American Banker Magazine Honors Zions Bank's Women Bankers

Women comprise 36 percent of Zions Bank’s corporate officer positions.

Heidi Prokop Jan 1, 2017

Twenty-five years ago, Zions Bancorporation’s late founder, Roy W. Simmons, invited manufacturing executive Susan Johnson to join Zions Bank’s Board of Directors. She recalls Simmons saying to her, “I think it would be a good thing to have a woman serve on the board.” He was right, as research has since demonstrated. One survey of Fortune 500 companies revealed those with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 53 percent.

A quarter century later, Johnson still serves on the board where 45 percent of members are women. She represented the bank at the American Banker magazine awards dinner in New York on Oct. 6, 2016, where Zions Bank’s women bankers were collectively honored as one of the Top Banking Teams in the nation. This marks the seventh time Zions’ women have been recognized by the publication as a top team.

Elevating Women

According to American Banker, Zions is one of five banks where women are playing outsized roles in setting strategy and driving results. Women comprise 36 percent of Zions Bank’s corporate officer positions, and female executives make up 31 percent of the bank’s executive committee. The article points to Zions Bank’s recent commitment to the Women’s Leadership Institute’s “ElevateHER Challenge,” a formal commitment Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson and Zions Bancorporation Chairman and CEO Harris Simmons made to bolster leadership, salary equity and career development opportunities for women employees.

Also honored at the event was LeeAnne Linderman, Zions Bancorporation executive vice president of Enterprise Retail Banking, who ranked No. 13 on the magazine’s list of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking.” She has been listed in the magazine’s roster 10 times, with 2016 as her strongest rank to date.

Examining Women, Finance and the Media

Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, who has spoken at Zions Bank-hosted client events in the past, agreed to serve as the American Banker awards dinner keynote speaker, sponsored by the bank. During her speech before a crowd of 700, she shared highlights from her film career and studies by her nonprofit group, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

As part of her presentation, Davis announced Zions Bank’s sponsorship of a new research project conducted by her organization for American Banker magazine in 2017 that will examine the role of women in the financial industry through the lens of the media. Her organization will conduct surveys asking female bankers and bankers of color about the role models who have inspired them. The studies will also explore the way media portrays gender and race in banking. Finally, her group will analyze films from the past 10 years to determine how the entertainment industry portrays gender and race in the financial industry.

“I congratulate Zions Bank for earning a Top Team in Banking award and look forward to the research on gender and media the bank is generously supporting,” said American Banker Executive Editor Bonnie McGeer. “The women on this team have had a significant impact on their company’s performance. The initiatives that Zions has made to foster the development and promotion of female talent also help it stand out.”

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