Rosilyn Houston: Alabama banking’s trailblazer, powered by bonds and belief – 2024 Women of Impact

January 13, 2024
1 min read


Rosilyn Houston, former Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Executive Vice President of Santander USA, is a trailblazer in the banking industry, being the first woman and first African-American to hold senior management roles at multiple banks. Houston is a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion in banking and has received numerous accolades for her work. She is passionate about building relationships and supporting others, and plans to continue her work in diversity and inclusion advocacy and leader mentorship after retiring from banking. Houston also wants to pursue her dream of becoming a licensed chaplain and serving families in hospitals.

In a career spanning over 30 years, Rosilyn Houston has broken barriers and set new standards in the banking industry. She has served in various senior management roles, including Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Executive Vice President, making her the first woman and first African-American to hold these positions at Santander USA and BBVA Compass, respectively. Houston has paved the way for other women and minorities in the industry, advocating for their representation and advancement.

While Houston initially pursued a career in education, a part-time teller position at a local bank drew her into the world of banking. She quickly excelled in various roles and developed a passion for the industry. Houston’s dedication and hard work have earned her numerous accolades, including recognition as one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker and one of the Most Powerful Female Executives by Fortune.

However, what Houston values most are the relationships she has forged throughout her career. She believes that success in banking is driven by strong relationships with employees and ensuring their engagement and well-being. Houston is passionate about supporting others, particularly women, and advocates for diversity and inclusion as a business imperative. She emphasizes the importance of individual relationships and lifelong learning in fostering diversity and inclusion in senior management roles.

After retiring from the banking industry in 2023, Houston remains actively engaged in diversity and inclusion advocacy and leader mentorship. She serves on the board of the Civil Rights Institute and Prosper Alabama, continuing to work towards promoting diversity and equity in various avenues. Furthermore, Houston’s personal experiences as a cancer survivor, as well as her son’s battle with cancer, have inspired her to pursue another dream – becoming a licensed chaplain to provide spiritual support to families facing similar challenges in hospitals.

For Houston, her work is not just a job; it is a calling and a mission. She approaches each day with the intention of nurturing, developing, and mentoring others, striving to help them reach their full potential. Her work ethic and faith guide her in leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those she encounters.

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