Slideshow Sage Advice from 2014's Most Powerful Women in Banking

Published
  • October 10 2014, 1:48pm EDT
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There was no shortage of talent in the room at American Banker's Oct. 9 awards ceremony in New York honoring the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance. So it seemed appropriate for some of the industry's biggest success stories to offer advice to up-and-coming women in their fields. Here are 14 honorees reflecting on lessons learned in their own careers.

Photo: Doug Goodman

Irene Dorner, President and CEO of HSBC USA

"Doing the right thing doesn't just let you sleep well at night, although that's a great gift. By consistently doing the right thing, we achieve long-term and sustainable outcomes … This is supposed to be the ultimate measure of leaders."

Related Story: A Call to Action as Women Bankers' C-Suite Presence Diminishes

Photo: Doug Goodman

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Lisa Pollina, Vice Chairman, RBC Capital Markets

"If you encounter resistance over the course of your career, remember that people don't hate you because of your weaknesses — they hate you because of your strengths."

Related Story: Most Powerful Women in Finance, No. 8: Lisa Pollina, RBC Capital Markets

Pollina (left) with Suni Harford, Citigroup's regional head of markets for North America. Photo: Doug Goodman

Melanie Dressel, President and CEO, Columbia Banking System

"Don't be so set on your life plan that you miss an opportunity on the way to getting there. I was on my way to law school when I took a detour into banking because I wanted a Monday-Friday job."

Related Story: Most Powerful Women in Banking, No. 15: Melanie Dressel

Photo: Doug Goodman

Beth Mooney, Chairman and CEO, KeyCorp

"Pursue your dream with passion, but make sure you define the dream. Be purposeful, take risks, get the credentials you need. Set your sights, and see it through."

Related Story: KeyCorp's Beth Mooney: The No. 1 Most Powerful Woman in Banking

Photo: Doug Goodman

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Jane Fraser, CEO, CitiMortgage and CEO, U.S. Consumer and Commercial Banking, Citigroup

"Don't feel you have to be 125% qualified for a new job — you don't. You can't possibly be. So don't let that hold you back from taking on a new assignment that's going to stretch you, where you're really going to grow. But at the same time, keep just enough of that fear to keep you on your toes."

Related Story: The 25 Women to Watch, No. 1: Jane Fraser

Photo: Doug Goodman


Julieann Thurlow, President and CEO, Reading Co-operative Bank

"Don't assume that someone's going to observe you working hard. Raise your hand and get in the game. I did that [with former Reading CEO Donald Hicks]. He said, 'Where do you want to be?' and I said 'Right where you're sitting.' Now I am."

Related Story: The 25 Women to Watch, No. 21: Julieann Thurlow

Thurlow (right) with Donald Hicks. Photo: Doug Goodman


Jill Castilla, President and CEO, Citizens Bank of Edmond

"Always take on challenges to expand your depth and breadth of knowledge. In banking, it can be good for women who are looking to become leaders to be on the lending side. That way they can be revenue generators and propel themselves into the upper echelons."

Related Story: The 25 Women to Watch, No. 25: Jill Castilla

Castilla and Marcus Castilla. Photo: Doug Goodman

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LeeAnne Linderman, EVP, Retail Banking, Zions First National Bank

"Take risks. Take on assignments even when you feel you may not be ready — stretch, and develop new skills."

Related Story: Zions' LeeAnne Linderman: Starting a Charity from Scratch

Linderman (right) with John DelMauro. Photo: Doug Goodman


Susan Skerritt, Managing Director and Head of Global Transaction Banking Americas, Deutsche Bank

"Nobody's going to follow you or listen to you unless you are your authentic self."

Related Story: The 25 Women to Watch, No. 16: Susan Skerritt

Skerritt (left) with Deutsche Bank's C.J. Kerr. Photo: Doug Goodman


Barbara Desoer, CEO, Citibank, and Amy Brady, Chief Information Officer, KeyCorp

Desoer: "Always strive for something just beyond your capabilities, and know yourself well."

Brady: "She taught me everything I know."

Desoer: "And always remember that paths can cross again."

Related Stories: The 25 Women to Watch, No. 2: Barbara Desoer, No. 6: Amy Brady

Desoer (left) and Brady (right) first worked together at Bank of America.

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Jane Haskin, President and CEO, First Bethany Bank & Trust

"Education, including being a [certified public accountant], equipped me to be prepared for opportunities as they arose. This is especially true as women break barriers—they have to have the credentials."

Related Story: The 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking, No 24: Jane Haskin

Haskin (center) flanked by Michael Haskin and Citizens Bank of Edmond board member David Hornbeek. Photo: Doug Goodman


Alberta Cefis, EVP, Head of Global Transaction Banking, Scotiabank

"Never be something you think others want you to be — whether that means your brand, your personality, your values. Don't compromise yourself."

Related Story: The 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking, No. 17: Alberta Cefis

Cefis with Ilio Santilli. Photo: Doug Goodman


Caroline Silver, Managing Director, Moelis & Co.

"If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will."

Related Story: The 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance, No. 21: Caroline Silver