Be brave. Not perfect.
Those four words summarize the philosophy of Bansree Parikh, president of the Inland Empire market for Bank of America.
The message is so important to her that she had it tattooed on her wrist. And she looks forward to sharing that approach to life during her 2023-2024 tenure as a School of Business Executive Fellow.
“You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be brave—because perfection isn’t the goal,” says Parikh. “Just getting better every day is the goal.”
The importance of bravery was instilled in her from a very young age, including her arrival in the United States from India at the age of 5.
“How blessed am I that my parents chose to do the bravest thing?” Parikh says. “I cannot imagine leaving a country, leaving your family, coming to a brand-new country, learning a new language, everything—all to provide opportunity for your children.”
Parikh has made the most of that opportunity. She grew up in Los Angeles and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from California State University, Fullerton, and the Inland Empire has been her home for more than 20 years.
Her roles at Bank of America have led to strong connections with UCR and the School of Business. These relationships strengthened as she gained greater responsibility, including being named market president in 2021. She also is senior vice president and market executive for the Inland Empire for Business Banking, which serves companies with annual revenues from $5 million to $50 million. In her work with UCR, Parikh has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council, while Bank of America itself has deep ties to the university. These include endowing a chair in the School of Education, which is held by Louie Rodríguez, who was recently named vice provost and dean of undergraduate education. The bank also has sponsored multiple scholarships and grants and, in 2022, sponsored the 13th Annual Inland Empire Economic Forecast Conference hosted by UCR School of Business.
Strong Relationships, Strong Community
The connections between the university and Bank of America make sense, Parikh says, because both organizations benefit—and that contributes to the vitality of the region.
“As a resident of the Inland Empire, it’s really important to me that our youth know about our educational organizations. And the ideal for me would be that they get their education here, they stay here, and they build the Inland Empire,” she says. “I feel so blessed to be able to make an impact at home. So, it is really about what I can do to help support the university, the community and, most importantly, the students.”
Parikh sees the executive fellowship role as an opportunity to repay the support she had along the way in her own career.
“I would not be anywhere close to where I am without my mentors,” she says. “I don’t know if they knew they were mentoring me as much as I was just learning from them and absorbing.”
Speaking from her own experience and as the mom of two daughters, Parikh says she is particularly passionate about mentoring women. And she hopes to encourage all UCR students, and their success depends on their work ethic and willingness to learn from every experience.
“No matter what job you have, master that job,” she says, noting that her own experience includes working at the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park during high school. “I learned customer service there. I learned the importance of clients. I carry that with me today.”
Her other message goes back to the core belief of putting bravery over perfection.
“Don’t be afraid to take risks. Of course, they should be thought-out risks. They should be appropriate to the time of life that you’re in,” she says. “But if you’re working hard, if you’re willing to constantly learn, and you’re putting in that effort and energy, you can do anything you want.”