Business

Zions Women Leaders Honored by American Banker Magazine

Jennifer Smith Named as One of the “25 Women to Watch”

Heidi Prokop | Photos by Heidi Prokop Jan 11, 2018

As they innovate new banking technologies and drive profitability, top women executives at Zions Bancorporation are being recognized for their leadership and hard work. These senior managers contribute to the success of the $65 billion-in-assets company that includes Zions Bank and six of its affiliate banks across 11 Western states.

American Banker magazine honored the company’s executives at its annual “Most Powerful Women in Banking” awards dinner Oct. 5, 2017, in New York City. The magazine’s October 2017 issue lists Zions Bancorporation among one of five Top Banking Teams in the nation.

According to American Banker, the award is a reflection of Zions Bancorporation’s “strong female leaders … contributing to its strategy and bottom line and of its commitment to initiatives to help more women advance into the senior ranks.”

Power in Numbers

Specifically, women comprise 50 percent of Zions Bancorporation’s corporate officer positions, and female executives make up 21 percent of the company’s executive management committee.

One woman in particular on the executive management committee was listed as No. 21 on the magazine’s “25 Women to Watch List” for her critical role in the company’s core banking systems replacement project. She is Zions Bancorporation Chief Information Officer Jennifer Smith, who oversees nearly 2,000 employees.

Additionally, the magazine’s Editor’s Note highlighted the rapid career progression of Rebecca Robinson, director of Enterprise Wealth Management. She is responsible for driving the company’s wealth line of business to sustainable profitability.

“I congratulate Zions Bancorporation for earning a Top Team in Banking award,” said American Banker Executive Editor Bonnie McGeer. “The women on this team play a significant role in the company’s performance. The initiatives that Zions has in place to foster the talent development and retention of high-performing women employees help it stand out.”

Chief Information Officer Jennifer Smith and actor Geena Davis
Zions Bancorporation Chief Information Officer Jennifer Smith was honored among the magazine's "25 Women to Watch" and attended a roundtable meeting where Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis presented.
Carol Larson presents award to Rebecca Robinson
Deloitte & Touche Senior Partner Carol Larson presents the "Top Banking Team" award to Zions Bancorporation's Director of Enterprise Wealth Management Rebecca Robinson.

A Culture of Support for Women

Prior to the awards dinner in New York City, Zions women participated in the magazine’s honoree roundtable. Zions Bancorporation Executive Vice President and Director of Enterprise Business Banking Lori Chillingworth was among panelists who discussed ways to support the careers of women in the banking industry.

She shared the success of Zions’ participation in the Women’s Leadership Institute “ElevateHER Challenge.” This is a seven-point formal pledge made by the company to increase the percentage of women in senior leadership positions, boost the number of women on boards of directors, and monitor gender gaps in pay, among other directives.

Since accepting the ElevateHER Challenge, Zions Bancorporation has been actively evaluating leadership opportunities for women, including strengthening career development and mentoring programs, monitoring pay equity among employees by gender, and increasing the retention rate among female leaders.

Across Zions Bancorporation, a formal mentoring program has helped propel women employees and employees of color since it was established in 2009. The six-month mentorship program pairs leaders with up-and-coming employees. To date, 980 employees have participated as “mentees,” working with 827 mentors. Among mentor program participants reporting in the most recent survey, 35 percent had been promoted internally, some more than once.

This year marks the second time Zions Bancorporation was listed by American Banker as a Top Team, and its affiliate Zions Bank has ranked among the Top Teams in six issues over the past several years.

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