The Winning Women of Wintrust

Gone are the days when men dominated the banking industry, relegating women to support and administrative roles.

In fact, several North Shore women head up branches of Wintrust Financial Corporation, a Lake Forest-based financial services holding company with more than $12 billion in assets. We talked to four of them and here’s what they had to say.

Catherine Pratt: Living and working in Wilmette has helped Catherine Pratt succeed as a community banker. “I really feel like I know my customers and so I can do more than I could at a bigger bank,” says Pratt, who is president of the Wilmette branch of North Shore Community Bank. She has only been with North Shore for five years, but worked her way up through the ranks at JP Morgan Chase.

Judy Maloney: Lake Bluff resident Judy Moloney found her way back to banking after a few years as a teacher. The mother of three worked her way up from a job as an assistant at a Winnetka bank and is currently Vice President of Lake Forest Bank & Trust. When she’s not working, Moloney spends time biking and visiting her sons and granddaughter in Denver with her husband of 35 years, George.

Sandy McCraren: Sandy McCraren credits her success in banking to her confidence and work ethic. “I’ve been called feisty and aggressive,” she says. “I wasn’t afraid to tell someone I disagreed with them.” McCraren began her banking career in 1986 and today she is the President of Lake Forest Bank & Trust, where she oversees $280 million in assets.

Rachele Wright: Rachele Lenzini Wright immigrated to the United States from Italy at age 10. The Highland Park mother of three is a self-described workaholic. She earned her M.B.A. while working full-time and raising her family. Her hard work paid off and today she is President of Bank of Highwood-Ft. Sheridan. “I believe in setting an example for employees, especially young women, and showing them the opportunities available through hard work and ambition.”

Lynn Van Cleave: Lynn Van Cleave is Executive Vice President of Lake Forest Bank & Trust. The Northbrook mother of two sons says she’s able to balance a demanding career and a family with support from her husband, Jim, and her colleagues at the bank. Van Cleave gives back to the community through her bank’s extensive support of PADS Crisis Center and YouthBuild of Lake County. When she’s not working, Van Cleave enjoys skiing and scrapbooking.