I talked to Mechaella Matute, business development officer at Bank of American Fork, about why she is participating in the Woman of Steel Triathlon and what it’s like to be a woman in business.
Why are you participating in the Woman of Steel Tri?
It’s not easy to participate in a tri, but there will be a lot of women rejoicing accomplishing physical trials and other obstacles, and encouraging each other. I love being a woman and it will be fun to come together with women from all over Utah and accomplish a goal that we each have. I’m not a swimmer, so I’m excited to challenge myself—I want to have fun and accomplish my goal of finishing. I’m also excited to represent Bank of American Fork. I’m proud that we sponsor this event.
How are you preparing for the race?
Even though I’m from Miami, I’m not a strong swimmer (embarrassing, I know!), so I have been focusing on swimming. One of my friends has been coaching me on how to breathe properly and is helping me to get the strokes down. I am taking a cycling class and doing a lot of weight training—I have realized I need to have strong legs to bike and run that far! And I love my long runs on Saturdays, usually 8-12 miles.
Woman of Steel celebrates the different paths and obstacles in women’s lives. Tell us about your path.
I’m Latina and I grew up in Miami, so when people hear that, they wonder what I’m doing in Utah. I was the first generation in my family to go to college and graduate from Brigham Young University. This has been a big accomplishment for me and my family—to a family from a small town in Honduras, graduating from a good university is exciting. It was hard to come to Utah alone while my family was still in Florida. University classes and the system were new to my family. I am proud that I did it and to work for a reputable and distinguished financial institution doing what I love—helping women in business and the Hispanic community.
How did you get into banking?
I started my career in banking when I worked as a teller at Key Bank in college. I loved being able to build relationships with clients and see customers on a daily basis. I later worked at US Bank, and now, Bank of American Fork. I love the relationships I have developed. There are so many people that just don’t know what solutions are available to them, and it’s exciting to me to help facilitate finding answers and saving money.
What is unique about women in business?
One of the things I love about my work, and I see in my mentors, is the sweet side of building a relationship that really allows us to help people. I help a lot of women who are in business or business owners and I can tell they feel comfortable working with me because I get them. Women are still a minority in business but we are growing and strong.
There are so many women with awesome ideas, especially with the amount of Internet exposure that facilitates idea-sharing—like Pinterest—and I love being able to help them realize their business dreams. One business owner I worked with had a great product, and with the right resources, was able to grow from just sharing with her friends to a sustainable business. It’s rewarding to find the right banking solutions to help people meet their goals and fulfill their dreams.