Patty Ostrout, 2020 New England Women in Banking Winner

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Patty Ostrout

Senior Vice President, Retail Banking
North Brookfield Savings Bank

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

I entered the field of banking initially as a teller when I crossed paths with my High School acquaintances mother, Elaine Spencer, and she mentioned a position was available at Spencer Savings Bank, now Cornerstone Bank. She inquired whether it was something I would be interested and I was excited for the opportunity. I filled out my application, interviewed and was offered the position. I happily accepted and that was the beginning of my 34 year journey in banking. The Bank was very generous, offering opportunities for me to further my education by attending college and the New England School for Financial Studies, ultimately helping me to advance my career and progress to positions with increasing responsibility.

I am motivated by those who surround me – my customers, my staff and family.

I love helping our customers and building relationships with them. Many times, whether I am volunteering in the community or simply out as a local resident, I will have community members approach me with kind words. They share their stories and ask me, “Mrs. Ostrout, do you remember me? You gave me my very first loan. You gave me a chance and I will never forget that.” It is heartwarming to hear that I had a positive effect on their life.

I love working with my co-workers and being a part of the banking teams I have worked with over the years. I have learned many things from them and I have shared my experience with them as well. I enjoy watching my department staff flourish. I am always happy to share learning opportunities and dispense encouragement and kindness, just like many did for me.

I love my family tremendously and like many, my family motivates me immensely. They always show me support, keep me focused, and give me purpose each and every day.

It is because of these relationships I have built with those that I have helped, served, worked with, learned from, mentored, and cared for, that I have stayed motivated over my career.

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

I have had many female mentors throughout my life and career.

My Mom, my first mentor, she was caring and hardworking, a very strong woman who loved her family. Her love and support contributed greatly to my career success and my overall outlook on life.

Elaine Spencer, who initially introduced me to banking, was someone who thankfully taught me to lighten up and let things roll. This is extremely valuable advice.

Joyce Thompson, she took the time to teach me all about lending. She was one of the most patient and knowledgeable people I have ever met, and I am grateful for the time she committed to my learning and growth.

Lorraine Harvey, was the President of Spencer Savings Bank. She was a leader I respected and learned from during my time at the Bank. She was strong and tough but also kind, and she valued and recognized her people for what they contributed.

Donna Boulanger, the President and CEO of North Brookfield Savings Bank, current employer. Donna is a very strong business women and leader. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience that she shares with her staff. She is an excellent mentor and recognizes her staff for the contributions to the Bank’s success.

Each of these women showed me encouragement throughout my career journey and I was thankful to learn from them. I am very focused on mentoring and find it essential to the success of any business or individual. I believe in empowering others to do their best, and love to make opportunities available to my staff. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience to help people to learn and succeed.

What is your favorite book? Why?

I love Nicholas Sparks and love reading all of his books. Something about the way he tells the story, how he incorporates twists and turn to keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat. It is very similar to real life where you will always experience change, good times and bad times but you have to keep your chin up, do your best at that time, and continue to move forward and grow.

What do you consider your greatest success?

My family. As a mother of two sons and one daughter, a grandmother to five grandchildren, and a dog mom to my Great Danes, I consider my greatest success my family. They bring me joy every day.

I also consider the growth I have made in my career since the very beginning a great success. I entered a field without any experience and was able to take hold, learn from those around me, educate myself, push boundaries, learn more, advance my career, and all while absolutely enjoying my career choice.

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