Broadcast professional finds success in corporate world

April 2011

Many Western New Yorkers will recognize M. Jean Hill, EMBA ’04, who was a news anchor at Buffalo’s ABC affiliate, WKBW-TV (Channel 7), for 12 years.

What they may not know is that Hill is now in a leadership position at another Buffalo institution, M&T Bank.

Hill always had an interest in the business world, which led to her joining M&T in 2001 as a vice president for corporate communications; a job she says was “right up my alley.

“It was a smooth transition,” she says. “I was helping reporters develop financial services related stories, writing public addresses for banking professionals and explaining to the media what M&T does and why we do it.”

After transitioning to a corporate role, Hill decided to pursue an Executive MBA (EMBA) at the School of Management. “I wanted to better understand the dynamics of the business world, and the EMBA program was a bridge in diversifying my skills and my career,” she says.

Hill received her EMBA in 2004 and says the experience was valuable for a number of reasons.

“The EMBA program enhanced my understanding of business strategies,” she says. “I have a broader comprehension of how businesses operate and the roles that the economy, politics and operating structures play in corporate decision-making.”

These skills have come into play since she was named to a new position, vice president and senior compliance officer at M&T, more than a year ago. In this role, her job includes communicating with federal and state regulators to provide information pertaining to the Trust Division’s adherence to regulations, writing procedures and tracking compliance activities.

Hill has remained active with the School of Management, serving as one of the facilitators of the Executive Communicator program, one of the school’s executive education offerings.

“The Executive Communicator program gives me an opportunity to help C-suite executives understand their roles as representatives of their organizations,” she says.

Hill’s background in broadcast journalism is especially helpful when instructing the class. “I use current news examples to illustrate how certain public incidents might have been handled differently,” she says. “I have an advantage in illuminating this perspective because I have been on both sides—I’ve been a journalist, looking for as much information as possible to share with the public, and I've been the individual looking for the best way to help reporters understand what my company does.”

A native of Newark, N.J., Hill attended college at the University of Georgia, but now calls Buffalo home. “I came here in 1990 and found my little corner of the world in Buffalo,” she says. “While I travel frequently, I’ve met people who have become family to me. That’s why I stayed.”

She has even embraced the Buffalo winters by taking up skiing, although she confesses the conditions must be “perfect—when the sun is shining and the air is crisp.” She also enjoys golf, as a member of the M&T Women’s Golf League. “I try to engage in as many exciting and enlightening experiences as possible; that includes auditioning for the voice of a duck, just for the fun of it,” she says.

Written by Cathy Wilde