Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 24, Centric Financial's Patricia Husic

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President and CEO, Centric Financial

Patricia Husic has long been haunted by an incident involving a friend’s 18-year-old daughter, who was abducted at gunpoint from a community college’s parking lot. Though the young woman later escaped unharmed, it reinforced Husic’s concerns about safety, particularly for her workforce.

“The story has never left my thoughts,” said Husic, the CEO of $732-million-asset Centric Financial. “Although she was not physically harmed, the emotional impact is very traumatic to the young woman and her family. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and anything around us.”

The incident is part of the reason Husic had the Harrisburg, Penn.-based bank start offering self-defense training sessions this year for her workforce, roughly 60% of whom are women. She was particularly concerned about employees who work late hours or travel solo for business. Each session included four hours of intense training on physical maneuvers and situational awareness techniques.

The response to the classes was positive. For the three sessions held in June and July, each had an approximately 50% participation rate, Husic said.

“How to make eye contact, when to fight back, what do you do if somebody approaches you with things?” Husic said of the sessions. “We also get employees off-site to learn some physical moves.”

Husic’s focus on empowerment goes beyond self-defense training. She’s also invested in the next generation of female leaders, helping to mentor young girls and encourage them to consider a career in banking.

In November, Husic was invited by the American Heart Association to speak to teenage girls from Milton Hershey School about the STEM field and career opportunities in the financial services industry.

At the beginning, none of these 9th-graders raised their hands when Husic asked if they would pursue a career in banking. As the conversation continued, however, more than 50% young girls expressed an interest in exploring the field further, Husic said.

“It was inspiring to see the young women sit around the tables and their faces light up,” Husic said. “These are transformational years for them and we need more women talking to younger females before they pick and choose a career.”

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