Press Release

Bank of the West’s Nandita Bakhshi and Meghan Birmingham Leader Recognized in San Francisco Business Times’ 2017 “Most Influential Women in the Bay Area”
San Francisco, Calif. | Jun 22, 2017

  • Bakhshi also a recipient of the inaugural Inspire Award, given to just three female leaders in the Bay Area

Bank of the West's Nandita Bakhshi, President and CEO of Bank of the West and Co-CEO of BNP Paribas USA, and Meghan Birmingham Leader, EVP, Chief Administrative Officer, Commercial Banking, were honored with the San Francisco Business Times' 2017 "Most Influential Women in the Bay Area" Award at a gala in San Francisco last week. Bakhshi was also named the recipient of the publication's inaugural Inspire Award created to recognize three women each year who have demonstrated inspirational and exemplary progress to the top of their chosen fields.

"I am humbled to be among the first recipients of the San Francisco Business Times' Inspire Award," Bakhshi said. "Both the Inspire Award and the 'Most Influential Women in the Bay Area" award are raising awareness of the amazingly talented women in Northern California. All of us at Bank of the West are proud to be part of this dynamic community where we celebrate one another's success."

Bakhshi was joined on the list of honorees by Meghan Birmingham Leader, whose work with Bank of the West's Commercial Banking Group has led to countless actions that have positively impacted the Bank's corporate clients both domestically and internationally, positioned the Bank ahead of the curve as it relates to regulatory compliance, as well as supported innovation programs such as BNP Paribas' annual International Hackathon and the group's partnership with BNP Paribas L'Atelier around FinLab.

"Meghan has been a keystone in the Commercial Banking Group since she joined the bank, leading impactful strategic initiatives, both internally and externally, that have contributed to our group's success," said Jean-Marc Torre, Senior Executive Vice President, Bank of the West Commercial Banking Group.

Bank of the West was also honored by the San Francisco Business Times this spring, with Jenny Flores, Head of Community Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, being named to the publication's 40 Under 40 list for her work in elevating the Bank's engagement with customers and the communities within the Bank's geographic footprint.

Honorees of the San Francisco Business Times' "Most Influential Women in the Bay Area" list are top executives, C-suite leaders and entrepreneurs that exemplify creativity, passion, vision and perseverance. Honorees span a variety of industries including technology, real estate, finance, hospitality, non-profits, law, medicine, education and more.

In addition to the two honorees this year, Bank of the West has four executives on the San Francisco Business Times' "Forever Influential Honor Roll" of women who have been recognized consistently for their contributions: Vanessa Washington, Senior EVP, General Counsel & Secretary; Kirsten Garen, Senior EVP, Chief Information Officer; Michelle Di Gangi, EVP, Head of Small & Medium Enterprise Banking; and, Jenny Flores, SVP, Head of Community Affairs.

The complete rankings for the "Most Influential Women in the Bay Area" are available on the San Francisco Business Times website.

About San Francisco Business Times
The San Francisco Business Times is the No. 1 print and online source for Bay Area business news and information on the most successful people, companies and transactions in the region. Every Friday, the Business Times print edition arrives with an in-depth lineup of local news stories, business profiles and valuable industry rankings. From technology and sustainability to small business, biotech, hospitality, real estate and banking, the Business Times covers the most relevant and timely topics for the Bay Area business community. takes the Business Times brand known for its insight, analysis and high journalistic standards and extends it to the Internet. Thousands of established and up and coming executives visit every day looking for the information they need to do Business in the Bay Area.

About Bank of the West Commercial Banking Group
Bank of the West's Commercial Banking Group team meets the rapidly changing needs of growing businesses with annual revenues of $25 million and higher. With specialized sector expertise, the Group anticipates and tackles the challenges businesses face in industries including agriculture, healthcare, commercial real estate, manufacturing, religious institutions, and technology. The Commercial Banking Group offers clients personalized relationships and community ties of a local bank backed by the international capabilities of BNP Paribas.

About Bank of the West
Bank of the West is a regional financial services company headquartered in San Francisco with $83.8 billion in assets as of March 31, 2017. Founded in 1874, Bank of the West provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services through more than 600 branches and offices in 23 states and digital channels. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 74 countries with more than 190,000 employees. To learn more about Bank of the West, visit About Us via

Media Contact: 
Anita Fox
Corporate Communications

Miles Hill
Bliss Integrated Communication

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