Inclusive and influential: Brian Lamb

BOT Chairman Brian Lamb said his upbringing is what made him care about his reputation and helping others. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

*This story is part of an ongoing series that highlights campus leaders during Black Heritage Month.*

Some may know Brian Lamb for his success in the banking industry, leadership in the Board of Trustees (BOT) or from his time wearing the number 15 jersey on the basketball court.

Yet Lamb knew he had to grow up and become one thing — a public servant.

Originally from Tallahassee, Lamb was brought up by his father who was a school teacher and his mother who worked in the Department of Corrections.

At a young age, Lamb said the importance of education was instilled in him, as well as building a reputation and working hard.

“That’s who we’ve been our whole lives,” Lamb said. “My mother and father laid that groundwork in a number of ways.”

Growing up in a close-knit family, it was difficult for Lamb to finalize a decision on where to go to college due to distance from home.

With options to go to prestigious schools such as Stanford and George Washington University, Lamb chose to stay in Florida to attend USF.

“I had the chance to go anywhere in the country, but I felt that Tampa Bay was a great marketing community that was growing,” Lamb said.

At USF, Lamb earned his degree in accounting and finance while simultaneously following his passion — basketball.

“When I look back at those days, it’s considered the best days of my life,” Lamb said. “We built a brotherhood that really stood the test of time.”

Once in the workforce, Lamb started his career in finance  and landed a position at Fifth Third Bank in 2006. He now stands as the executive vice president and head of Wealth & Asset Management.

After finding his footing in the banking industry, Lamb felt he was in a position to run a great business.

In 2018, Lamb was named in the “top 100 most influential Blacks in corporate America” by Savoy Magazine and was inducted in the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame in 2016.

As a result of his upbringing, Lamb knew he had to give back to his community.

By being an African-American man, Lamb said he is creating better access and increasing conversations about diversity in the financial world.

Becoming successful to Lamb was centered around what he and his parents called “having a good name.”

“Success to me was defined by not necessarily what I thought was successful,” Lamb said. “What was important to me is what reputation I have created and that others around me believe in me.”

Lamb is continuing his second two-year term as the chair of the BOT after being re-elected in 2018.

While establishing his “good name,” Lamb is redefining what leadership looks like at USF.

“(As an) African-American chair of the Board of Trustees, I hope to goodness I’m not the last,” Lamb said.

Lamb is continuing the same intention at Fifth Third Bank.

He said he is involved in helping African-Americans in the banking industry with what he considers to be “the first significant wealth transfer for African-Americans in our history.”

With his time on the BOT, Lamb has worked with other African-American leaders such as Oscar Horton, who he considers to be a role model in his life.

Looking forward, Lamb said he wants to build a legacy that will outlast him as chair.

“If we get it right when the day is done, we’re very likely to make 50-year decisions,” Lamb said.  “I’d like those 50-year decisions to make Tampa Bay and USF a better place.”

According to Lamb, the basic tenets to any great institution are access, inclusion and diversity.

Lamb said he is grateful for the opportunities Fifth Third Bank and USF have given him to continue to change the trajectory of African-American leadership, as well as allowing him to stay true to his roots.

“When I think about Brian Lamb, who I am today, I’m still that same public servant,” Lamb said.