Skip to Content
Alumni profile

Patricia R. Callahan ’75, SM ’77

Alumna named one of American Banker’s “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking”

When Pat Callahan gives career talks, she advises people to focus on moving laterally. “It’s not a straight line up in a corporation anymore,” she says. “What you need to do is move around, so you gain new experiences, learn different businesses, and that gets you ready for the next promotion.” She should know: the 36-year Wells Fargo veteran worked in almost every area of the company before assuming her current role as senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

Patricia R. Callahan ’75, SM ’77

Growing up in East Boston, Callahan didn’t think she’d end up in banking. Five years of commuting on the subway to the Girls Latin School in Dorchester piqued her interest in urban planning and public transportation. She majored in Course II and then stayed at MIT to get her MBA. A job at a bank in New York the summer between her two years at Sloan convinced her that banking would be a good place to put her engineering background to work.

“I had an idealistic view that I could go into a bank where most of the workers were women, most of the managers were men, and I could help in some way,” she says.

After graduating, she worked at Crocker Bank in California, supervising women who performed clerical operations. In 1986 Crocker Bank was acquired by Wells Fargo. Over the years, she assumed management roles in operations, communications, finance, real estate, and human resources, prompting American Banker to ask in 2011, “Is there anything Patricia Callahan can’t do at Wells Fargo?” Last fall, the magazine ranked her number 13 among the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking.”

In 2008, Callahan successfully led one of the most extensive, complex mergers in banking history, between Wells Fargo and Wachovia Bank. Currently, she manages 2,300 employees and oversees communications, social responsibility, enterprise marketing, government relations, and human resources.

When she isn’t working, Callahan and her husband, David Dee, spend a lot of time walking their very active two-year-old dog, Charlie. “When he’s on leash, you can’t walk him less than five or six miles,” she says with a laugh. The couple is making a major transition this year: they bought a house in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, to be closer to their two children and Callahan’s mother. She will continue to work at Wells Fargo, though, mostly remotely from Massachusetts, but they will also keep a condo in California. “I love this company,” she says.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.

The worst technology failures of 2023

The Titan submersible, lab-grown chicken, and GM’s wayward Cruise robotaxis made our annual list of the worst in tech.

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.

Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.