CIBC salutes first female boss
AS THE WORLD celebrated International Women’s Day recently, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank also celebrated its female employees – especially those in senior positions.
One individual who stands out is the first female to hold the position of managing director for the Barbados operating company, which includes the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and Belize.
On June 1, 2013, Donna Wellington created history when she became the first woman to be appointed as the managing director of the Barbados operating company and only the third female to ever hold such a position within the banking structure of CIBC FirstCaribbean.
The other two, both Bahamians, served as managing director of The Bahamas at various times – Sharon Browne when the organisation started as FirstCaribbean and Marie Rodland-Allen, who is the current managing director there.
Wellington’s youthful looks belie her experience in the financial services industry, which spans over 25 years, having worked for Sagicor, Ernst and Young Caribbean and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Having worked with CIBC FirstCaribbean for 10 years she has gained valuable experience in Barbados and The Bahamas working in various segments.
She is considered a specialist in the real estate and hospitality sectors where she specialised as an associate director in the investment banking arm of the wholesale banking segment.
In her present role, she is now responsible for regulatory affairs and revenue generation across all key segments of the commercial banking operation the in nine countries.
“Many bankers have always been bankers. I am happy that I was able to additionally see banking from the customer perspective, as an advisor and then as a staff member at varying levels. I believe this helps me to see additional dimensions rather than simply the leadership lens, which helps customer centricity and also to understand the point of view of my colleagues,” she said.
Describing herself as a passionate advocate for the bank, Wellington credits the support of her colleagues for helping her to shoulder the “tremendous responsibility” she carries as managing director.
“You don’t do this job alone; I have a great team which shares the burden, but I feel responsible to my colleagues and to my customers to ensure that their respective needs are met,” she said.
The holder of a BSc in accounting from the University of the West Indies and a member of the Certified General Accountants of Canada (now CFA Canada), Wellington finds a work life balance by helping others, especially through assisting young people to reach their highest potential and is very active in her church choir and youth camp.
She also enjoys cooking and her garden, which she tends during whatever down time she can get, where she nurtures her love for roses and orchids, and takes special pleasure in being able to pick fresh herbs from her garden to use in her cooking.
As to the bigger picture of the economy and the outlook for the banking industry, she describes it as “extremely challenging” but confirms the need to help to be part of the solution that will turns things around.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, the bank also held a financial health seminar for its female employees, which was conducted by the head of retail, Michelle Whitelaw. (PR)