, something unique – I get out and do something. I look for something I haven’t done before like bungee jumping, mounting climbing or running. The main thing is to get out and do something. As I’ve gotten older it has become travel and trying new things, even a new restaurant. It is experiential living and doing something new that gets you out of the slump mindset and gives you a greater appreciation for the present.

Who has been most instrumental in your career?

Jeff Immelt – former CEO and Chairman of GE. He achieved significant success during his career at GE and also faced unprecedented adversity; from being told he would be fired if he didn’t improve his business to managing through the events of 9/11. As he become CEO and Chairman, he experienced the highs and lows most of us cannot imagine. He persevered and I learned a lot from him during my time at GE. Most importantly, he said work-life balance doesn’t exist; you need to understand your choices and the impacts those choices have on your life and then own your choices to create the best balance for you.

What is your go-to celebration meal, drink or tradition?

I love food! For me, celebrations and traditions have always been related to food and cooking. My most indulgent go-to celebration food is coconut custard pie. It brings back memories of my grandmother when my brother and I would go to her house. She always had coconut custard pie or some other cookie or cake in the oven.


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