Katelin Cwieka, 2020 New England Women in Banking Winner

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Katelin Cwieka

AVP – Communications Manager
Avidia Bank

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I came into Banking from a digital marketing and web design agency. At the time, Avidia Bank was looking to undergo a digital transformation for its marketing, as well as for its online and mobile banking offerings for customers, so I was brought on board to help with those initiatives. We started with a new website design, implementing SEO and Content Strategy and Social Media Marketing. Since then, we’ve launched award winning mobile banking features, an entire FinTech team, brought on board new technology to help employees of the Bank work more efficiently and track ROI. Most recently, we’ve launched a new brand, Honest to Goodness, as well the implementation of a new, unified CRM system.

I’m really proud of what we have accomplished and there’s so much more that lies ahead, which is why I’m excited to keep doing the work that I do. Every day is different, there’s always new technology, new research, new ways to connect with customers and that, to me, is exciting!

Have you had any great female mentors? What is the importance of mentoring and is this something that you focus on?

I have had some incredible mentors both in the banking world and in other industries.  From the team that I work with, which is all women (Jessica Bonetti, Sonia Mahnot, Moriah Canner) and female led (our CMO Janel Maysonet), we’ve created some amazing marketing campaigns, customer experience and digital marketing initiatives that have helped Avidia to be a leader in marketing in the industry.  Beyond our success, our team is truly supportive of one another and they have helped support me in my goals for education and career advancement.

Outside of the Marketing Team, I have been truly inspired by our CFO at Avidia Bank, Margaret Sullivan, who is leader at the bank not just by her title but as a role model and someone who always puts the community first.  I love her dedication and thoughtfulness and I often look to her for insight.  

Additionally, CarrieAnne Cormier, SVP Retail and Strategy at Avidia.  Carrie and I have shared the stage together speaking at events across the country and locally, while working on projects, like our employee advocacy program and building two new locations for the bank.

I have also had some excellent role models in digital marketing and in my local community, who I have met throughout the years and lucky to also call them friends.  Specifically, Michelle Miller, of the Center for Women and Enterprise, who I have done a lot of collaborative work.  She helps businesses in our community grow and her passion and talent has truly inspired me and I feel honored to work with her.

Mentoring is so important, especially for women.  It helps in the battle against impostor syndrome, it keeps us focused on the goals ahead and open doors to new connections and opportunities.  By finding people who will help you support you in your goals and who are willing to work to help you find success, you will find not only success but a lot of satisfaction with the relationships you’ve made.  Mentorship goes beyond providing guidance, it also involves listening when things get tough and advocating for a person even in sometimes the subtlest of ways, all of which makes a dramatic difference.

What is your favorite book? Why?

I love to read so it’s difficult to pick just one book. These two books I read over the last few months really stood out to me. The first is The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience by Jennifer Pharr Davis. I’m a distance runner and avid hiker so this book really spoke to me on about those experiences but also the amazing drive of women. Spoiler alert, Jennifer Pharr Davis set the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Appalachian Trail in 2011, not just for women but for all time!

One of my other recent favorite books was Educated by Tara Westover. In a similar fashion, reading about how she overcame all of her challenges in life to become an incredibly successful writer and intellectual. The book was inspiring and captivating.  

As you can tell, both books share stories of endurance, resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.

What do you consider your greatest success?

My greatest success ultimately, is finding a career I love. My career path was by no means a linear one and I certainly didn’t have it all figured out when I first graduated college. Once I found where I want to be, it was there that I felt I discovered my greatest success. While it’s difficult to pinpoint one moment because I often find that success is found in consistent moments of satisfaction, I would say one of my biggest moments was being able to get up on stage at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Nashville, TN and speak. It was after this conference that I found many great opportunities to share my experience with others through speaking engagements, podcasts, teaching classes and contributing to articles. Being able to share that knowledge with others and do so on variety of channels has given me the greatest feeling of success in my career.

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