Barbara Heinemann never thought of herself as a woman in a male-dominated industry. Throughout her career, including over 17 years at Eastern Bank, Heinemann worked hard, provided results and was recognized for them.
“Upon reflection, over my career I was often one of a few women at the senior table,” Heinemann said. “This led to additional opportunities to make an impact and learn and grow. I never thought it would lead to being recognized as one of the Women of FIRE. I’m honored and excited and appreciative.”
Heinemann has worked in several leadership positions within Eastern Bank: executive vice president of operations and technology, chief information officer and executive vice president of enterprise risk management. Each position required outstanding leadership and interpersonal skills, said Bob Rivers, chair and CEO at Eastern Bank – and that’s partly why Heinemann was nominated for a Woman of FIRE award.
“Her leadership is marked by a high degree of professionalism and poise,” Rivers said. “She handles herself so well in high pressure situations and has shown the ability to step in to new situations where she’s leading large groups of people to bring them together to get major projects completed.”
Having worked on many enterprise-wide initiatives, Heinemann has brought together teams of employees from across the company, including handling integrations associated with acquisitions and mergers, the creation of new risk management programs and the implementation of new technology platforms.
“When you come out on the completion-end of any large initiative and see the energy of the team, it really makes you proud,” Heinemann said. “When you face challenges as a team, work on them successfully together, see colleagues learn and grow, and know you are doing good things for customers and the community, that’s really special.”
Heinemann built Eastern Bank’s enterprise risk group from scratch and, according to Rivers, is making a huge difference in other areas across the company.
“She is tackling this new role in consumer banking, leading one of the largest divisions, certainly in numbers of people,” Rivers said. “Barbara has been asked to take on many of these responsibilities, and she has gone in and handled them well. Because of that work, we look to her.”
Through passion for her job and positivity, Heinemann kept moving up through the ranks. “I love what I do,” she said. “I bring a lot of energy to every day and am excited to learn new things and provide value to the company.”
Heinemann’s advice to a young finance professional? “Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know, come to each day with an attitude to learn something new and listen with an open mind.”
By being an active listener and learning from those around her, Heinemann said she has been able to give it her all and make a difference in her roles at Eastern Bank and in the community.