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Just Sayin’

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As Relationships matter. They mattered when I was an executive in the recording industry, working with ambitious, budding artists eager to create successful records, and they matter to me as a banker. The reason: we’re at our best when we’re surrounded by great people committed to accomplishing a shared goal.

I learned this lesson early in my career. The most successful records I worked on were the ones in which great talent met great teamwork. In the second act of my career, as a senior relationship manager with Key Private Bank, this lesson holds true. Instead of nurturing artists to create music, I am empowering people to create and preserve wealth–something I would not be able to do without the support of a great team, the generosity of a like-minded network of professionals and the trust of clients.

Most people in business acknowledge the power of networking. However, what many people struggle with is finding the right network–the appropriate outlet to build meaningful relationships that can help you grow personally and professionally.

I found my perfect outlet, Key4Women, when I started working with Key Private Bank in 2011.

Key4Women started as a financial education seminar in 2002, the Key Financial Forum for Women. What everyone involved in organizing the event quickly realized is that the financial, professional and personal lives of women are closely intertwined. So KeyBank commissioned a study that suggested women–particularly women business owners and business leaders–have very distinct banking and professional development needs than their male counterparts. In 2005, Key4Women officially launched to address those needs.

Today, a decade later, Key4Women has loaned more than $6 billion to women-owned businesses. In addition, Key4Women provides women with classes to improve their financial literacy, tools and resources to start and grow businesses and opportunities to network with other women.

When I joined KeyBank, Key4Women was the outlet that made me feel most at home. It helped me build quick, meaningful relationships with new colleagues and professional peers. And ultimately it provided me with the tremendous opportunity of leading the program.

On Friday, June 5, during our 14th Annual Key4Women Forum, I will pass the Key4Women leadership baton to Kate Otis, Key’s Director of Community Relations. I am thankful that I have been able to be a part of KeyBank’s effort to build a stronger relationship with the communities we serve through financial education for all women, promoting STEM careers to young girls and providing entrepreneurs with access to capital. I also know I am leaving the program in great hands. Kate shares my passion for promoting equality, educating women and providing platforms for women to shine and thrive.

This year’s Key4Women keynote speaker, KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney, is the perfect example of a woman who was provided with such a platform and never looked back. Her presentation, “Journey to the Corner Office,” will cover her inspiring path from secretary to most powerful woman in banking. It’s a can’t-miss event.

The Key4Women Forum begins at 8:00 a.m. at Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia. To register, visit or call 866-KEY4WOM. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Women’s Fund of the Capital Region. HLM

Susan Rosko Fogarty is senior vice president and senior relationship manager for Key Private Bank in Albany, New York. Prior to joining Key Private Bank in 2011, Susan served as a Senior Relationship Manager for HSBC and Client Manager for Bank of America. She specializes in working with business owners, non-profit institutions, and international clients. Susan earned a BA in public policy from Syracuse University and is an MBA candidate. She is active in her community and is currently serving on the board of directors for Opera Saratoga. Susan is also a Patron of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Chair of Key4Women and the founder of the 100 Women of St. Jude.