Janice Morse has spent almost 41 years at Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank. She started as a teller in 1974 and worked her way up to president and CEO in 2011.
“What I am most proud of is breaking the glass ceiling as the first woman in 164 years to become the bank’s president,” Morse said. “I was able to work my way up through the rungs of the corporate ladder and I loved it.”
Morse held many positions during her time at Newburyport Bank, among them vice treasurer, marketing director, branch manager and customer service representative. She attributes her success to hard work and knowing how to learn from the people around her.
“I think the other employees could see the dedication in my work. I would never ask someone to do something I hasn’t already done myself or was willing to do,” she said. “I’m a firm believer in teamwork and am concerned for feelings of others.”
Morse launched the technology branch at Newburyport in the early 1990s, when most banks were just beginning to adopt computers and most banking applications were “proprietary.” She saw the value of new technology early on, and since then technology has made banking more challenging as an industry, she noted, but also more sophisticated.
“Banking today has become an evolving business line and is changing so rapidly,” Morse said. “For someone starting out in this industry, they need to have a better understanding of technology and stay current and educated on the trends, and network to be successful in the financial world.”
Morse retired from her role as president and CEO in March. She said she took this step partly because of her age, but also to spend more time with her husband, children and grandchildren.
“It’s such a family commitment to be a banker, it isn’t just working from eight to five, but a lot of late nights at the office and events you have to go to in that kind of role,” Morse said. “That’s a bit of a sacrifice on your family’s part.”
Retiring was difficult not only because she loved her job, but also because her husband and daughter work at the bank.
“I loved being president because it is forward-thinking, more strategic than being treasurer, where you’re always looking backwards to see how you did last year,” Morse said. “As president, I was able to rely on staff to work as a team and drive that bus to success.”
“I’m very honored to be considered a part of such a large, growing group of women in leadership,” she said.