Catalyst

Up Close With ... Laura Haffner

Laura B. Haffner is region bank president of Wells Fargo’s Greater Pennsylvania Region, which is comprised of more than 90 branches across 11 Pennsylvania counties. In this role, Laura leads customer and community relationships and drives financial and operational performance in partnership with a team of seven District Managers.

 

Prior to joining the Greater PA regional team, Laura served as the region bank president for the Central PA team for four years, and area president in the Lehigh Valley Division for eight years. She has held a variety of former retail banking positions, and has been a team member with Wells Fargo and predecessor banks for 35 years.

 

Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Moravian College, and currently serves on the President’s Leadership Council for the college. In addition, Laura is a board member with the Pennsylvania Bankers Association; serves as treasurer of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, and is a member of the PA Chamber’s board of directors.

 

How does your vast experience in regional banking help you in your current role?

 

There is an old saying that the one constant in this world is “change,” and nowhere is that more evident than in the world of financial services. I have experienced a great deal of change since I started in banking. Now, as a leader of change, I am in a position to help customers and employees thrive as we use technology to introduce new capabilities to our customers, and improve the workplace environment for our employees.  

 

What does it mean to you to be a female leader in the banking industry, and how you are inspiring young women to enter the field?

 

When I began my career 35 years ago, female leaders in banking were few and far between. I am happy to say that that has changed … maybe not as much as I would like, but giant strides have been made.  I hope that I am inspiring young women to enter the field by demonstrating that anything is possible, and through my involvement with Moravian College’s Economic and Business Affinity Group, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and other non-profit organizations that give guidance to young people and prepare tomorrow’s leaders. I want to thank the PA Chamber for their continued focus on having female leaders from various industries on the board, and for making a conscious effort to foster diversity, equality and inclusion.

 

What advice would you provide to other business leaders on how to recruit and retain a strong employee base?

 

Acknowledge that many of the people that make up today’s workforce may see their employment through a different lens than people did even just 10 years ago. One of the things that draws people to Wells Fargo is our commitment to the communities we serve and the opportunities for hands-on volunteerism that we provide. Employees want to feel that their jobs have real meaning and they are actively contributing to the well-being of others. If employees feel good about their jobs and their company, they will stay with you for years.

 

Can you provide insight into Wells Fargo’s customer and community engagement strategy, and the role that plays in your corporate mission?

 

We’re proud of the important role Wells Fargo plays in Pennsylvania and across the country. We believe we have both an obligation to do all we can and are in a position to provide meaningful support to our employees, communities and customers, which is just what we did throughout an unprecedented 2020. In the community, we look to support financial health, housing affordability, small business growth and environmental sustainability.  With customers we provide products and services that the customer wants delivered in a timely manner, through their choice of technology or personal service.

 

How are you engaging with the PA Chamber’s broad-based membership as an executive leader on our board?

 

The PA Chamber is amazing at giving us opportunities to learn from one another. I value the interaction I take advantage of with fellow Chamber members through the events and venues that the Chamber provides. From the Investor roundtables, to the golf outing, to multiple training and educational opportunities, there are a myriad of ways to engage and connect with members. I particularly value the building and fostering of relationships across the state and across industries — for me, this is a key benefit of PA Chamber membership. But what I enjoy the most are the insightful conversations I have with my fellow chamber members.   

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Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.