Trailblazers: Mary Ann Scully

The Daily Record - 11/8/18

Howard Bank founder and CEO Mary Ann Scully is admittedly a very driven person.

“I have a deep-seated desire to be impactful and make a difference, but I am also a very pragmatic person so I think I have combined that drive with a lot of pragmatism and a lot of flexibility,” she said. “I think more about the kinds of things that I want to accomplish than the job title I would like to have.”

A career banker, Scully worked her way up through First National Bank of Maryland, later Allfirst Financial Inc., then launching Howard Bank with investors and colleagues in 2003. The bank has more than 20 branches in the Baltimore region and acquired First Mariner Bank earlier this year in a $174 million acquisition. 

One challenge she faced in her career was people not embracing diversity.

“I don’t think that diversity is something people intuitively embrace,” she said. “For me, it was a challenge of contravening people’s mental images of what their banking colleagues should look like. My challenges were always more internal than external. Not customer related, not client related, not community-related but just a different set of expectations occasionally on the part of colleagues in terms of what they thought of as a banker. I think that is still with us today.”

On the other hand, she was blessed with many people who were willing to be proven wrong on their thoughts of a banker. She was able to convince people through lots of hard work and building her competencies and capacities so that she could make an objective value proposition rather than a “you-should-do-this proposition.”

Scully believes women looking to create their own unique path need to bear responsibility.

“They can get help,” she said. “They can get advice. They can get assistance, but they can’t expect anybody else to do it for them. Be willing to take a risk and be willing to fail. If you are so afraid of failing, of making a mistake, you will never be successful.”

When discussing her legacy, Scully said she hopes to have made an impact whether it is one-on-one or for a group of people.

“If I have influenced people’s lives for the better, that’s a win,” she said. “If I have influenced a group of people or a community for the better, that’s a big win, but my definition of eternal life is if people remember what I did and how I affected their life positively.”

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