Location: Reading, MA
Industry: Financial services
“As a South African who grew up under the racially unjust system of apartheid, I committed myself to standing for the rights of people,” says Maxine Hart, CHRO at Reading Cooperative Bank. When Hart took a stand against apartheid in the 1980s, the National Association of Social Workers tried to strip her of her professional accreditation, but she fought this proceeding and reinvented herself professionally, earning a master’s degree in adult education and building a career in change management.
Quick Tip: “Take a stand that is true to your values. Don’t be afraid to make a decision.”
When Hart joined Reading Cooperative Bank, she saw an opportunity to bring about change in that setting as well. Over the past four years, Hart and the company’s CEO have taken steps to enhance the effectiveness of the bank. They have created a system to evaluate performance, restructured the management team and created a culture that focuses on accountability.
As part of the company’s move for organizational change, Hart stressed the importance of employee engagement, and has created programs to enhance this initiative. One program was created to increase engagement outside the office, in the local community. More than half of Reading Cooperative’s employees volunteer regularly, and employees have been able to vote for and contribute to local charities.