Women That W.O.W. – Part 3 ( of 3 )
The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce’s Winning Opportunities for Women
When the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce decided to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its Winning Opportunities for Women Conference with the inaugural Pinnacle Awards this April, it wasn’t hard to find worthy recipients.
The event committee chose to honor Karen Andreas, regional publisher at North of Boston Media Group; Dianne Anderson, president and CEO of Lawrence General Hospital; Ipswich District Court Judge Patricia Dowling; Janice Morse, president and CEO of Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank; and Jacqueline Moloney, chancellor of UMass Lowell. Read on to find out what makes some of these W.O.W. women tick.
Janice Morse – President and CEO, Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank
According to the Massachusetts Bankers Association, only 17 of its 165 member banks throughout New England are run by women.
Janice Morse is one of them.
“I’m not intimidated by the fact that I’m a woman in a man’s world,” says the president and CEO of Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, who was raised alongside seven brothers.
Morse was named the bank’s first female president in 2011 after decades of hard work, perseverance and confidence. In her 39-year career at Newburyport Five, Morse has done it all, from teller to customer service representative to chief financial officer to leader of the beloved community institution.
“I’ve done everything,” says the Newburyport native who moved to Berwick, Maine, 10 years ago. “I even filled in for the janitor when he was on vacation.”
Born Janice Colby, Morse’s family has owned and operated Colby Farm in Newbury for decades. She says her deep connections to the area help make her job special.
“It’s fun because you do recognize so many faces,” Morse says.
But days as a bank president can also be long, especially for someone like Morse, who cares so much about her business, its employees and the community.
“Now that we’re spread out across more communities, there’s a lot to do,” she says. Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, which in 2014 and 2015 was named to The Commonwealth Institute’s Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts, has locations in Newburyport, Newbury, Amesbury, Salisbury and Portsmouth, N.H, and is planning to open a branch in Dover, N.H.
In addition to making sure that the bank’s net worth is increasing, Morse lists regulation and compliance responsibilities, cyber security and competing with bigger institutions among the challenges in today’s banking arena. But despite those hurdles, Newburyport Five is consistently ranked among the strongest banks in the state.
Though many of Morse’s accomplishments thus far as bank president touch on areas that customers wouldn’t necessarily notice, such as improving governance, developing a strong strategic plan and expanding the information technology department, they are vital pieces of a larger puzzle. Some of the more visible achievements include Newburyport Five’s enhanced commercial lending and its mobile business banking products and services.
Newburyport Five also has a longstanding reputation for developing strong relationships, both within the bank and out in the community. “We truly treat our employees like family,” Morse says. “That’s very important to us.”
Ask around, and it won’t take long before you encounter a local nonprofit that has benefitted from Newburyport Five Cents Savings’ commitment to local philanthropy. Ask around about Morse, and you’ll find she’s just as giving of her own “spare” time.
Among her many charitable contributions, Morse serves as vice chair of the board of trustees and chair of the audit committee at Anna Jaques Hospital, as a trustee of the Frank L. Currier Charitable Foundation, and is involved with the Dan and Renee Plummer Endowment Fund.
With all of her commitments, you might wonder what Morse does to kick back and relax — when she has the time.
“When I’m stressed, I take my chain saw and my chipper and I go out into the woods,” Morse says. And for this, she’s earned the nickname “Paula Bunyan.”
Morse, who values integrity above all else, attributes her success to her own dedication and hard work, to the support of her husband and daughters, and to the advice she’s received along the way.
“Everyone has a voice and they need to be heard,” Morse’s father once told her.
Morse has her own advice for women, and really anyone who is seeking success. “Make yourself relevant in your job. Become the person that everyone turns to,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table, because you have a lot to offer and you should let others know that.”
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