Kelly Souza '03 (BBA)
USD Real Estate Alum Rises through the Banking Ranks
In just seven short years, USD School of Business Administration alum Kelly Souza has gone from recent college grad and intern to vice president and team leader of the San Diego Real Estate Banking Group within Wells Fargo, one of the largest and most recognizable banks in the country.
Souza attributes her career success to a combination of hard work, self-motivation, assertiveness, efficiency and a little bit of luck. Her passion for real estate also played a major role.
Souza was interested in real estate long before beginning college, thanks to the influence of her “investment-focused” parents. That inherent interest flourished at USD, where the business program and her real estate professors provided her a real life perspective of working in real estate. “We had regular contact with industry executives―not just textbooks,” she says.
It was during her senior year at USD that Souza participated in the “Shadow an Executive” program and met Jeff Reed, who at the time was office manager of Wells Fargo’s San Diego Real Estate Group and has since been promoted to executive vice president and heads Wells Fargo’s Real Estate Managed Assets Group. Reed, who is a member of the Center’s Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee, was so impressed by Souza that he hired her right out of college to be an analyst.
Souza’s career at Wells Fargo has progressed quickly since then. After multiple promotions, she is now vice president and team leader, where she directly manages many of the office’s largest clients and oversees approximately $400 million in loan commitments.
Souza’s favorite part of the job is helping to shape the San Diego community. “I love that I have the ability to hop in my car and drive around the city to see the projects I have helped to finance over the years―it’s very tangible,” she says.
Away from work, Souza enjoys sport fishing, traveling, snowboarding and wakeboarding. She especially enjoys spending time with her husband, Jordan, who is a captain of a local sports fishing boat.
Souza has been closely involved with the Burnham-Moores Center since finishing her last semester in fall 2003. She is a member of the newly formed Young Entrepreneurs Council of the Center’s Policy Advisory Board, which is a small group of high performers under the age of 35.
She is also one of the founding members of USD’s Real Estate Alumni Association and has been a panelist and employer at several Real Estate Career Expos, among other contributions. She stays involved with the university, she says, because she feels it is important “to give back to my alma mater and those who helped me get where I am today.”