Cool Careers in Money: Meet Chief Strategy Officer Bryant Penzo

By Arkansas Next on Friday, April 5, 2024


University of Arkansas grad Bryant's first exposure to the financial industry was through a family friend, but he never considered it for himself. Around the same time he entered the banking world, Bryant was pursuing a master’s degree in a completely unrelated field. He soon recognized the many opportunities available to him in banking and made it a career. 

“There’s an immense amount of opportunity, and honestly, many roles aren’t all that money-related after all. Like many industries, our team has a variety of skills that make up our HR/operations and several different facets. Our team, as a whole, gets to work together to meet the financial wants and needs of the community we live, work, and play in.”

Bryant considers his role unique compared to other traditional jobs in banking. His role at Generations Bank allows him to do two things he loves most in his career: care for people and strategize. His goals are to meet the needs of his team so they can meet the needs of the community they serve. In other words, Bryant works in human resources and is an advocate for the betterment of his employees so they can perform their jobs well. 

“The joy…to me is how deeply relational it is,” Bryant said. “We’re simply in the people business, with a focus on their financial needs.”

Bryant’s responsibilities look vastly different day-to-day, but his main objectives include leading his people & culture team, implementing structural changes when needed, consulting on his team’s performance, and researching organizational health methodologies. 

To prepare for this career, Bryant has never shied away from jumping into any role he could get his hands on. At 14 years old, he was applying to work in every field he could, which helped shape him for his current role with Generations Bank. 

“Don’t let the fear drive you away from being curious,” Bryant said. “It’s OK to ask the questions that it feels like everyone else already knows the answer to. In all things, I try to operate under the statement, ‘I just haven’t learned that yet,’ to give myself the freedom to know it’s OK to learn something new.”

What to expect on payday:

The average annual base salary of a chief strategy officer is $141,952 in Arkansas, but this role exists in many fields; salary averages vary depending on the industry.*

Sources: *

“There’s an immense amount of opportunity, and honestly, many roles aren’t all that money- related after all.”- Bryant Penzo

  • Communications
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  • Human Resources Manager
  • Director of Innovation
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  • you're a fantastic listener.
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  • communication is your strong suit.
  • you're comfortable making decisions.