Look at the Board of Directors, Officers and Executives of St. Petersburg-based C1 Bank and you’ll find something unusual – the names of women. While the banking and financial industry has long been dominated by men, the women of C1 Bank are proof that hard work and networking are the keys to success – no matter your gender.
The number of women in the corporate suite at C1 “was really through networking,” says Lynn Woods, executive vice president for human resources. After bank president and CEO, Trevor Burgess, tapped Katie Pemble for the job of executive vice president and Florida Market President for C1, she reached out to Woods and former colleague, Rita Lowman, who now serves as chief operating officer and is the highest-ranking woman at the bank. The three women worked together at other financial institutions, or served on community boards together.
Not only does C1 have a significant number of women at the helm, its workforce is 64 percent female. C1 made national headlines in April, 2014 when it announced it would provide a minimum living wage of $14 per hour to all full time employees, a change that bank officials noted would have an impact on families that have women as the sole or primary breadwinner.
A predominately female workforce is also a reason C1supports community organizations such as Working Women of Tampa Bay and events such as the Go Red for Women campaign to raise awareness of heart disease. On the career front, Woods notes that the bank also encourages talent within the company. “We reach out to individuals that we think have a future and make sure they have leadership opportunities, not just in the company, but within the community.”
Lowman, the COO, states that women continue to assist and encourage her throughout her career. “My strongest mentor and advocate is Alex Sink,” says Lowman of Florida’s former chief financial officer and a C1 Board member. “Alex gave me the opportunity to grow as a banker and as a woman.”
As a result, Lowman now pays it forward. “One of my passions is developing young people in our industry. My goals and dreams are now a reality. I am always honored when a person shares with me that I have touched their life.”
C1 Bank is a proud sponsor of Working Women of Tampa Bay’s Leadership Series, and provides space for networking and other events throughout the year.
Executives see the benefits in an organization founded by women to help inspire and foster women “Working Women is unique,” Lowman adds. “It gives women an opportunity to network weekly, or if monthly and quarterly are better for an individual they can select that option. The one thing that is most beneficial for me is that at least quarterly there is a program that I feel will lift me in my professional and personal world. Great programs, great speakers, great participants are important to me.”
Wherever you are in your career - executive, entrepreneur or intern – Working Women of Tampa Bay you’ll give you the chance to meet dynamic women who share your interests, learn new skills with our valuable programing and gain the support of others who revel in your success.