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July 17, 2014 40 Under Forty 2014

Brandon Ojakian

Age: 36

Title at work/what I do: Vice president, regional manager Greater New Haven, Citizen's Bank. I am responsible for coaching and developing the 100 colleagues in the 17 Citizen's Bank branches in the Greater New Haven and Fairfield County region. Citizen's Bank believes that good banking is good citizenship, and to me that means that as a leader in my organization I have to drive my people to go above and beyond to meet and exceed the needs of their customers, their colleagues, and their communities. Not every individual on my team can be the No. 1 ranked colleague in their position but if we are the No. 1 team in the company, every single one of my 100 employees are the best at what they do.

Town where I work: New Haven

Town where I live: Cheshire

College I attended: Albertus Magnus College

My passion, hobby or special talent: Coaching sports. Teaching kids how to compete and work to achieve goals develops a positive work ethic for adulthood.

Twitter handle: @Ojakian78

No. of LinkedIn connections: 353

Favorite place to network: Downtown Stamford

Favorite drink at a networking event: A vodka tonic with lime or an ice cold Stella

How do I create connections in my professional life?

I create connections by being accessible. Despite how busy I might be or how many different hats I am wearing, I always make myself available for colleagues, customers, business partners, or community leaders. One of the most important things to building connections is to always put yourself in the shoes of the people that you meet. If I can put myself in their situation to understand what they need, what they want, and how I can support them, ultimately I will earn their trust and create a great connection.

What's been my biggest challenge professionally?

I started very young. I was a 21-year-old branch manager, and when you start young you make a lot of mistakes. That being said, I learned from every single mistake I've made and it's made me the leader I am today. My other challenge has been being patient. I am always looking for the next big challenge in my career, and I've had to learn to slow down and be patient. I'm still trying to learn that.

What is the best advice I received?

Kim Dee, my current boss and the head of the New England South Market for Citizen's Bank, told me that you do not have to speak a lot but make sure that whenever you do speak, you speak with impact.

What do I want my legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be of somebody who helped others achieve their goals. Whether that is my children, my employees, my customers, or the communities that I serve, I want to know that what I did made a difference in the lives of the people around me. I also want people to remember me as somebody who gave everything he had every single day to be the best at everything he did. I also want to be remembered for pushing myself out of my comfort zone every chance that I had because I didn't want there to be something that I couldn't accomplish. And at the end of the day I want people to remember me as somebody that pushed them to be the best version of themselves.

Check out the other 40 Under Forty for 2014 winners

Molly Devanney

Jennifer R. Fiereck

Betsey Castle Gainey

Martin Gugliotti

Bryan Hall, II

Benjamin Howarth

Ashley (AJ) Johnson

Garrett Kenny

Vincenzo M. Landino

Heather Loranger

Ashley M. Maagero

Kim Margolis

Lindsey Mathieu

Tracy I. McKaveney

Ryan McKeen

Adam McLaughlin

H. Scott Miller

Alison Morris

Peter J. Murphy

Kristina Newman-Scott

Michelle M. Pandolfi

Erin Pirro

Ken Procino

Steven Raider-Ginsburg

Brian Rich

Matthew Ritter

Robert Ruffolo

Lindsay Ryan Jensen

Zachary Schwartz

Jarrett Solomon

Erica Ann Thompson

Jason J. Warnke

Tim Yergeau

Jennifer Young

Christopher R. Zito

McKinley Albert

Keshia Ashe

Dr. Jill Buban

Stephen Carrabba

Leticia Colon de Mejias

Erin M. Concepción

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