Ann Pankow has a knack for being the first person people in her network think of when they need someone talented.
Two weeks after graduating from Florida Gulf Coast University, Pankow received a call from her finance professor — in 2011 amid the recession, no less — saying: I just gave your name to a bank, they need someone to fill a role, and you’re perfect for it.
Years later, a friend in financial consulting would call: I’m working on a development project in West Africa for the World Bank, and we’re looking for a financial analyst. Interested?
The most recent call was placed by The Sanibel Captiva Trust Co., which currently employs Pankow as its director of trust administration. In her role — which didn’t exist before she was hired — Pankow works as something of a hub, managing the spokes that are her trust officer colleagues working in other locations, although the relationship sounds more like partnership than hierarchy. “We all have different skill sets, we bring different history,” Pankow explains.
It’s a job Pankow almost didn’t take, thinking it didn’t make sense given she was five months pregnant at the time the conversations were happening. But the company persisted (notice a theme?), and worked with her to incorporate some maternity leave into her new role.
In addition to proving she is indeed quite talented, Pankow’s popularity is also an indication of her willingness to step up when others need help. For her, it’s a major benefit of the work she does. “It’s one thing to work and just exist in a community, but through my work I’m serving my clients and the community I live in,” she says.
Along the way in her career stops, Pankow has had several key mentors. One in particular is Billie Ann Porter, currently a senior trust officer at Naples Trust Co. Porter, says Pankow in her 40 under 40 questionnaire, has provided constructive criticism for a decade and been a valuable and trusted advisor.