Closing The Loop: Don Delle Donne

Mar 20, 2015

Don Delle Donne
Credit Warren Miller

Don Delle Donne is a banking professional who's run numerous departments behind the scenes. It's not Don who's moved from one bank to another over his career — it's the banks themselves.

Don grew up in Tampa, and went to Florida state. After graduation, he went to work for Barnett Bank.

"Nineteen-eighty-five, I went to work for Barnett in southwest Florida. I was a Systems 36 manager, but they felt I had other talents, so they put me in credit training."

Don thought his banking career would progress more quickly if he changed employers. There were a lot of banks in Florida in the 1980s. "Back then, it was easy to move to another company. I changed jobs, became a credit analyst, then learned about real estate loans. In 1990, I moved up to Charlotte with NCNB.

As many in Jacksonville know, NCNB acquired Barnett Bank the following year. The number of banks in Florida was plunging through similar acquisitions. Don Delle Donne found himself back at his original company, although its name changed again when NCNB bought Bank of America and took on its name.

"By 2008, I was a business support manager with Bank of America. That job was project management, systems engineering, and little bit of finance. It was an interesting job."

Don was married with a young son, and had built a home on the water in Palm Coast. In 2010, however, his employer reorganized. "Every time the bank reorganizes, it's an opportunity to lay people off, and I was one of them. After doing a few interviews with no results, and looking at what was happening in banking in general, I realized that I had to go outside my field.

Don tried selling insurance, but couldn't get his income anywhere where it had been. After leaving that, he landed a position in a different industry, that fit his skills and experience. The problem was... it wasn't anywhere near his home.

"I found a job in Brandon, Florida, near Tampa, as a business analyst for Coca Cola, which had a bottling and orange juice plant there. I would stay there during the week and come home on the weekends. Then, in 2013, Bank of America called me to offer me my old job back, at the same salary and I could work in northeast Florida. I thought things were changing for the better — what could possibly go wrong? So I quit Coca Cola and returned. A year and a half later, in September 2014, I was laid off again." 

Don's married also collapsed. In the fall of last year, he got divorced, lost his job, and sold his home. "I've become a little tougher, and a little more pro-active in looking at my next move. In some ways, I'm like I was in my 20s. Everything is a competition, not just to get a job, but to keep it. You have to stay relevant to your employer. Stay relevant and you don't get laid off."

But Don Delle Donne also has a certain resentment about the result of his effort. "I did everything right. I went to college, I learned the right skills, worked hard — sometimes too hard.  And I thought that would mean career success. But it didn't work out that way."

Donv does have a plan, though. "I'm sending out about 10 resumes a day, and looking at graduate school options. Having an MBA is likely to get more potential employers to meet with me. It's part of staying relevant."