PRESS RELEASE | Banco ADOPEM wins Women’s World Banking Excellence in Leadership Award

March 8, 2017

For Immediate Release

Maura Hart, +1 212 556 3156 or

NEW YORK— On International Women’s Day, Women’s World Banking announces that Banco de Ahorro y Crédito ADOPEM, S.A. (Banco ADOPEM) of the Dominican Republic receives the Excellence in Leadership Award. The award recognizes Banco ADOPEM’s commitment to promoting gender diversity among the organization’s staff, leadership and governance alongside its mission to serve low-income women.

“Banco ADOPEM’s proven dedication to serving women clients in the Dominican Republic is paralleled by their commitment to creating opportunities and developing high potential women leaders in the bank,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. “It is no coincidence that we make this announcement on International Women’s Day, as Banco ADOPEM is truly a global model of gender diversity and inclusion.”

Fifty percent of Banco ADOPEM’s vice presidents are women. Women also represent 49 percent of senior management, approximately 75 percent of mid-level management positions, 100 percent of tellers and customer service providers in the branches and 44 percent of board directors. These numbers are a reflection of the institution’s commitment to investing in women’s talent development at all staff levels.

“Investing in the development and leadership of women is fundamental. It is part of our culture at Banco ADOPEM, since we are an institution that first emerged thanks to the initiative of a group of women,” commented Mercedes Canalda de Beras-Goico, Executive President of Banco ADOPEM. The Asociación Dominicana para el Desarrollo de la Mujer (ADOPEM) NGO was first founded in 1982 by Ms. Canalda Beras-Goico’s mother, Doctora Mercedes Canalda, and a group of professional women concerned with the poverty levels in the Dominican Republic. Their mission was to improve the wellbeing of women and their families by offering financial education and credit to micro-entrepreneurs. In 2005, ADOPEM NGO officially transformed to Banco ADOPEM Savings and Loan.

In 2012, Banco ADOPEM created an internal Committee for Gender Equality, responsible for ensuring that the bank delivers on its promise to support women’s advancement in the organization. As Executive Director, Ms. Canalda leads the Committee with representatives from the Board and Vice President level.

As one of its first initiatives, the Committee for Gender Equality launched the Institutional Career Program to advance women’s professional growth through capacity building and clearly defined paths to promotion. Since launching the Program, Banco ADOPEM increased the percentage of women in mid-level management by 10 percent.

In 2016, all 74 Banco ADOPEM branches sent a woman representative to female branch manager training as part of the Institutional Career Program. In August, as a direct outcome of program participation, a woman working in operations was promoted to Branch Manager for the first time in the bank’s history. She is now serving as a role model, encouraging other women to pursue their career aspirations.

The Excellence in Leadership Award is awarded to Women’s World Banking network institutions that, in addition to excellence in financial and social performance, have innovative programs or policies that offer men and women employees equal opportunities to perform, excel and lead. Runners up for this year’s award included: Pakistan’s Kashf Foundation for its diversity management strategy to create a gender inclusive workforce; Kenya Women Microfinance Bank (previously received the award in 2011) for its innovative human resources policy to drive diversity and inclusion; Egypt’s Lead Foundation for its efforts to build a culture of gender diversity at all levels; and the Philippines’ Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation for decades of service as an equal opportunity employer. Prior to Banco ADOPEM, Previous Excellence in Leadership Awardees includes Al Majmoua of Lebanon (2015), Microfund for Women of Jordan (2013), and Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women of Bangladesh (2012).