By Mary Jane (MJ) Paris
Since 1921, Financial Women International has been dedicated to developing leaders, accelerating careers, and generating results for professionals in the banking and financial services industry. The association is renowned for its learning opportunities, provided by the FWI Foundation since 1973. Our members are women who take their professional development seriously.
FWI leads the way as the longest-standing association devoted to the advancement of women in the financial services industry. It fulfills its mission of developing leaders by providing the tools to fulfill their individual potential and further their contribution in the workplace.
FWI helps banking and financial services industry professionals become effective leaders to successfully move their companies forward. Since the organization’s founding, this has been our only mission and vision. It’s what FWI does and we do it very well.
Women at the Top
In 2006, FWI sponsored the Women at the Top survey, which is a series of ongoing studies conducted by William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., focusing on the status of women working in the United States financial services industry. The study supports FWI’s mission: To develop leaders, accelerate careers, and generate results for professionals in the banking and financial services industry.
Results from the study indicated marginal progress for women in our industry and little or no change in the upward career progress of women over the past few years, highlighting the continued need for organizations such as FWI.
The total percentage of banks with no women in executive positions continues to be a disappointment. 28.4 percent of nationally chartered banks, 29.8 percent of the credit unions, and 42.9 percent of state-chartered banks have no female executives.
However, on a more local level here in Connecticut, we are fortunate to have five women serving as their institution’s top executive:
• Marion “Nicki” Brown, president and CEO of The Wilton Bank in Wilton;
• Maureen Frank, president and CEO of Apple Valley Bank in Cheshire;
• Patricia Nulty, division president of Citibank, FSB Connecticut;
• Peyton R. Patterson, chairman, president and CEO of NewAlliance Bank in New Haven; and
• Susan A. Rottner, president of Bank of America in Connecticut.
There is a lot of work to be done to improve the numbers. “The results reinforce the need for women to continue to learn, lead and succeed in terms of career and professional development,” says Melissa Curzon, past foundation chair of FWI. “The unique key that sets FWI apart from other organizations is our focus in helping members to achieve personal and career success.”
In addition, FWI has identified the leadership gap as a result of the pending boomer retirement explosion. This gap creates an opportunity for FWI to help its members, and women throughout the industry, develop those competencies that will enable them to fill the subsequent leadership gap, creating a win-win situation for members, banks and other financial services organizations.
I invite you to learn, lead and succeed by joining FWI today. Benefits of FWI membership provide:
• Career-advancing leadership courses and workshops, management certificates and graduate school of banking scholarship opportunities;
• Exclusive access to industry leaders, valuable research, online career center, and regional and international conferences; and
• Networking opportunities in a supportive, collaborative environment.
Together, we can make a difference! To learn more about FWI groups in your area or about forming a new group, please visit www.fwi.org or call toll-free, (866) 236-2007. u
Mary Jane (MJ) Paris is the president of Positive Impact Consulting Services LLC, as well as the president of the Fairfield County group of Financial Women International and the FWI Foundation. She has a broad base of experience in management, leadership and employee development.