Four Women at First Resource Bank Shatter the Glass Ceiling, Ensuring Everyone Has Seat and Voice at the Table
Statistics indicate that in the financial services industry women hold a mere 5 percent of CEO positions and less than 20 percent of c-suite roles. Among bank presidents in the United States, only 32 percent are women compared to 67 percent men. What’s even more concerning about these numbers is that there’s been very little change in the industry over the past decade.
One local bank has taken the lead in disrupting this precedent. Since opening its doors in 2005, First Resource Bank has remained committed to fostering an environment where all employees, regardless of gender or any other discriminatory factor, receive support, empowerment, and the chance to enhance their skills one day at a time.
In a traditionally male dominated industry, stereotypes fail to hold true at First Resource Bank, where their executive leadership team maintains a strong female presence with 4 out of 6 executives being women. Having the opportunity to connect with these leaders, their desire to help others succeed is nothing short of impressive.
“At First Resource Bank, it has always been in our DNA to empower every employee to achieve their personal best,” said the bank’s Co-Founder and President, Lauren Ranalli. “As the bank’s President, it’s my responsibility to set an example for the future generation of bankers by supporting my team whenever and wherever possible.”
At the age of 30, Ranalli found herself in a position to effectively turn the tables upside down on what she had experienced in the banking industry and do it better. Along with the bank’s Co-Founder and CEO, Glenn Marshall, they decided to take an enormous leap and established First Resource Bank. In addition to providing the community with a bank focused on helping local individuals and businesses with their financial needs, they were also creating leadership opportunities for their employees without bias.
During the planning stages of the bank, Natalie Carrozza was brought on as the bank’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to First Resource Bank, she often felt the need to work twice as hard to remain relevant compared to men who worked beside her.
“I was fortunate to be introduced to Glenn and Lauren early on and help build the foundation of our organization. They recognized the experience I had to offer and trusted me with their vision,” she said. “As a de novo bank, you wear many hats which gave me an opportunity to develop an extensive skillset. Joining the FRB team was the best decision I made to advance my career.”
Despite the novelty of working alongside female executives, it certainly wasn’t an act of valor in Marshall’s eyes.
“Growing up my Mom was one of the smartest, hard-working people I knew so I never questioned a woman’s capability in the workplace,” said Marshall. “When we started the bank, there were stereotypes in the industry that we needed to overcome but supporting one another was and remains the common goal.”
Lisa Donnon shattered one of the industry’s more formidable glass ceilings by becoming the bank’s Chief Lending Officer. When Donnon first ventured into the lending field there were only 3 women, including herself, handling construction loans in the Delaware Valley. This was largely due to the false implication that women couldn’t possibly understand construction lending and heavy equipment financing. With the help of excellent mentors who took her under their wing and helped her better understand the industry, she’s become an unstoppable force who now manages the entire bank’s team of commercial lenders. Donnon acknowledges the gender biases that come with the field, but she doesn’t let them deter her.
“Banking is an ever-evolving industry,” said Donnon. “While some parts of the industry have been slower in their evolution, we need to adapt and be on the forefront of change. First Resource continues to promote this type of environment. Knowledge is powerful, and it allows us to directly support our clients.”
One of the key components to the bank’s success is its focus on innovation. Employees are encouraged to think critically about status quo and change it for the better. Bridget Moran, the bank’s Chief Deposit Officer, commented on the importance of women to this end, “To meet the needs of all our customers and employees, we must be able to access and understand their needs. The collective experience of women has been grossly underrepresented at decision-making tables resulting in decisions that do not meet everyone’s needs. By inviting and amplifying underrepresented voices at the table, we improve our ability to innovate. It’s exciting!”
Pursuit of the greater good takes many forms at First Resource Bank. Whether it’s one-on-one mentoring, or additional education and training, the bank is breaking down barriers that preclude anyone from succeeding. Fully supported by the bank, Ranalli and Moran both seized the opportunity to attend the Graduate Banking Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania through the American Bankers Association.
While they are the bank’s first attendees, they certainly won’t be the last. This past year, the bank also implemented a bank-wide mentorship program whereby employees may select a member of the executive team as their mentor. The pairs meet one-on-one to explore professional goals, exchange ideas, and develop skillsets that help employees reach the next level.
Moran reflected on the tremendous support she has received along the way. “The leadership here saw something worthwhile in me. No price tag could accurately capture the value of the resources they’ve invested in me, including their own time and guidance,” she said. “I’m eager to pay that forward to others.”
Carrozza shares this affection for the bank. “When you work for a company that values the contributions of every team member, you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. We are breaking the mold of what’s always been done in the financial services industry and finding ways of doing it better. The legacy of this bank will carry on long after we’ve left the building.”
Are you looking for a meaningful banking relationship? To learn more about First Resource Bank and how you can bank with them, stop by any one of their branches located in Exton, Wayne, and West Chester, or visit them at firstresourcebank.com.
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