The American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking recognized 118 graduates today, awarding Stonier diplomas and Wharton leadership certificates. ABA Vice Chair Julieann Thurlow, president and CEO of Reading Cooperative Bank in Reading, Massachusetts, delivered the keynote address during the graduation ceremony.
Thurlow told the story of her bank’s decision to open a bank branch in the predominantly Spanish-speaking Lawrence, Massachusetts—an “entrepreneurial and industrious” community that had long been underserved by banks—and how that intentional move enabled the bank to build trust with a new client base. She challenged graduates to “take what you’ve learned here at Stonier and put it into practice by reconnecting with your core mission. You have the skills, you have the passion. Put those together and you can do something extraordinary for the community and customers you serve.”
Thurlow also highlighted Reading Cooperative’s innovation journey and her work on ABA’s core platforms committee. In addition, she encouraged Stonier graduates to be open to mentoring and sponsoring the next generation of bank talent.
“We need to make sure that every talented banker has a path to the C-suite,” Thurlow said. “Diversity in our organizations and more importantly in our C-suite and our boards opens doors to new ideas, challenges our own personal perspectives, and, ultimately, makes us better at serving our communities, because we better reflect the communities we serve.”