Stephanie Burke (center)

Stephanie Burke (center) 

A Dominican has been appointed to a senior position in one of the region’s prominent financial institutions, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank.

Stephane Burke is the new Country Manager for the Northern Eastern Caribbean Islands and Belize. She says that this appointment is testimony to her professional life.

“Achieving anything meaningful requires consistent effort,” she says. She recalls that Jimmy Cliff song of her childhood ‘Action Speaks Louder than Words’ and quotes Thomas Edison who is reputed to have said that ‘opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like [hard] work’.

Mrs. Burke has over 25 years of banking experience.  She started her banking career as a cashier with Barclays Bank, Old Street, Dominica.  On completing her BSc she went on to work for 3 years with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in St Kitts as a Bank Examiner.  She credits the ECCB with improving her grasp of the regulatory framework of the banking industry.  In 1998, she joined CIBC, one of the heritage companies of today’s CIBC FirstCaribbean.  Stephane describes her early experience with the Bank as varied and instructive; while some see change as disruptive, she willingly applied for and accepted positions across departments as varied as Retail Banking, Domestic and International Wealth Management and Corporate Banking.  This gave her a more comprehensive view of the industry which was to prove useful for later regional assignments.  In 2008, she was appointed District Manager of the Leeward Islands which included running the Retail Operations in Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and Anguilla.  In 2010, Burke transferred to the Bank’s Barbados operation as the District Manager for Retail Banking with responsibility for 9 branches and a Retail asset base in excess of USD315M.  In 2013 she returned to Antigua to take on her current role as Country Manager, Northern Eastern Caribbean Islands and Belize which includes responsibility for Dominica.  She is effectively CIBC FirstCaribbean Dominica’s Country Manager.  This newest appointment means that she Burke oversees both the Retail and Corporate activities of CIBC FirstCaribbean in all the Northern Eastern Caribbean Islands and Belize.

Burke sees her regional point of view this way.  “I’ve always considered myself a Caribbean person.  I was born in Dominica but also have Jamaican and Barbadian antecedents.  I studied in Jamaica and Trinidad and I’ve lived and worked in most of the countries for which I now have responsibility.  I’ve learnt to respect diversity but I am also convinced that together we can accomplish a lot”.  These life and professional experiences are invaluable to the challenges of a remote management structure.  She manages the affairs of these branches from her base in Antigua.  However, she says that it is key to have a strong team of ‘on-the-ground’ staff and she cites Dominica’s team as an example, where there is a wealth of knowledge and skill that she can rely on.  In addition, she cites nurturing supportive working relationships and encouraging feedback and participation as critical to success.  “We look, we listen and we respond” she says, speaking of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s ability to do business regionally.  “CIBC FirstCaribbean has staff with solid banking experience and has proved that it can adapt as things change.  We understand the dynamics of the economies and cultures in which we do business.  We may think regionally but we act locally.  Our goal is to structure financial solutions to suit clients’ needs in their specific countries so we can share in each other’s success.”

Burke is married and has one daughter.  She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and Manchester University respectively holding a BSc in Business Administration (1993), an MBA Finance (2008) and a Certificate in Personal Financing and Planning from the Institute of Canadian Bankers as well as several other professional certifications.