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4th annual conference honors women in banking

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Employees from several New Jersey financial institutions and affiliated professional groups attended Thursday's Women in Banking Conference to hear from executive women leaders on the topics of knowledge, power, mentorship and how to best continue the advancement of women to leadership positions.

At the New Jersey Bankers Association’s fourth annual event at The Palace in Somerset Park, 435 members were registered — meaning that, since its inception, the conference has grown by more than 200 members.

Laurie Krupa, managing director and head of global wealth and investment management banking for Bank of America, kicked off the event with an enlightening keynote speech.

“When you’re young, you think your career path is an upward line,” Krupa said. “That perception gives us the stamina to succeed — but it isn’t accurate.”

Krupa recalled a time in her 20s when she called her mother to complain how all the other women in her office were better dressed than she. Hoping she would receive money, she instead heard her mother say that Krupa, too, would own a silk blouse one day.

It was then that Krupa was reminded she was entirely on her own.

Calling her career more of a winding and dipping path than a line, Krupa explained why she once took a pay cut and accepted a lower-ranking position in order to relocate from Boston to New Jersey to be closer to her friends and family.

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“I knew what was most important in my life at that point — and my career was not it,” Krupa said. “Something must always take the toll … there’s imbalance in order to achieve balance and you’ve just got to be okay with it.”

Attendees were also given the choice to listen to one of three speakers during organized breakout sessions: Dr. Cynthia Rowan, president of Performance Management Solutions, spoke about maximizing the mentoring experience as a mentee, mentor or organization; Linda P. Kester, president of the Institute for Personal Development and co-adjunct professor at Rutgers University, provided tips for managing time and stress; and Diana Scriveri, executive vice president and chief lending officer at Bogata Savings Bank, talked about how to develop better networking skills.

Scriveri — a banker and real estate lending professional for more than 30 years — also served as a past president of the Women Bankers Association.

“We need to get more comfortable in the role of networking with men within co-ed environments,” Scriveri said. “I am actually a true believer in changing these gender-specific conferences in any industry — we’re all professionals and to have gender breakdowns is something we should move away from.”

Scriveri also said that, 20 years ago, she hoped at least 30 percent of women today would be achieving higher level employment positions — however, most women “still seem to plateau at mid-management levels.”

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Additional event speakers included Lisa S. Bonsall and Sheila E. Calello, partners at McCarter & English, on how to use diversity to advance and retain talent; Christine M. Cumming, first vice president and COO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, on the current economy; and Kathleen DiChiara, president and CEO of Community Food Bank of New Jersey, on her experience as a female entrepreneur who grew her business from delivering groceries out of her car trunk almost 40 years ago to the successful organization it is today.

For almost 110 years, the New Jersey Bankers Associate has been an advocate for the New Jersey banking industry, with membership currently consisting of 115 banking institutions with more than 238 firms. The organization’s primary mission is to represent membership interests before state and federal government and regulatory authorities while providing support via events, education and assistance programs.

Click here to learn more about the New Jersey Bankers Association’s Women in Banking Conference.

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Meg Fry

Meg Fry

Meg Fry covers manufacturing and retail. Meg joins NJBIZ with past production experience in the arts, film and television. She continues to write and market her own spec scripts and screenplays. You can contact her at megf@njbiz.com or @MegFry3 on Twitter.

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