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Chief Banking Officer
I think about two things. In 2006, I had a big personal challenge where I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had two young children, and I was kind of climbing the career ladder at that time.
And the way I tackled it is similar to the way I tackle my professional challenges. I found out what the situation was, and I defined what success looked like. Then I thought about what I needed to get there, and that meant people, the type of support I needed, where I needed to be engaging support, and not trying to be superwoman.
"Just be a continuous learner. Continue to expand your skills, take advantage of opportunities that put you outside of your comfort zone because you'll learn. Find a good mentor, build a relationship with somebody who will advocate for you."
Doing that helped get me through it, and I actually was promoted professionally during that journey, which is one of my proudest moments in my professional career. Fast forward a couple of years. I was promoted to CEO in September 2008, so I had to navigate the financial crisis of 2008. I did not grow up on the credit side of the organization, so there was a lot of learning for me. Again, trying to identify what success looks like at the end of the journey, making sure that I never acted like I knew what I didn’t know.
Making sure I engaged people that could support and help me navigate that crisis and put a plan in place on how we're going to get there, and celebrating milestones along the way.
I am often asked about what it's like to be a woman leader in banking. And I have to say, all through my career, I haven't really thought of myself as a woman leader or woman in banking. I thought of myself as a banker. And I never really put any emphasis on my gender, and no one has put me in a position where I felt I had to. But I had an experience when I was serving as New Jersey Bankers chairwoman. About five years ago, I was in an interview with the Asbury Park Press, and a young intern was doing the interview, and she asked me that question, what’s it like being a woman leader?
She didn't say in banking, but just a woman leader at a high-level position in the C-suite. I talked to her about how I don't usually focus on gender. I'm a banker. I'm a leader. I love to work with people. That's what I feel like I do each and every day, whether it's employees or customers. But she said something to me that really had an impact. She said, "Well, I think you need to think more about that because as women we need to see it to be it."
And since then, I've been really trying to think about that. When people ask me that question, or when people ask me to participate in certain events that may be gender-driven, I think that there are other young women that need to see it - need to see it to be it.
As you start out in your career, I would say to you, you don't need to know what you want to do for life. A common question asked in interviews or by people who are mentoring you that always made me panic is, “What do you want to be doing in five years?” You don't need to know.
Just be a continuous learner. Continue to expand your skills, take advantage of opportunities that put you outside of your comfort zone because you'll learn. Find a good mentor, build a relationship with somebody who will advocate for you. So if they're at a table that you're not at, they can be there and say, you know, Angela wants to pursue this, and I think she'd be somebody good to tap on the shoulder.
So don't panic. You don't need to know what you want to do for your whole career. Just continue to be committed to learning.
Work-life balance is an interesting question, and I've gotten it very often in my career, and I would say that I don't model it as well as I would like to. I've always told my team members, do as I say, not as I do. I always encourage them to have work-life balance, even though they might not see it from me.
Now, having said that, I do know people model what their leaders do and the shadow those leaders cast, so I really had to work on that personally throughout my career.
When I think about what I do to have fun outside of work, two things come to mind. One, I love to spend time at the Jersey Shore with my family and friends; I have great memories there over the years. I really relax when I do that. There's a bridge into New Ocean City where we go, and I often say when I'm on the top of that bridge, the stress just kind of goes off into the bay, and I can really focus on my family and friends at that time.
My other great passion is during the off-season. I am a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. My husband and I have been season ticket holders for 25 years.