CEO Luncheon with Joe Savage

May 31, 2014

Thank you to Webster Bank for hosting this month's CEO Luncheon!  We were fortunate enough to sit down with Joe Savage, President of Webster Bank, and learn about his journey in banking.

Joe is from a hard working class family in New Jersey. He is one of seven children and education was always very important to his parents.  They did everything possible to be able to afford his education starting with a Catholic High School. Since Catholic Schools are no small fee, his mother had to ask the Parish for a grant, which she did receive that allowed Joe to attend for a lower cost.  Joe received a track scholarship to Manhattan College after his high school graduation. He loved to run and eventually made it to Nationals as well as qualified to run in the Olympic Trials.  Although he did not win it was still a great opportunity! 

Along with his own eagerness and drive, Joe was raised with strong family values.  He married young and started his own family.  He knew that he needed to provide for them by any means necessary like his parents did for him throughout his life.

Joe's first job was as a teacher for a few years. Once he realized that teaching was not going to pay the bills, he started to attend night school for his MBA at Seton Hall University.  In order to afford to go to classes he was coaching on the side. "I would wake up, go to work at the Federal Reserves Bank in NY, after work I would coach and then get home late at night.  Then do it all over again the next day.  I could never do that kind of schedule now, but when your young and have the drive to take care of your family you make it work."

It seemed almost impossible that Joe could be so successful at work while he had so much going on at home. "The hallmark of my success is that I would always do the right thing at the right time for the right reason. Do the right thing even when no one is looking and people start to take you under their wing and help you along the way.  I believe very strongly in this which allowed me to start being successful at work." said Joe.

Joe's banking career began when he took a job working at Charmant Bank and he stayed there for the next ten years.  Joe then transitioned and founded a telecommunications company. "Telecommunications is a great industry, but at that time I was a few years to early in developing that business.  I had family needs, and needed to pay the bills so I sold that company and moved to Denver, CO for 8 years."  There Joe was the Vice President of the Communications and Energy Banking Group for CoBank.  "I turned my hardships into something I really wanted to do and that propelled me forward and I found motivation to keep going."
In 2002 Jim Smith, a good friend of Joe's who happened to be chairman and CEO of Webster Bank, told him that he needed to come to Webster for a job opening.  "I thought he was crazy! Why would I leave Denver to come to Connecticut" stated Joe.  Since Joe is a very family orientated man, he knew that this opportunity would be a well providing position, Joe took the Head of Commercial Bank as his first job at Webster.  "I eat, sleep and breath Webster values of converting customers to Webster and the client success in the market place. Believing in those values and being who I am at the work place, I was able to continue moving forward and eventually become President of Webster Bank.  I had no idea that I would become a banker.  If you asked me when I was younger what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you a track coach.  I believe that if you are true to yourself at all times and have fun, good things will happen to you."

Joe closed the luncheon explaining what he thinks are the keys to success: "The best advice I can give to a young professional is to love what you do and be happy with who you are personally and professionally.  Make sure that those qualities are apparent in all that you do.  I encourage young professional involvement in the community because that is a way of gaining personal growth.  Personal growth will dramatically influence your work.  There is no personal growth in your comfort zone - challenge yourself and be you even when no one is looking."


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