As president and CEO of Highland Capital, Mary Smith is responsible for the entirety of the organization, both how it currently runs and what to anticipate for the future. As Highland runs independently from its parent company, Valley Bank, Smith overlooks all aspects of the equipment finance business.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE:
“I’d like to see the continued growth of women within our industry, at all levels instead of seeing women begin in the industry and then just hit a certain point and stop growing. I’d like to see increased numbers in sales, management and in senior executive roles.”
“Mary is an experienced and dedicated commercial banking professional who has delivered outstanding results and supported the needs of thousands of satisfied commercial relationships,” says Thomas A. Iadanza, senior executive vice president and chief banking officer at Valley Bank. “Her expertise in the commercial leasing industry makes her an invaluable asset to Valley Bank and we’re fortunate to have her as part of our leadership team.”
Smith has experience in multiple sections of the industry. She started in operations and then moved into a successful sales career at Copelco Capital, where she had a personal annual sales volume of over $280 million. She eventually landed back in operations, operating the largest division in the company, and stayed on through Copelco’s acquisition by Citi Bank, remaining there for a few years before taking some time off to spend with her 4-year-old daughter.
When she was ready to return to work, she started consulting with Highland, which at the time was still primarily a buy-sell organization. She came fully on board and re-launched the organization in 2003, recruiting team members she’d previously worked with at Copelco. Presented with the opportunity to turnaround the company, Smith and her team re-shaped it from the ground up, turning it into an all-in-one vendor organization.
Smith attributes much of Highland’s success to a conservative, deliberate growth model, but also feels some of the technical innovation Highland embraced early on gave them a leg-up on the competition.
“Electronic documents we’ve been doing since about 2011,” Smith says. “DocuSign at that time was just entering our market when we launched. We revamped our entire process around that. We were the leader in the initial stages, and it’s become an integral part of our platform now.”
Smith works with organizations both inside and outside the industry. She is an active member of the ELFA, finding a great deal of benefit in the group’s legal updates and advocacy. She also sits on the board of a local riding club, which teaches children how to ride and instills in them self-confidence, self-reliance and responsibility in the care of the horse.
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