Statistics indicate that there’s an almost equal share of men and women working at the entry level of the financial services industry. However, the number of women declines with each rung up the corporate ladder.
WSFS Bank fosters an environment where women are supported, and it has an impressive roster of women to prove it. With March being Women’s History Month, WSFS seeks to recognize these vital associates, as the bank would not be where it is without their contributions.
To sum up the issue, women make up 53 percent of the entry-level banking workforce but less than one-third of the SVP and C-suite levels. Termed the “broken rung,” women are less likely — 86 women for every 100 men — to be promoted to a managerial position.
As women continue to fight for equal representation and pay, there are many who are climbing their way to the top and thus having a significant impact on the industry.
The paths of three of the many female leaders at WSFS today — Shari Kruzinski, Lisa Brubaker, and Candice Caruso — reflect the bank’s commitment to developing a diverse group of leaders.
Kruzinski was promoted twice in 2021 and is now Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Officer.
At 19, she began her career in banking as a floating teller at WSFS and has since climbed the ranks to lead the bank’s retail strategy through acquisitions and the pandemic. For more than 31 years, she has been key to the bank’s success and now leads the bank’s Customer Division, including customer experience and enterprise-wide customer initiatives.
“From my first day at WSFS, it was evident that the bank’s culture was steeped in finding and developing talent,” said Kruzinski. “That sense of ‘if you work hard and commit to your own development, the opportunities will come’ is something that has motivated me throughout my career at WSFS.”
Added Kruzinski, “I encourage all women to embrace their own qualities and gifts, to find a way to leverage them into their role. Be who you are. Be confident that you’re in the role because you deserve to be, and success will follow.”
Brubaker joined WSFS in 1987 and, over the course of her career, has assumed many leadership roles, including her current one as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer. She leads the bank’s Operations & Technology Division, overseeing its delivery transformation and the deployment of critical technology platforms and applications, enhancements to customer-facing solutions, improvements to operational efficiency, and the oversight of data security.
Brubaker’s leadership style has earned her the reputation of being a talent builder, barrier remover, and pay-it-forward advocate. She creates opportunities to learn, demonstrate strengths, and grow into roles at all levels.
“For women in leadership, it’s important to draw on the relationships you’ve built and show compassion and understanding for your team while keeping your focus on the future,” said Brubaker. “Effective technology leaders need to continue to rally their team around working toward the goals that the team and company has established, especially in times like we’ve experienced these past couple years. Our investment in technology served us well during the pandemic, but our investment in people has been equally as crucial to support our customers.”
Caruso joined WSFS Bank in 2018 and was recently promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Retail Lending Officer. She joined WSFS to lead its SBA lending team after a career as an entrepreneur and business funding expert. She has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Caruso brings a unique approach to leadership and work/life balance as she seeks to inspire women-owned business leaders.
“As a leader, your team is looking to you for strategic direction and confidence in your ability to succeed in the good times, but especially when circumstances are challenging,” said Caruso. “Coming from a background as an entrepreneur and business owner, a few of the principles I developed and follow for success is to set your boundaries, where you can be nurturing and receive the respect you deserve; be decisive and know it is okay to fail; and that leadership is not about one person — it truly does take a village.”
Learn more about career opportunities at WSFS Bank.