• Alumnae
  • Middle School
LincUPtoLearn 2019: Barbara Cottam Garrahy '77

LincUPtoLearn–Lincoln’s mentoring program that connects current students and alumnae–is taking place during the first two weeks of April, and on Monday, Sarah Caldwell ’23 spent the day with Barbara Cottam Garrahy '77, the Executive Vice President, RI Market Executive and Head of Corporate Affairs at Citizens Bank. Sarah had a packed day, full of unique experiences, and she shares her reflection in this blog post!

Sarah Caldwell ’23
On my visit, I shadowed Barbara. She works at Citizens Bank, and she also volunteers as a chairperson on the Rhode Island Board of Education. The first part of the visit took place at the 25th annual RI Kids Count Factbook breakfast at the Crowne Plaza. The RI Kids Count Factbook is a book that publishes statistics about kids in Rhode Island. The organization publishes the book to help legislatures use factual information to pass more effective laws that will benefit children in Rhode Island. Barbara was at the breakfast because Citizens Bank sponsors the event and she is on the Board of Education. Barbara is passionate about education and bettering the lives of children, so she volunteers for the organization even though it is non-paying and she has to work extra long hours in addition to her regular job at Citizens. During the breakfast, Barbara and I sat with some of the teenagers from Young Voices. Young Voices is a youth organization sponsored by Citizens Bank. We heard from Executive Director of RI Kids Count Elizabeth Burke Bryant, a longtime friend of Barbara’s, Pedro Moya, a youth board member and a representative from Young Voices, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Action Network Mark Shriver, Governor Gina Raimondo, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Ramona Santos from Parents Leading for Educational Equity, Congressman Jim Langevin, Congressman David Cicilline, Representative Marvin Abney, and Senator Josh Miller. I learned about the various policies supporting children’s education and well being in Rhode Island and what they hope to achieve for children in the future. I was also introduced to some people Barbara knew after the breakfast and recieved my own copy of the RI Children’s Factbook.

Following the breakfast, Barbara and I drove back to her office at the Citizens Bank building. I was able to listen to her on a one-on-one phone call with her boss about planning for sponsorships they would be giving to different organizations next year. I then left Barbara, and was able to talk with five other female members of Barbara’s team and ask them questions about their jobs, how they came to work for the company, and what challenges they face as women in the workforce. My favorite part of the visit was just being able to talk with different people within the bank and ask them questions about what their jobs were like. I think this gave me the best understanding and first-hand perspective of their jobs and what it is like to work in the communications section of a bank. One thing I found interesting about my visit was discovering, through talking to the women in the communications section of the bank, that even though you’re not one of the people in the bank handling the money, the work that you do is just as important within the bank. I had also always seen things that said “sponsored by Citizens Bank,” and it was very cool to actually meet the women who organized those partnerships and events all over New England. I learned during my visit that there is a section within the bank that is responsible for creating volunteer opportunities for people who work at Citizens Bank. These women organize charitable events. This year they had an event that taught teenagers about finances and how they can better manage their money in college and when they get older. Then people at the bank could volunteer to help prepare for the event, putting the gift bags together or setting up the venue, and they will be rewarded for their time. I really enjoyed my visit because I was able to get so many perspectives into part of the banking world that I had known nothing about before, and I had the opportunity to talk to women one-on-one about their jobs and learn so much new information from them.

Stay tuned here, as well as on InstagramFacebook, and Lincoln Connect, for more behind-the-scenes footage of LincUPtoLearn!

Are you an alumnae interested in participating in next year’s LincUPtoLearn? Reach out to Courtney Trafton, Associate Director of Advancement, at ctrafton@lincolnschool.org.