Margaret Livingston started at Guilford Savings Bank in 1975 as a telephone receptionist. Thirty-six years later, she’s the president and chief executive of the bank.
When she began at GSB, Livingston had two young daughters, and was “just looking for any position that would supplement the family income while being close to home,” she recalled.
After starting as a telephone receptionist, she worked in several departments, a process she said served as an informal management training program.
Livingston said she “seized every opportunity to gain experience” and learn something new. In 1994, she was appointed corporate secretary – a position that gave Livingston “visibility among board members,” she said. In 1999, she was elected to the board of trustees.
In its 136 year history, Livingston was only the second woman to serve on GSB’s board. Only nine years later, in 2008, Livingston became the first woman president and chief executive of GSB.
Being one of only a handful of women bank presidents in Connecticut’s history, it might be easy to assume Livingston found it challenging working with the male-dominated Connecticut Bankers Association’s bank presidents’ group. Livingston, however, said she did not find herself at a disadvantage.
“I never sensed a glass ceiling at GSB, and when I became bank president, I felt welcomed by the predominantly male bank presidents’ group,” Livingston commented.
Job, Community, Family
As president, Livingston has countless responsibilities, ranging from bringing in 21st Century banking products and services to consumers and small-business customers, to maintaining public confidence in GSB. She is also active in several charitable and professional organizations, and is a strong advocate of environmental preservation.
Despite her numerous responsibilities, Livingston still manages to spend time with her family.
“Family values are important to me,” Livingston emphasized. She enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren, with boating, water-skiing, and tubing as favorite activities. A certified scuba diving training assistant, Livingston takes her eldest grandchild, Emily, 15, scuba diving.
“My other grandchildren are awaiting the time in which they are old enough to become certified” for scuba diving, Livingston said. In the meantime, she and her husband, Lee, travel extensively with all six grandchildren, and enjoy spending time together at their cabin in Maine.
Throughout her career, Livingston had several mentors that believed in her capabilities and continually raised the bar to stretch her talents and skills. Her goal, she said, is to provide the same type of support to others that she has received throughout her career.
She also hopes to keep GSB a viable independent community bank, and enhance its delivery of customer service excellence.
Livingston is a graduate of Connecticut School of Finance and Management. She is a lifelong resident of Guilford, where she resides with her husband.