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Susan Riel

EagleBank
7830 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda Maryland 20814
President & CEO
240-497-2075

What’s changed for women in business over your career?
When I started my career over 35 years ago, there weren’t many women in senior leadership positions. It’s wonderful to see that changing. People are finally recognizing that women can and should have a seat at the table. Women also have more flexibility now when it comes to having children and caring for their family members. Perceptions have changed. It’s now widely accepted that a woman can be committed to her career and her family at the same time.

What advice would you offer to women who are just starting out?
My mother always taught me to do my best and treat people fairly. She has been such an inspiration in my life, and I’ve remembered her advice throughout my career. I would tell young women that they shouldn’t be afraid to deal with conflict and have difficult conversations. Be open-minded and flexible, but stay firm and advocate for yourself. Setbacks are going to happen. Don’t be deterred! Use those setbacks as a tool to keep learning and moving forward. Familiarize yourself with the key values that underpin the business you’re in, and find a mentor or coach to have as a resource as you move through your career. Above all, be yourself and trust yourself.

What changes or innovations are on the horizon in your industry? How are you preparing for them?
The digital revolution has drastically changed the financial services industry. Financial technology companies will continue to alter the landscape, so banks need to redefine the banking experience. We’ve made it a priority to build dedicated teams that are focused on staying current, evaluating new products and services, and exceeding customer expectations.

“I would tell young women that they shouldn’t be afraid to deal with conflict and have difficult conversations. Be open-minded and flexible, but stay firm and advocate for yourself.”