As we emerge from a global pandemic crisis that has wreaked havoc on many people’s professional and personal lives, it’s no surprise that a recurring theme among this year’s nominees is empathy.
Four of the 15 Most Powerful Women in Banking: The following list noted the valuing of empathy as a leadership quality. “Compassion, or as I like to say, empathy for action, is the most important quality a leader should have,” said Caroline Donlin, Managing Director and Group Head, BMO Harris Corporate Advisory.
Emily Turner, managing director and head of business development for the Institutional Clients Group at Citi, cited her boss’ view on empathy and leadership. “Our CEO, Jane Fraser, spoke about how leading with empathy is a competitive advantage, and I agree. I believe that as we strive for excellence, we need to apply strong emotional intelligence to understand the challenges of our clients, as well as to develop and support our talents,” said Turner.
In a year when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking, it’s also remarkable that this year’s Next list shows how far many women have come. Four of this year’s nominees started at entry-level positions in banking and worked their way up. Tonya Calix, senior vice president of human resources and diversity at Beach Bank, started as an executive assistant. Beth Fite, director of retail banking at First Carolina Bank, started as a teller at a local bank before being hired as a private banker. Sonia Fraher started as an intern at Ally Financial’s predecessor, GMAC Bank, and is now a senior director of products and strategy at the bank. And Laura Howe, a regional banking manager at Wells Fargo who now oversees branch operations in five states, got her start at the bank’s call center.
Among their many accomplishments, one of our honorees is one of the youngest CFOs in the industry; another is a former professional flautist; and another started a nonprofit to encourage Cleveland-area minority youth to consider careers in tech.
Read on to learn more about these talented rising stars and join us in celebrating their accomplishments.