“At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: making a difference, impacting in a major way and that’s what Trojans do. We impact. We lead. We influence, and that’s your opportunity that’s in front of you today,” he said.
Ellington, an Enterprise native who played middle linebacker for the Troy Trojans football team from 1988-1992, is Executive Vice President and Head of Small Business Banking at Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest banks. At TROY, he doubled majored in computer science and business administration and was elected SGA Senator and SGA Clerk, before being narrowly edged out for SGA President by Cam Ward, now a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and holds a master’s degree in international business from Birmingham Southern.
He joined Wells Fargo in 2021 after having worked in various positions over 24 years at Bank of America. He began his banking career at BBVA Compass.
“You have the opportunity to compete effectively globally,” he told students. “It’s up to you to take advantage of the resources that are here (at TROY) and leverage those resources to the best of your ability.”
Ellington shared with the students his three keys to success, outlining in detail specific tidbits of advice predicated on continual competition in the workplace among professionals.
“You must commit to being a lifelong student of your industry craft,” he said. “Always being green and growing.”
Ellington explained that “in order to become a great leader, you must first become a relentless understudy” regardless of the career path chosen.
“You have to be willing to be led and put in a lot of time learning outside of the normal training programs,” he said.
“Always move to where the cheese is now and keep pressing to where the cheese is going . . . you have to stay ahead of where the opportunity is today and where it is going tomorrow,” said Ellington.
His second key: Master operating in a team environment and develop skills that strengthen the team while also building skills that are transferable to other units inside and outside of your company.
“You have to build strong relationships and constantly network across the company. Your good work and skills should never be a secret,” Ellington said. “Focus on the skills you have today, but also on closing the gaps that increase your value to the company . . . learn that knowledge that someone else wasn’t willing to garner.”
He also said that learning to be a great communicator was essential for career success.
“The people who can take complex information and articulate it in a very understandable fashion – no matter what industry you’re in – stand out from others,” Ellington said.
Finally, Ellington told student to “build a personal brand that is built to last.”
“First, be known for having a positive attitude. It’s easy. It’s infectious . . . an attitude will get you a long way,” he said. “Have positive energy and a positive attitude and commit to that no matter what arises.”
Central to accomplishing that mission is willingness to work, being well prepared and developing an “executive presence” that shows other people leadership ability. He said creating a digital footprint that is both professional and allows the viewer to easily understand the right things about you is critically important.
“Never waiver from your morals and character. Nothing is more foundationally important that being a person of good character, and that’s what Trojans do,” he said.