© 2019 by American Business Media LLC

New England

Women In Banking

2019 Agenda

With all the informative and entertaining sessions lined up at the

New England Women In Banking Conference,

you won't want to miss a thing!

Thursday, October 24
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Cocktails & Connections
Open Bar Networking Reception
Come early to the conference, and mix and mingle with your peers before enjoying Newport's nightlife.
Friday, October 25
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Registration & Networking
Viking Ballroom
Ballroom Foyer
8:30 - 8:45 a.m.
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Conference Chair

Join us as we open the Eighth Annual
New England Women In Banking Conference.
Get Ready For A
"Most Unusual Day"!
Click Play To Hear Jane Powell's Hit Song From "A Date With Judy"
8:45 - 9:30 a.m.
Chief Economist, Managing Director, Stifel Financial Corp.


Highlight the day with an insightful look at what's developing across the business landscape. Dr. Lindsey Piegza is Chief Economist for Stifel Fixed Income. A frequent commentator on television and in print, She specializes in the research and analysis of economic trends and activity, world economies, financial markets, and monetary and fiscal policies. Prior to her role with Stifel, she was the Senior Economist for an investment bank in New York City for eight years consulting clients in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

A highly sought-after speaker across national and international forums, Dr. Piegza is often quoted in the business press. She is a regular guest on CNBC, Fox News, CNN and Bloomberg, as well as national radio and other business news outlets. Dr. Piegza is also a monthly op-ed contributor for The Hill. Dr. Piegza has been published in journals such as Harvard Business Review and textbooks published by the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She holds a B.A. from Northwestern University in political science and a B.A. in economics with honors and distinction. She earned her Ph.D. in economics from the City University of New York and is based in Stifel’s Chicago office.

9:30 - 10:15 a.m.
Aerialist, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist




For Darla Day, it really all began when she "ran away" to join the circus.

From Salt Lake City, she moved to Houston to pursue a creative career. That determination led her to join a local circus from Mexico, where she discovered a passion for aerial acrobatics and dance. From there, she developed a career in entertainment, including working with the famed company, Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and later for Ke$ha, MTV and Cindy Lauper.

But she didn't rest there. She created her own company -- Aeris Aerial Arts -- and became an entrepreneur providing events and entertainment to some of the world's largest corporations, including Toyota and Adobe. She founded a school for aerial acrobatics. And with her husband, Nick Day, she created a special foundation to help teens at risk of suicide.

Now she joins us at the New England Women In Banking conference to share her story. She has been through dark times as well as bright ones. But with determination and the support of family and loved ones, has fought through the worst moments to craft a life she once could only dream of. And so can you.

What Holds Banking Women Back: A Workshop With Moxie!

Her New Standard


Research shows that women have natural strengths as well as challenges as leaders. This workshop highlights the traps women need to avoid to optimize their leadership potential. Self limiting beliefs and behaviors are examined as participants identify strategies to overcome obstacles such as the disease to please and perfectionism.


As a result of this workshop, attendees will:

  • learn what impedes women’s progress in their banks and credit unions

  • identify their biggest career blocker

  • brainstorm steps to overcome obstacles

  • share struggles and strategies with other women.

This hands-on session is led by a team of organizational leaders, PhDs, and leadership consultants with rich, real-life experience. They are accomplished women who are passionate and committed to inspiring and helping women to reach their fullest potential –– crushing that proverbial glass ceiling. This session was created specifically for women leaders –– to help them rise up in today’s competitive world and make their mark. Our workshop leaders understand women, how to motivate them and how to break through barriers to help them achieve their goals.

The workshop will be led by Karen Kirchner, whose years of HR at Citigroup and Reader’s Digest provide a business-savvy perspective grounded in the reality of organizational life; Ellen Keithline Byrne, PhD, who holds a doctorate in Organizational Development and Change and has over 18 years of experience working both on a global learning and development team, and as a consultant servicing Fortune 500 companies like Xerox, JP Morgan Chase, MasterCard, Marsh & McLennan, and Nationwide; and Denise D’Agostino, CEC, with 25 years of real-world experience as the Head of HR for both Bayer HealthCare and Ciba Specialty Chemicals. 

10:15 - 11:15 a.m. 
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Morning Keynote Presentation
Consumer & Wealth Mgmt. Regional Director, Chase Bank

A Unique Vision Of Banking Growth


As many banks scale back physical branches and operations, Chase Bank is on an ambitious mission to add 60 new branches throughout southern New England -- without acquiring other banks. Leading that initiative is Roxann Cooke, an industry veteran tasked with not only executing a branch expansion plan, but also with hiring more than 350 additional bankers to staff those locations.

Cooke earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and an MBA from Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Business. A native of Jamaica, she immigrated to the United States when she was 10 and lived in the Grove Hall neighborhood in Roxbury, Mass.

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
About the speaker and topic!
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Sandra J. Pattie Distinguished Leadership Awards
Join us for an elegant luncheon, and an opportunity to honor  women who’ve helped change the face of banking in New England. Each year, we are proud to present this honor to women who have made outstanding contributions to the banking landscape in New England.
Since starting her banking career as a teller, Gilda Nogueira has risen to become president and CEO of East Cambridge Savings Bank. She is a strong industry advocate and demonstrates her passion and belief in the responsibility of business leaders giving back to the communities they are a part of through personal example.  Gilda is past chair of the Massachusetts Bankers Association (2016-2017), member of the American Bankers Association Banker Advocacy and Grassroots Committee; Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC), and President of the Federal Reserve’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council at a national level representing the First District; and member of the Board of the Depositors Insurance Fund. 

Cynthia C. Merkle has been President and CEO of Union Savings Bank in Danbury, Conn. since 2014. Prior to joining Union Savings Bank as COO in 2013, Cindy served as Executive Vice President at Eastern Bank – the largest independent and mutually owned bank in New England. The 2019-2020 Chair of the Connecticut Bankers Association, she is the first woman to lead the CBA. Cindy also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Western Connecticut; Chair of the Board of Trustees of Endicott College, as well as a board member of the Danbury Chamber of Commerce.

Cindy graduated from Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I., with a bachelor’s degree in management, and holds an Associate of Science degree from Endicott College in Beverly, MA.

1:30 - 2:15 p.m.
General Session Keynote
Take Advantage Of Your Unfair Advantage
Trainer, Consultant
Genworth Mortgage Insurance Co.
Do you know what your Unfair Advantage is?  In an industry where products and programs can be the same across the board, it is YOU that has to stand out and make the customer the hero of their story.  To stand out you have to have an Unfair Advantage.


  • What is an Unfair Advantage?

  • How do you identify and implement?

  • What are tools to help you begin creating your Unfair Advantage today?

  • What is the secret of maintaining your Unfair Advantage? 


This presentation will show you how to create and/or enhance your brand through stories of what individuals and companies have done in crowded fields to identify, develop and deploy a brand that truly sets them apart  and ahead of their competition.

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
Closing Keynote Presentation
Political Strategist, Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee

The Election Outlook:

We've Never Seen This Before


The 2020 Presidential Election is shaping up to be a show unlike anything the nation has ever experienced. What will it look like? Will the results serve to help bring the country closer, or drive it further apart? Can politics in this nation be saved?


Tough questions, and difficult answers. But there may be few people more qualified to talk about them than Donna Brazile. She was the first woman to lead a national presidential election campaign (for Al Gore), and she has also served as chair of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential elections.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Ms. Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist, a columnist for Ms. Magazine, and O, the Oprah Magazine, an on-air contributor to FOX News, and ABC, where she regularly appears on ABC’s This Week. Her secret passion is acting; she has recently made two cameo appearances on CBS’s The Good Wife. Ask her and she’ll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.


3:15 - 3:20 p.m.
Conference Wrap-Up
Thank you to all of our attendees, speakers and sponsors!