Working full-time both during her undergraduate days and while she pursued her MBA, Jennifer Rodriguez learned the value of a dollar and the importance of responsible spending.
She passes along many of the lessons to students at Middletown High School Credit For Life Fair, a program which teaches hundreds of seniors about spending choices, money management and earning power.
“It’s an eye-opener for a lot of them. They end up being much more appreciative of their parents and how much they have to do to support them,” she said. “It’s just trying to get them to be more conscious of how they spend their money.”
If the role as mentor is important to Rodriguez, it’s partly because of the guidance she’s received that helped propel her own career advancement. She credits the advice from Dean Morgan, the CEO when she worked at Connecticut River Community Bank, for encouraging her to return to school for her master’s degree.
She joined Liberty Bank as a senior underwriter when the two institutions merged in 2010 and was eventually promoted to vice president. Her role smoothing the transition and integrating her former employer’s loan portfolio into Liberty Bank’s earned her the 2012 Unsung Hero Award.
Overseeing portfolio management functions for Liberty Bank’s $1.7 billion commercial real estate portfolio, Rodriguez is responsible for property inspections and visits to correspondent brokers across a large swath of the Northeastern corridor.
Even though her job duties are more specialized at a larger institution, she said she welcomes the chance to wear different hats working with other departments and sharing advice with newer hires.
“Especially right now, there is so much opportunity for women, as well as younger people,” she said. “It may not sound like an exciting career, but when you get into it you’re surprised. You don’t realize how much you can learn about different types of businesses and their everyday banking requirements.”
Rodriguez embraces Liberty Bank’s commitment to philanthropy and community involvement, volunteering frequently at the Middletown St. Vincent de Paul’s Soup Kitchen, and pitched in last summer landscaping the Middlesex Habitat for Humanity’s project in Portland.
“Jennifer is a valued employee with an internal fire to perform at the highest possible level and to always go the extra mile,” said Christopher Arnold, senior vice president at Liberty Bank, in his nomination of Rodriguez. “At Liberty Bank she holds the torch high by providing excellent customer service, taking pride in the work she does and treating all with respect and dignity.”