As you might imagine, being an executive vice president for the Fed is serious business. Jennifer Burns leads all supervisory activities for state member banks and holding companies, as well as the bank’s credit risk management function. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Burns began her career at the Richmond Fed in 1991 as an assistant examiner in the Bank Supervision and Regulation Department. She has served in a variety of roles at the organization and is involved with several internal groups as well, including the Federal Reserve System’s Senior Supervisory Group, co-chairwoman of the Consumer Compliance Management Group, on the Quantitative Resource Oversight Committee, the Subcommittee for Planning and Performance, the Subcommittee for Supervision Administration and Technology and the Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee. She was promoted to her current post this year.
“I’m not serious all the time,” she says with a laugh. “I read People magazine,” she adds. The mother of two young kids, 6 and 9, says family card games like Uno and Go Fish are one way she kicks back and relaxes. Burns has a unique work-life balance that she describes as one that functions just right for her, but maybe not for everyone else. “It’s not about giving a certain amount of hours to my organization and this amount to my family. Sometimes I’m giving more to work, sometimes to family. It depends on what’s happening at any given time,” she says. “Someone once said, you can have it all, just maybe not at one time.”
Burns says she never really had a plan or a specific field I wanted to be in, but she did know things that would not work for her. “Teaching, for example. Patience is not my strong suit and teaching is hard,” she says. Burns liked math and analysis, so business seemed like a good major. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Michigan State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
Despite a packed schedule, Burns makes time for community involvement, something she’s truly inspired by. She represents the Bank on the Women’s Leadership Initiative Advisory Council for the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. She also loves that the Fed has what she calls “a public service element that’s really motivating” and is quite proud of who the organization has evolved over the years. “Becoming more forward looking and proactive feels good,” she says.