Bank customers naturally assume their information is kept confidential. For Tara Tittrington ’17 MBC, an information security specialist at U.S. Bank, it’s serious business – and a responsibility she’s well suited for as a self-described “most tenacious Tommie.”While Tittrington’s career was a winding road, she credits her St. Thomas education as well as a flash mentoring program at U.S. Bank for landing her current position.
“St. Thomas made me the person I am today,” she said.
After high school Tittrington took a job as an information security specialist in the U.S. military, working out of the Pentagon. While she enjoyed the role and loved the area, Tittrington decided a formal education was needed and used the GI Bill to obtain her associate degree in marketing from North Hennepin Community College. She returned to the workforce and subsequently earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational management and communications from Concordia University, St. Paul.
For the last 14 years, Tittrington has worked for U.S. Bank, starting out as a universal banker. When her career wasn’t going at the pace she wanted, she figured out a different way to advance within U.S. Bank rather than leaving the organization.
“It’s the company that I support and want to be behind. I understand their core values, their mission and the direction that U.S. Bank is wanting to go,” Tittrington said. “I really love U.S. Bank.”
As a passionate learner, Tittrington decided to pursue a master’s degree at St. Thomas with encouragement from U.S. Bank and her husband, St. Thomas Dining Services employee Jimmy Tittrington. Her studies at St. Thomas provided insight into how to make her next career move.
As part of a leadership development class in the Master of Business Communication program, Tittrington had to interview a leader at U.S. Bank. That sparked her interest in flash mentoring, which – unlike traditional mentoring – involves one-time or short-term mentoring. She interviewed 15 employees of the U.S. Bank IT department, making as many connections as possible and learning about the company’s approach to information security.
In addition, she regularly volunteered for a U.S. Bank community development program called Twin Cities Development Network.
“U.S. Bank established a means of expanding horizons internally with flash mentoring, and Tara really worked the internal network to create an opportunity,” said Dr. Mike Porter, APR, faculty director of the health care communication program. “Far too often, employees don’t take full advantage of formal and informal networking opportunities within larger organizations. Tara’s experience shows what is possible with initiative and effort.”
As word of Tittrington’s interest in information security spread within U.S. Bank, an internal recruiter kept her informed of new opportunities in the IT department.
The first job in her career – information security specialist in the U.S. military – got her foot in the door to be considered for IT positions at U.S. Bank. Tittrington was the second-place choice for three positions. But it wasn’t until she obtained ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) certification that she landed her current role.
“My life came full circle,” she said.
Reflecting on her time at St. Thomas, Tittrington shared how much she loves the collaborative nature of the St. Thomas community.
Tittrington hopes current students can learn from her experience. When asked for words of wisdom to share with current undergraduates, she said, “Keep asking questions. Get involved. Be patient. You have to struggle to appreciate the good things.”
After sharing that food for thought, Tittrington returned to her new responsibility – ensuring U.S. Bank customers’ information is secure.