Dorothy Savarese
President and CEO, The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank

Only two women have ever been named chairman of the American Bankers Association. Dorothy Savarese is one of them.

The role of pioneering female leader is already familiar to her, as she is the first woman to serve as chief executive at her Massachusetts-based thrift in its more than 150 years.

She is looking forward to adding the distinction of becoming only the second woman to lead the country's largest banking trade group in more than 140 years — after Elizabeth Duke in 2004. "It's very exciting," she says of her steadily growing role in the ABA.

In July, Savarese was nominated as chairman-elect, a post she'll officially accept at the ABA's annual convention in November. She takes over as chairman next year.

No doubt she'll prove just as effective as she has been at Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank. The thrift, which has $2.7 billion of assets and just over 450 employees, has made a name for itself by outperforming larger rivals in its region. Its assets have more than doubled in Savarese's decade of leadership, and in the past year it has opened two branches and two loan production offices.

Savarese has been a longtime advocate for women in banking. Savarese told the Connecticut Women in Banking conference in April that the industry needs "women's creativity and collaborative approach and innovation and insights. We have got to develop our human talent, and if we ignore half of that, we're not going to be competitive."

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