Carol A. Neyland
Senior Vice President
As Vice President of Community Development, Carol has been instrumental through Dollar Bank’s Mortgages for Mothers program to enable mothers and their families to take advantage of the American Dream of owning their own home.
39 Years in the Financial/Banking Industry
OW: What has been your greatest inspiration?
CN: To make my mother, Dr. Julita C. Awkard, proud of me.
OW: Name one person who you consider to be a great role model and tell us why.
CN: I consider my mother to be my greatest role model. She showed me what one could accomplish through hard work and determination. She was a WWII war bride from Manila, Philippine Islands. At 16, she came to this country alone by ship to join my father. She entered through San Francisco, and she had to make her way across the country by herself to Harrisonburg, VA, where she met her new, unwelcoming in-laws who considered her to be an “uneducated heathen.” Once there, my mother earned her high school diploma, raised three girls, and taught herself how to cook and sew.
She made all of our clothes, including overcoats with satin linings. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree, three Master’s degrees and her Ph.D. She defended her dissertation after her third brain surgery to remove a recurring benign tumor. Her strength and determination inspire me daily. Even though my mom had three daughters, “her girls” were the primarily African American, first-generation college women who formed the Pharmacy Fraternity of Kappa Epsilon, a chapter my mother founded at Florida A & M University. She taught us how to succeed and how to help others. I try to be like her every day of my life.
OW: What is the biggest career mistake you have ever made?
CN: My biggest career mistake was taking a job just because it paid more. I worked 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, and a half day on Sunday. The stress was unbearable and the money wasn’t worth it. I learned that if you do something you love, it doesn’t even seem like work.
OW: What would you do differently?
CN: Nothing. I have no professional or personal regrets. I am glad that I was not afraid to take some risks. I have counted it all with joy.
OW: What was the best thing that you have ever done, which got you where you are today?
CN: Face my fears. Somewhere along the line, I decided that I was just as smart as the next person, could speak as well as the next person, and that if I had something worth-while to say, I wasn’t going to be afraid to say it. The largest audience that I have ever addressed was about 800 veterans and I had no fear.
OW: What would you tell your younger self?
CN: I would tell my younger self not to obsess about my weight or my appearance. I would tell her to just believe in herself and to smile more.
OW: What advice would you give to anyone about following their dreams?
CN: Don’t listen to the naysayers who try to dissuade you from your dreams. I wanted to teach Latin to disadvantaged children and I received my Master’s degree in Clas- sical Languages. When I couldn’t nd suit- able employment, I decided to get my MBA so that I could get a job. Everyone discour- aged me and told me I didn’t have the back- ground to succeed. I just put the blinders on, put my head down, and worked hard. I graduated with my MBA in 11 months.
I’m writing to nominate Jayla Rucker the 2022 Black Women of Excellence event. Jala is a power hitter on the ground. (She reminds me of my younger self) Jala currently provides direct client assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness with a focus on individual client care. Her clients are mostly single women with children, overburdened, and facing other hardships as well. Her services include application services, education resources, employment, guidance to social services, health care, legal aid, Covid-19 vaccines, and food because the government’s current rental/mortgage payment subsidies alone are not enough.