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Board Member Spotlight - Yvonne Debessa

Posted on 12/9/2020 by in 2020

AAA Scholarship Foundation Newsletter: Born and raised in Miami, FL, Yvonne Debesa has a deep-rooted love for her community, contributing her time to many boards and community efforts, including those in the education arena.

She is also a founding member of the AAA Scholarship Foundation Bank Advisory Board, offering her expertise to help grow state scholarship programs that provide educational options for low-income families.

Yvonne Debesa

With a career in the banking industry that spans more than 40 years, Yvonne currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Sunstate Bank, a community bank serving the South Florida area with branches in Palmetto Bay, West Miami, and Coral Gables. In her role, she oversees the bank’s branch network, deposit operations, and loan servicing. She also serves as an advisor to the Board’s Audit Committee, ALCO/Investment and Director’s Loan Committee, as well as serving on the Executive Management, IT Steering Committee, and Management Compliance Committees. Yvonne is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Yvonne’s start in the banking industry began in high school when she was given the opportunity to work part-time in the bookkeeping department at Republic National Bank. Before that experience, she considered a career in teaching, but once she dipped her toe in the banking industry, she found her calling and decided to focus her studies on business. Yvonne went on to attend Florida International University, where she earned her bachelor’s in business administration and later her master’s in accounting. While attending school, she continued working at Republic National Bank, learning the ins and outs of the banking industry from the ground up and working in various departments.

Over the years, she held a variety of executive level positions in banking before securing her current position at Sunstate Bank in 2011. She loves the variety that comes from working at a community bank as it enables her to wear many hats and stay engaged in her community. In fact, her focus on the community dates back to the early days in her career.

“A client once told me ‘it does not matter what you do in business or personally – what matters is what you do to give back to your community,’ and that really stuck with me,” says Yvonne.

Aside from her work with the AAA Scholarship Foundation, Yvonne is actively involved in a multitude of civic and business organizations including the South Florida Banking Institute, Greater Miami Chamber-Banking and Financial Services Committee, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami – Women’s Leadership Council, FIU Alumni Board, United Way’s WomenUnited, and Alfalit Literacy

It is not surprising to learn of the acknowledgement Yvonne has received for her unwavering efforts in the community. She has been recognized by Florida International University as an Alumni Leader; by Miami Dade College as an “I am MDC” alumni ambassador; and in 2013 received the Alumni Achievement Award from The Education Fund, a nonprofit supporting students and teachers in MiamiDade County Public Schools.

“You have to have balance in your life,” Yvonne says. “Fulfill your responsibilities and then do what makes you happy. And for me, giving back is fulfilling.”

When she is not making a difference through her work at Sunstate and her community activities, Yvonne carves out time to travel the world – joking that she always has her toiletry bag packed and ready to go on her next adventure. Not one to let a vacation day go to waste, Yvonne has a goal to travel to as many countries as possible and was hoping to hit a milestone of visiting her 60th country this year before the Covid-19 pandemic put her plans on hold. When she can travel again, you can guarantee her bags will be packed, ready to disconnect from everyday life for a bit and add to her collection of vacation photos.

We are so grateful for Yvonne’s tireless work both with the AAA Scholarship Foundation Bank Advisory Board, as well as within other areas of the community

www.aaascholarships.org

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