By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer
Sandra Pattie is president and CEO of BankNewport. Pattie has been in the banking industry for more than 35 years and is a Certified Financial Planner. She is on the board of United Way of Rhode Island and the Newport Hospital Foundation and participates in the Providence College Presidentâ€™s Council Executive Mentor Program.
Pattie is a graduate of the Community College of Rhode Island and Providence College.
PBN: BankNewport recently gave a $5,000 grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in support of its Kids CafĂ© program that feeds more than 600 children at nine sites in Providence and Newport. What else does BankNewport fund in support of youth?
PATTIE: During these difficult economic times, BankNewport does favor funding for human services. What better place to start than with kids? The Rhode Island Community Food Bank offers a great program with the Boys and Girls Club of Newport County to provide meals at their Kids CafĂ©. Kids that have a nutritious meal can concentrate better on their studies, giving them a boost to get ahead. Additional youth-focused grants funded by BankNewport have impacted early childhood literacy, mentoring, arts programming and community-based dental programs, to name a few.
PBN: As president and CEO of BankNewport, youâ€™re a very visible member of the community and the representative of a financial institution that is proud to support nonprofits. Can you share some examples of outreach initiatives the Bank is currently involved with?
PATTIE: Within human services, BankNewport has also adopted a literacy focus. Along with our partner OceanPoint Insurance Agency, we are currently hosting a childrenâ€™s book drive, in partnership with the United Way of Rhode Island and Books Are Wings. All donated books will be distributed locally to kids during the Back to School Celebration of Rhode Island in August, to be hosted by the East Bay Community Action Program Health Center in Newport. It will be staffed by BankNewport volunteers and we will distribute 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. We collected over 1,800 books last year and with the communityâ€™s help, we expect to do so again. Weâ€™re also very proud of our partnership with Rogers High School in Newport, which offers a financial literacy program, co-taught by teachers and Bank and OceanPoint team members. The program allows us to share our financial expertise to help students understand the importance of managing their personal finances. Our goal is for them to become knowledgeable and confident in their financial choices and achieve success as future employees, parents and members of our community.
PBN: What do you see as the bankâ€™s role in supporting the community in tough economic times?
PATTIE: At BankNewport, weâ€™re committed to supporting the communities where we live, work and play. Itâ€™s a commitment rooted deep in our heritage. Our team members are neighbors in our communities, and weâ€™ve always believed in being a good neighbor. There arenâ€™t enough dollars to financially support all of the great organizations within our footprint, so whenever possible, we also encourage our team to volunteer. It is our responsibility as a good corporate citizen to help strengthen our communities.
PBN: Youâ€™re pictured in an ad for the Community College of Rhode Island that says, â€śI achieved my dreams at CCRI.â€ť In your banking career, have you found that community college is a typical path to becoming a bank president?
PATTIE: There is nothing typical to the path of becoming president â€“ almost everyone has a different story.
PBN: When did you first think youâ€™d want to be a bank president? What advice do you have for young people who might be considering a career in banking and finance?
PATTIE: When I joined BankNewport as a consumer loan officer almost 30 years ago, I soon recognized that the bank valued everyoneâ€™s contribution towards organizational success. My initial goal was to be promoted within my field of expertise. However, I soon found that I was being offered opportunities to manage new areas. Iâ€™ve always embraced lifelong learning, so this was putting words into action. I still believe that lifelong learning is the key to success. The world is changing rapidly and whatever you have mastered in the past may be obsolete today â€“ this concept is great for young people starting a career in banking or any other field. The new economic realities that produced new rules and regulations have leveled the playing field and we are all re-learning today. No one can rest on past success.