Cash Management Officer, Berkshire Bank; Age 29
Ashley Clark wanted a challenge.
She entered the banking world after college with a part-time teller position at Westfield Bank. From there, she moved to a full-time role, but after a year of that, she approached her superiors and said she was bored and needed more of a challenge. Because they wanted to grow their cash-management department, they moved her there.
“I’ve been in the cash-management world since then,” she said, although now with Berkshire Bank. “I’m responsible for payments and collections for business customers — anything from how they handle their deposits and their payments to wire transfers, online banking, things like that.”
The good news is, she’s far from bored.
“It’s always different, never the same day twice. I get to meet a lot of people, go out and see a lot of business, and I learn a lot. I cover Springfield and the Berkshires, and going up and down, you see totally different markets and get to learn about these different businesses you normally wouldn’t know about.”
With those opportunities, Clark has become acquainted with a vibrant business community in Greater Springfield, and has become heavily involved in organizations like the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield — where she chairs the YP Cup dodgeball tournament that draws close to 400 participants annually — and Valley Venture Mentors, where she helps mentor startup companies trying to reach their dreams of successful business ownership.
“I grew up in Westfield, on the other side of the river, where all you knew about Springfield was what you saw on the news,” she said. “But when I got involved in groups like YPS, their passion for the city rubbed off on me, and I came to realize that, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
That’s not to say cities don’t have problems, she added.
“The people I grew up with constantly talked down about Springfield. But that’s not making a difference. All cities have challenges, but you’ll never see any change until you put your money where your mouth is. So, instead of pointing out the negatives, I’ve submerged myself in the Springfield culture. It’s a shame there’s so much focus on the bad when so much good is happening. That should make news. I want to share that news with people in different communities.”
In other words, this finance professional is bullish on Springfield.
“The city will change,” Clark said. “What will you do to help it get there?”
— Joseph Bednar
Photography by Leah Martin Photography