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DBT40 Honoree: Laura Ristano

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Title: Director Credit Operations

Workplace: Discover Financial Services

Age: 38

Laura Ristano has made a career in financial services of tackling new roles and finding efficiencies in long-running operations.

She started in banking as an agent and grew to manage a team of 20 others. Today, as director of Discover’s Credit Operations Department in New Castle, she manages more than 600 employees.

In 2016, she received Discover’s President’s Plate Award for restructuring its credit acquisitions group to not only sit in a new department but become more efficient using a new system.

During COVID, Ristano was tasked with transitioning hundreds of workers under her direction to remote working. She also had to bring four operation sites across the country under the report of one director. Although teams were larger, she grew a sense of camaraderie among the far-flung associates who were calling into work each day earning accolades from her peers in Discover.

She was chosen by her company colleagues to serve as executive sponsor to BOLD (Black Organizational Leadership at Discover), PRIDE (LGBTQ+), and Paws for People, a therapy dogs nonprofit. As their sponsors, she participates in their programming and helps guide the groups to success.

Outside of Discover, Ristano has been an active mentor with Communities in Schools, built homes with Habitat for Humanity, and volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and Food Bank of Delaware. She also helped Warriors Helping Warriors build a home for military veterans.

Although she’s a Delawarean now, Ristano is a huge Cleveland Browns football fan and she and her husband have season tickets in the famous Dawg Pound fan section. She also loves music and even tried out for “American Idol” when she was younger.

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