Emily Amparan is an alternative lending broker at her own firm, Alternative Finance Research.

Amparan is using her many years of experience in the banking and finance industry to help lead the Women in Banking group. She is the committee chair representing Women in Banking on the Risk Management Association’s board of directors, and leads a team of seven businesswomen to organize goals and objectives for Women in Banking luncheons and events. Here, Amparan talks about what motivated her to join the Women and Banking group and its future goals.

What was the main reason for starting Women in Banking?
Women in Banking (WIB) started out as a way for women in the banking/finance industry to connect, and was initially more social than business. Over the last three years, the group has become the networking arm of the Risk Management Association, attracting both women and men in and outside of banking/finance. WIB has garnered the attention of the banking/finance/business community and is recognized as the premier networking group to meet business professionals.

How did the group start?
The group began with a few RMA board members organizing a small group of women in 2006 for lunch at a local restaurant. For the next couple of years attendance grew slowly with quarterly meetings held in various bank conference rooms. When I joined the leadership team in early 2008, we shifted gears by organizing our networking component, we began raising funds for our community outreach efforts, and we sharpened our presentation topics.

How has the group evolved?
Last year, Women in Banking drew 100-plus luncheon attendees and doubled its fundraising capacity for consistent donated dollars to Fresh Start. The group does not exclude men and male attendance is growing. Smart men recognize the businesswomen in attendance are the powerhouses of their industry and experts in building business relationships.

How would you describe  the state of women in the banking world today?
Women have professional opportunities today like never before. Women look, walk, talk and conduct business differently than they did just 50 years ago. … Women are masters at building trust and relationships; two qualities that give them a “leg up” in carving out a path for themselves in banking/finance/business and muscle to continually chip away at the remnants of a glass ceiling.

What programs has the group initiated to help women in the banking industry?
The Women in Banking committee draws interest by addressing three key areas of working professional need: networking, community outreach and information. Through organized networking, luncheon attendees are encouraged to meet new people to exchange ideas and contact information. The energy at a WIB luncheon is electric and charged with introductions and connections to business and business resources.

With tight schedules in mind, opportunities to support our chosen charity Fresh Start through money, volunteering and clothes donations provide professionals an opportunity to be a part their community. Finally, luncheon presentations deliver timely and relevant information regarding banking, finance and business topics.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011