Four Summit bankers receive national recognition
October 10, 2008
The October issue of U.S. Banker magazine ranks Zions Bank’s women executives as the No. 2 Women’s Banking Team in the nation.
Three of the 17 are Summit County residents and a fourth is senior vice president and director of credit for Zions Resort Bank in Park City.
According to a press release, the magazine’s third-annual recognition of the Top 3 Banking Teams rank financial performance in women-led business units, the percentage of women corporate officers, feedback from analysts and other factors.
This year, U.S. Bancorp ranked first and Citigroup was third.
Within Zions, women bankers oversee 69 percent of the bank’s business units, manage 67 percent of its employees, and comprise 41 percent of its corporate officer positions, the statement said.
The four women are Park Meadows resident Diana Kirk, executive vice president of the bank’s Private Services Division; Pinebrook resident Becky Kearns, president of Zions Resort Bank; Jeremy Ranch resident Cindy Smith, senior vice president and director of Bankcard Operations; and Salt Lake resident Kim Casaday, senior vice president and director of credit for Zions Resort Bank.
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"I’ve been here for 20 years and to win an award in Utah, and for women, is a really big deal," said Diana Kirk. "A lot of people might not think that a bank in Utah and Idaho would have a lot of women, and we beat out some big boys."
Smith credited the environment at Zions that is so supportive of women leaders to the pioneering of Diana Kirk. When she came here 20 years ago, she was the first woman vice president at the bank.
"I’m not sure people in the community understand how embraced women are at Zions," Smith said. "Diana Kirk really helped to promote women and get women involved."
Kirk said the recognition was validation that they’re doing the right things as a company and that good things are happening in the state.
"We make a concerted effort to make sure it’s a great place for women to work," she said. "I think we’re better at that than practically anybody. I think we have more women running departments at Zions than any other bank."
Thinking back to her first years here, she said the company and area have made "tremendous strides."
Smith was ranked by the magazine as among the "Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking." She said the recognition reflects the opportunities available to women at the company.
She said there is a corporate culture of promoting women within the organization including leadership roles.
Kim Casaday agreed, citing the mentoring programs that provide every opportunity and every avenue to be successful.
"Women can be themselves and don’t have to pretend to be somebody else or put up a façade. They can really be who they are to a full extent," Smith said.
She said the growth of Zions’ affiliate banks in surrounding states has also offered opportunities for women as well.
Becky Kearns has been with Zions Bank for 13 years and has received individual recognition from the magazine as well in recent years.
In an email, she expressed gratitude to Kirk and Scott Anderson, president and CEO, for allowing her to develop and build the Resort Bank 11 years ago.
"It has given me the ability to live in Park City and my husband, Keith, and I have been able to raise our two teenage boys, Thomas and Ryan, here and enjoy the wonderful amenities of this community while allowing me to have such a fabulous career," she said.
She said her position is an affirmation of the confidence and latitude the company has given her and other women to pioneer into new areas of financial services.
Casaday said the Resort Bank concept is a return to the community bank model and said they are given "great independence and ability to make decisions."
"I don’t know that you find that in other companies," she said.
That independence is helping her office weather the current financial storms because she’s able to stay connected with the community and has the advantage of responding to direct needs without having to report back to a headquarters in another state, or even country, that doesn’t understand the local issues.