Robin Gallagher has a buck-stops-here approach to her career in the banking industry, adopting the attitude that there’s no room for excuses or shortcuts.
“I’ve always had the fire in my belly to take tasks one step further,” Gallagher said. “And that goes a long way.”
It’s advice that Gallagher gives to younger colleagues at Webster Bank, where she oversees commercial lending and community development from its Stamford office.
“The more you do, the more your raise your profile and accept responsibility, it adds to your learning process and your development,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher joined Webster Bank in 2005 after a dozen years as a vice president at Bank of New York. Gallagher saw an opportunity to join a bank in the same market where she already had a book of business, but where she would have a closer relationship with top-level executives.
With the new position came an increase in Gallagher’s community development responsibilities, including her leadership role at the Housing Development Fund of Connecticut. The nonprofit agency has helped finance construction of more than 1,000 affordable homes since 1989, and provides foreclosure prevention services. A board member for 15 years and recent past chair, Gallagher has seen demand for its services remain steady through up and down cycles in the real estate market.
“I don’t think it’s lightened up at all,” she said. “There’s continuous need for their programs.”
Gallagher oversees Webster Bank’s participation in the group’s multifamily housing program, providing developers with construction, acquisition and development financing.
“(The projects) take a long time to assemble from all the sources, but there’s always a demand (for housing) and a waiting list. It’s just a question of getting them off the ground,” she said.
Outside of business hours, Gallagher gives back to the community as a participant in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. The nonprofit group connects businesspeople with young people from low-income communities in Connecticut and Westchester County, and Gallagher judges a competition in which high school students draw up business plans for new ventures.
“You judge business plan presentations from a group of students and mentor them, and the winners ultimately they go on to a national competition with an opportunity to win up to $5,000. It’s rewarding and a lot of fun,” she said.