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"Influencing the Face of Banking: An Executive Women's Forum," presented by RMA and Financial Women International, takes place May 18-20 in New Orleans. Donna Coughey will be part of a plenary panel discussing the issues and challenges facing women executives. The story that follows is testament to her credentials.
In 2000, there were about 3.9 million secretaries and 499,000 bank tellers in the U.S. Many have believed it's almost impossible to advance from such positions, but there are those who know otherwise, having "been there, done that." Donna Coughey, president and CEO of Chester Valley Bancorp Inc., has taken giant steps in an industry hitherto thought to be dominated by men. She's also part of the Philadelphia Business Journal's list of 50 Women of Distinction and a Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year.
Donna Coughey grew up in the 1960s. While there was a lot of noise in the late 1960s about women moving ahead, we know there was a lot more noise than action. (1) Things have changed for the better for women. Even today, however, it's tough to top the story of Donna's career, and the kicker is that she makes it sound like it was all in a day's work.
Mellon Bank hired Donna right out of high school in 1968 as a secretary in deposit accounting at the bank's operations center in Pittsburgh. Those were the days...to feel no nostalgia for. "I used to type account statements--and this is even before word processors, which means carbon paper and the agony of corrections whenever a typo occurred," says Donna. "Mandatory overtime was the rule, with a bunch of us typing and another group stuffing."
After marrying a couple years later, Donna moved to the suburbs and continued working for Mellon as a bank teller. With the arrival of the couple's first child in 1972, Donna did what most women did at the time--she quit to become a stay-at-home mom. …