Mixing hard work, luck, and enthusiasm—a recipe for success!
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
President Long Island/Queens Middle Market, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Favorite Class at Adelphi: Public Finance, which pulled together the interaction between our expectations of various governmental bodies, how we pay for it all, and the impact on people. It was really fascinating.
Best Thing about ‘Adelphi on Wheels’: It was the hook that enabled me to finish a Master’s degree. I’d been out of school for over five years at that point with about five graduate level courses under my belt. Those first four courses on the train were a great introduction to Adelphi and going on campus to finish was just a natural progression.
Favorite Professors: James Patchias. He was acting Dean during that era as well…a real gentleman!
What does the President of the Long Island/Queens Middle Market for one of the nation’s largest banks do in a typical day?
My favorite days are spent out in the market, meeting with and helping our unique middle market clients. Of course, managing a market and the staff needed to serve that market requires being involved in all the business disciplines your typical MBA student learns, from strategic planning to finance, marketing and operations…I’m never bored.
We are leaders in commercial banking on Long Island. We serve businesses with annual sales volume from $10-$250 million. We have a complete team of bankers, specialists in credit, cash management, and leasing, all located in Melville. A big competitive advantage we have is our customer service staff, over 25 people strong, dedicated to serving this important market segment and working right here in Melville with the Bankers.
You got your start in banking as a credit trainee. How did you become president of the LI/Queens Middle Market?
I think it was a mix of hard work, luck and enthusiasm. When I was hired by Chemical Bank, I had very little business background, but I knew I had above average common sense and curiosity. Those two traits enabled me to be confident to ask questions, to learn as much as I could about the banking business and the businesses of my customers…and then to put the answers through the test of logic and common sense. I guess that helped me develop what we call a ‘good gut’ and I’m not afraid to make decisions. Early on I realized that I needed a stronger business framework, which is why I pursued my master’s degree in Banking and Money Management at Adelphi.
When my job as a credit executive was eliminated over 10 years ago, I thought it was a disaster. Every career has its ups and downs; I now realize that that transition forced me to grow in different ways. I firmly believe that the secret to success is knowing what your company expects from you, and letting them know what your priorities are. That definitely came into play during that time. I understood what my new assignment meant and my new boss understood my family concerns. We made it work. In retrospect it was probably the best thing to happen to my career.
One reason I stayed with Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan) for so long was that they understood that when my children were very young, my family was my number one priority, and they respected that. As my daughters got older, I had more time to focus on my work life. The window of time to raise a family is a lot shorter than that for your career. I really think you can have it all, but maybe not all at once.
Is there a moment in your career that you are most proud of?
It was a really exciting day for me when a former secretary, whom I had known and supported early in her career, was promoted to vice president. I think it has been the ability to mentor others to their benefit and the benefit of the firm that’s been the most satisfying…especially to see people you’ve helped emerging as leaders.
I also enjoy working with customers through the tough times as well as the good times; some of my business relationships have lasted for more than fifteen years through several business cycles.
What keeps you going when times are tough?
The people. I have met such terrific people- colleagues and customers- during my years in banking.
Why did you choose Adelphi?
I was looking for an open seat on the Long Island railroad and I stumbled across “Adelphi on Wheels.” It was a wonderful experience, the level of discourse on the train was very strong, and it proved to be the hook I needed to finish my degree. The Long Island location and flexible program enabled me to complete my degree while working and having time for my family. And of course, the professors were terrific.
What advice might you have for Adelphi students and recent graduates?
Always look at the big picture so you have a context for everything you do…spend some time with yourself so you understand your true priorities and remember that you can have a positive impact no matter what you do.
Ms. O’Hagen lives in Massapequa with her husband, Kevin. She has two twenty-something daughters, who give her great joy. You may have seen Ms. O’Hagen on campus this spring when she joined the check presentation for the JPMorgan Chase Foundation’s support of Adelphi’s Center for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership.
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