Angela Blum-Finlay, 2020 New York Women in Banking Winner

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Angela Blum-Finlay

Title
Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
Company
Dime Community Bank

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I learned early on that I love a good challenge. I have shaped my career by taking on challenging roles that allowed me to have an impact in an organization. I have never defined myself in a specific industry; I started my career in public accounting and consulting firms building and rebuilding HR departments. I then had the opportunity to take on a role in an evolving global conglomerate and shape the HR and training function as it shifted its business model. When the opportunity came to move into banking, it was another challenge for me to rebuild and evolve the people functions in a transitioning bank. Being one of the leaders helping to drive the change in the bank, whether through its structure, systems, or culture, is a rewarding and fulfilling career journey.

Have you had any great female mentors? What is the importance of mentoring and is this something that you focus on?

When I began my career in public accounting, it was a predominately male-lead profession. There was limited opportunity to have a female mentor. Despite this challenge, I had some great mentors who pushed me to continually step out of my comfort zone. They pushed me to stand in front of a room and give a presentation when I was the youngest in the room and terrified of screwing it up. These mentors pushed me to keep challenging myself and never settle for status quo. They set the stage for me to be comfortable taking risks in my career. The mentor relationship is critical to set you up for success in your career. Whether as a leader, college lecturer or through volunteer roles, I really work to challenge mentees to take risks and get out of their comfort zone every day.

What is your favorite book? Why?

I always refer back to the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. It talks about the best leaders having a "multiplying" effect on the people around them - not only do they strive to make themselves better, but they also strive to make everyone else around them better. I live by this principle as a leader and have seen great teams do amazing things when they all work to make themselves better every day.

What do you consider your greatest success?

Building high performing teams  and evolving people departments into business-impacting functions are my greatest career successes.  Whether it be banking, consulting or any other industry, the ability to make an impact and strive to move a function outside of its comfort zone has always been what drives me for success.