In her role as executive vice president of PNC Financial Services Group, and managing executive of Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth, Nicole Perkins enjoys bringing people together to provide excellent value to her clients.

As a leader, she makes a point to listen to her team and position herself as someone who can provide help but also take ideas and collaborate.

"I call my team the board of directors," she says, "so they feel and understand that I need them as much as they need me to run the business."

As a woman of color, Perkins says she has made it a priority to always put diversity issues at the forefront.

The topic is on the agenda at every team meeting, and she thinks it is just as important to discuss as monthly revenues.

"The industry itself has a lot to learn and a long way to go in being a place for women and people of color," Perkins says, adding that "self-selection is also an issue."

Because of this, Perkins takes her position as a role model very seriously and thinks of it as "giving back or paying forward, however you look at it."

She enjoys mentoring others, especially women and people of color.

"The key is inclusion," she says. "The more visibility I can have, showing there's a voice at the table that will provide interest, [the better]."

Perkins is involved in a range of activities outside of work that serve to better her community in Philadelphia.

She sits on the board of directors of First Person Arts, which focuses on memoir and documentary art.

In 2004, she founded the Starr Garden Recreation Volunteer Association, an organization that has revitalized the nation's first municipal park, created by Theodore Starr to serve Philadelphia's poorest black children.

Perkins is busy, and she appreciates every moment of it. "I'm a firm believer in not doing things that don't give you joy," she says.

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Carmen Reinicke

Carmen Reinicke is a reporter for Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.