Maria Heskes-Allard, 2020 New England Women in Banking Winner

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Maria Heskes-Allard

Title
Senior Vice President, Senior Lender
Company
Bay State Savings Bank

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

My first job in banking was at New Haven Savings Bank (CT), working in Human Resources, establishing an electronic data base for employees. It is crazy to think we were just starting to use computers then. I then moved into an internship in the lending departments at Numerica Savings Bank (NH) for my senior year at college. I was curious to learn more about banking, but in particular business, since finance was my major in college. They gave me exposure to all lending functions, but I knew Commercial Lending was what I ultimately wanted to do. After graduating from College I returned back to Worcester and started as a Credit Analyst at Worcester County Institution for Savings. I really loved to learn on so many levels. Learning about the variety of businesses kept it very interesting for me. For a period of time I worked in the appraisal department which lead me to a career in Commercial Real Estate Lending.


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

One of my biggest supporters and first mentor was one of my first managers. My manager had established himself in the banking industry, was well respected by others, and managed a team of lenders. I was just a twenty something year old starting in my first real job and knew very little about banking. My boss could have treated me differently or dismissed me. He recognized my drive to learn, my willingness to work very hard, and my strong work ethic.  

From the start, he supported me, gave me opportunities to grow, and treated me with respect. Through his autonomous leadership style, I was able to make valuable contributions to our team. In the ten years’ I spent reporting to him, I learned more than I could have ever imagined, making significant advances in my career and substantial strides towards becoming the person I am today.  


What is your favorite movie? Why?

Sound of Music – I have so many great memories of watching Sound of Music with my mother and my sister. It is such a happy movie and just makes me sing. We need more joy and song in our days.

What do you consider your greatest success?

There is no single greatest success.  

When I drive through my community or throughout New England, I see either a building or a business that I have worked with or help finance. I am very proud to have been just been a small part in the success of some of the businesses around me. I can remember being a junior lender and going on my first construction inspections or helping an entrepreneur understand how best to finance their project. It is fun remembering the location that may have had a deteriorated building previously, which may now have a new building with apartments or small businesses in them.

Worcester has been going through a renaissance over the last 5 to 10 years, including the immediate downtown real estate market, significant renovation projects for the YWCA and Library, and construction of Polar Park.   Bay State Savings Bank is excited to be located in the middle of this activity. We support the new business and non-profits that are located in Worcester and Worcester County and are assisting businesses with financing projects that will be moving into these locations.

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