Investors Bank takes its employee culture seriously. In an effort to further employee development and increase communication, executives hold an event called “Culture Talk” that is recorded in front of team members and then published internally. The focus of a recent episode was Mary Ward, Investors Bank’s Vice President and Payroll Manager. As Ms. Ward has been employed at Investors for more than 43 years, we thought it would be interesting to learn more about her path and perspectives. The interview was conduct by Kevin Cummings, President and CEO, and Domenick Cama, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Kevin Cummings: Mary, tell us about your journey, and how you got here to become our Payroll Manager.
Mary Ward: I started in East Orange as a teller in 1974 and I worked my way up to be a supervisor in that branch, and then transitioned to Accounting. Later on, I found myself in Human Resources, which I really love. I used to process everything on paper, and everything is online now, so a lot has changed.
Domenick Cama: What do you love most about the bank?
Mary: What I love most is the involvement in the community and the excellent customer service we give. I also think it’s wonderful to see how much the bank has grown over the years. When I began, there were only 13 branches, and that included corporate. Now when I drive through different towns I see Investors all over and I can’t believe how much we’ve accomplished over the years. I’m very proud to be part of it.
Kevin: When I started, it was 42 branches, and today we are 150 branches. And in that time, we’ve gone from $6 billion [in assets] to $25 billion today. So you’ve seen a lot of change, and a lot of opportunities, too. Through 43 years, what kept you from moving on? Why’d you stay at Investors?
Mary: I never felt the need to move on, I was always treated with respect, given plenty of opportunities for advancement, and I always felt like Investors Bank was a family. It’s a family atmosphere, everyone works together so well, and it’s just great.
Kevin: Did you have any family who worked here?
Mary: I did. My cousin worked here for forty-some odd years, too. She was a branch manager and she became a regional manager. She was wonderful, and she is doing well now.
Domenick: These days it seems like we bring in employees in great numbers on an almost weekly basis. What advice would you give to those new people?
Mary: I think the most important thing is to tell them to get involved in the bank-sponsored community events. I’d also tell them to take advantage of the training and education offered through the bank. They’re wonderful, we have great programs. There is a lot of room for growth, so they should put themselves out there and just go for it and see what they can accomplish.
Kevin: Why don’t you share with us your most memorable or happiest moments here at the bank?
Mary: The most memorable are the employees and the friends that I’ve made, but I specifically remember my 40th anniversary party that my department threw for me. My friends and the executives came. We had such a great time and it really made me feel special. I was really touched.
Domenick: Anything else you want to share with us today?
Mary: I have a special quote from Paul Coelho [author of] The Alchemist: “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
Kevin: Excellent! Mary, I’d like to thank you for your excellence, your commitment, and the example you set. You understand people do what they see, and not what they hear. The longevity of 43 years of doing the right thing, at the right time, with the right people, and you represent all of that. God bless you, thank you very much.
Mary: Thank you!