Women of Western Wake: Veronica Bent

Veronica Bent knew she was born to be a leader, but it was her kind heart for service that helped guide her toward putting those leadership qualities into action at nonprofits in western Wake.

A self-described ‘servant-leader,’ Bent has built a reputation as a community leader through service.

“It’s really about just helping people,” Bent said. “If you love people, then you’re willing to help them, and that involves giving your time.”

Bent, a member of the Rotary Club of Morrisville for 13 years, was selected as the group’s 2023-2024 District 7710 Governor earlier this year. Following the organization’s core mission to promote peace, fight disease, support education and clean water, and grow local economies on an international level, she will oversee the efforts of more than 2,000 Rotarians at over 50 clubs in the Triangle area.

Veronica Bent, left, volunteers at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina during the Morrisville Chamber’s Day of Service. Submitted photo.

“She is a woman who stepped up into leadership,” said Rev. Dr. Rose Cornelious, a fellow Rotary Club and Morrisville Chamber of Commerce member. “She wouldn’t have put herself into these positions, but she has been catapulted and she has more than demonstrated her abilities. She takes charge; she does what she needs to do; she organizes; she administers. She’ll get in there, roll up her sleeves, and be right there next to you doing anything.”

Among her many volunteer efforts at the Morrisville Chamber, Bent works on the Knowledgeable Network of Women committee, which provides professional development and networking opportunities for women in business. She is also on the board for the Innovation Foundation, which fosters entrepreneurship, community service and economic development in Morrisville.

Cornelious has seen Bent’s leadership in action and her knack for organizing others to a common goal. At a Chamber membership drive, Bent served as a team captain in a competition that tasked teams with calling community members and asking them to join the Chamber. At the end of the drive, Bent’s team had gained twice as many new members as any other team.

“She organized us, and she outshone everybody,” Cornelious said, laughing. “It was almost embarrassing.”

Bent’s busy schedule working with nonprofits is also compounded by her job at Pinnacle Financial Partners in Cary, where she works as a banker and small business lender. Bent also serves as the North Carolina Eastern Region Leader for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council at the company.

“She has always had a heart to serve,” said Scott Mackey, a coworker at Pinnacle Financial Partners and a fellow Rotary Club member. “Being in the community, making sure all aspects of the community are taken care of and served has always been a strong point of hers.”

A Louisiana native, service in the military brought Bent to North Carolina in 1990, where she met her husband, Winston Bent, who also served in the Army with the 82nd Airborne.

After four years of active duty and two more in the National Guard, Bent entered civilian life and settled in Raleigh, where she began working in banking. She and her husband raised two sons, Daniel and Benjamin.

Rose Cornelious, left, Veronica Bent and Morrisville Council Member Steve Rao attend a Morrisville Rotary Club event in July. Submitted photo.

Bent graduated from Fayetteville State while serving in the military and later earned a Master of Public Administration from N.C. Central. She joined the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority while at Fayetteville State and is still actively involved in the service-oriented group.

Over her nearly 30-year banking career, Bent has worked in many roles, including as a branch manager. While she is passionate about the financial aspects of her career, working with the public and helping people reach their goals has proved most rewarding.

“I started out as a teller way back in the day after I decided I wanted to change my career, and I love talking to people,” she said. “So that was the best gig. I like the financial side of stuff and talking to people, so I was like, ‘Let’s put it together.’”

Outside of work, Bent continues to search for outlets to reach others. Her involvement in the community matters most to her for how it impacts others’ lives.

“My service work has won me numerous awards, but it’s what it has done for people’s lives,” Bent said. “It’s really the most beneficial feeling, how such a small gesture could change a person’s whole world. You find that out when you do service. When you’re helping somebody and they’re at their lowest point, and then you check back on them and they have made it.”

Bent has learned that by helping others, she has helped herself, too. The smiles and laughter keep her going.

“You have to not lose the focus of having fun,” she said. “Laughing is medicine for the soul, and it’s not just a cliche, it really isn’t. When you’re happiest with helping others, it really does come back to you. It’s such a rewarding feeling you carry on.”

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