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Overcoming Gender Stereotypes To Become Successful Banker

When Linda Bowden graduated high school, women had four career options to choose from: teacher, flight attendant, librarian and nurse. Today she is the regional president of PNC Bank of NJ. But the path that led Bowden to her current position hasn’t always been clear cut, she told students at a recent MBA Executive Speaker Series.It started out as an elementary school teacher, where Bowden said she soon grew frustrated with the profession’s lack of meritocracy. That led her to night school working toward an MBA at Fairleigh Dickinson. After speaking with a colleague’s husband, Bowden decided to pursue a career in banking. Though she earned her degree and landed a job, Bowden said she still was uneasy in her new career:  “I felt like I was an imposter.”

She left the bank for a position with Citibank, where she began beefing up her resume, and later, First Fidelity, but still suffered from self-doubt and an overwhelming fear of failure. “Fear was ruling my life,” she said. Then, in 1996, Bowden was diagnosed with cancer. Surviving the ordeal gave her a new perspective. “I decided, never again will I let fear rule my life,” said Bowden, who later joined PNC and rose through the ranks to become regional president. “Never will I let my family be secondary to my career.”.

Bowden concluded the presentation by offering her success tips,  Among the tips for success she offered as parting advice to the students in attendance: “Be unafraid, let your pressures be external and take good care of yourself.”

Bowden earned an MSW from Columbia University, an MA in institutional counseling from William Paterson University, an MBA with a concentration in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BA in education from Rowan University. Additionally, Bowden completed the National Trust School at Northwestern University, earned her Certified Trust Financial Advisor designation and has completed numerous sales management and leadership programs.

For more information about the Feliciano School of Business, please visit business.montclair.edu/mba