News - 03/17/2015


Professional Women Find Work/Life Balance Through Mentoring Relationship

Shared Experiences and Nuggets of Wisdom Lead to Self-Discovery and Achievement.

PeoplesBank - Bay Path Conference Mentoring Panel
Karen Buell, Vice President Customer Innovation Lab with Mary Meehan, First Vice President Commercial Lending 

HOLYOKE, MA (March 17, 2015) – About eight years ago, early in her professional career, Karen Buell was struggling with how to find balance between a promising career and the demands of starting a family. She had just completed the management training program and was aware that the PeoplesBank Human Resources department was there to help. So Karen met with them and requested a mentor. Not just any available mentor – Karen really wanted to be mentored by Mary Meehan. “I knew Mary from the bank’s strategic planning meetings,” recalled Karen, who now serves as Vice President, Customer Innovation Lab. “Mary is not only intelligent, but also clearly successful as well. I thought to myself, ‘That’s who I want to be.’ She was already my role model before she was my mentor.”

Mary was flattered when she received the request but also reflective. “I wish I had a mentor when I was starting my career,” noted Mary, who is now First Vice President of Commercial Lending at PeoplesBank. “Women are pulled in so many directions during their professional careers, and it is hard to know how to succeed at work and fulfill the needs of your family.” Interestingly, although they are from different generations, Mary found that she could relate to what Karen was experiencing. What surprised her were the benefits of being a mentor. “I have learned a lot about myself through my mentoring relationship with Karen,” Mary reflected.

Both Karen and Mary agree mentoring is a powerful resource that often goes untapped. “No one is an island. You can’t do it alone,” stated Karen. “But you have to also be open with your mentor and be willing to share your experiences, both the good and the bad. Working with a mentor also means you are going to get nuggets of wisdom that you might have missed otherwise.”

Mary suggests being a good listener is critical as well. “Just being a sounding board helps. Karen could try out ideas and thoughts risk free because she knew I would just listen and not be judgmental. Our mentoring sessions also helped her prioritize. Together we sorted through all the issues that were bombarding her and picked the ones that needed to be dealt with right away.”

Mary, who over her career has helped many area businesses grow and succeed, and Karen, who now leads the bank’s innovation efforts, will share these and more of their mentoring experiences at the Bay Path Women’s Leadership Conference, “Celebrating Sisterhood,” on March 27. More information on the conference can be found at




About: PeoplesBank is a leader in innovation, corporate responsibility, environmental sustainability, and employee engagement. Our three LEED® certified offices are environmentally friendly and we have financed more than $70 million in wind, hydroelectric and solar energy projects.

As the largest community bank in the market, we have a unique ability to help the communities we serve through volunteer efforts and millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes. Our associates devote an average of 6,000 hours to volunteer work each year and 48 of the bank’s officers serve on the board of directors and committees of 115 area nonprofit organizations.

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