She runs marathons both literally and figuratively. When Maggie Niekrash isn’t participating in grueling endurance races, she’s helping The Huntington National Bank succeed at a pace that’s just as impressive and intense.
Since co-founding the bank’s energy team in 2012, she’s helped grow its portfolio to more than $1.5 billion in loan commitments from more than 60 clients.
“Co-founding a team was something that I knew I wanted to do at some point in my career, but the opportunity presented itself much earlier than I expected,” Niekrash says. “I think working hard and being reliable helped me realize the milestone sooner than expected.”
Career path: After graduating from college, Niekrash accepted a job with Bank of America (BofA) as a corporate debt products analysist.
She was routinely promoted, and ultimately served as a vice president in corporate debt products on the natural resources team.
While working at BofA, she met Stephen Hoffman, who was then a managing director on the bank’s natural resources team. He later moved on to Huntington and recruited Niekrash to help start its energy team.
Challenge accepted: Niekrash challenges herself both inside and outside the office. The avid runner has completed five marathons—she ran the Boston Marathon twice—and more than 30 half marathons. After racking up her marathon medals, she decided to push her limits even further.
“I enjoy running marathons, and a couple years ago, a friend convinced me to try a triathlon,” she says. “The running and biking would be no problem, but I never enjoyed swimming and was not a great swimmer. I knew to complete the triathlon, I would have to get out of my comfort zone, take swim lessons and begin swimming regularly.”
She has since competed in two triathlons and one half-Ironman.
Mentors: Niekrash views colleague Hoffman, who manages Huntington’s energy team, as her greatest professional mentor. He’s taught her to leave no stone unturned when working toward a goal.
On a personal level, she looks to her parents for inspiration, who taught her there is no substitute for hard work.
Advice for young professionals: “Work hard,” she says. “It always pays off.”