Meet Jill Gansler

Jill Gansler

Jill Gansler is at the pinnacle of her career as the Chief Financial Officer of Regional Management, Inc. (RMI). She serves as the financial member of the executive team responsible for the strategic and operational oversight of the firm and its employees.  Simultaneously, she is a dedicated civic minded volunteer making an impact on Baltimore. 

This Buffalo, NY native shares her insights, her philosophy about career choices, giving back and what she hopes to accomplish in her role as Women’s Campaign Chair for The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. 

You grew up in Buffalo, New York 

My family history is somewhat unique. On my mother’s paternal side, I am a fifth generation American whose family originally settled in Boston. My father’s grandfather was the first Jewish senator in the State of Ohio. My father’s dad was, I am told, a very handsome Romanian Immigrant trapped in this country when World War I began.   

Growing up in Amherst, near the University of Buffalo, we were the first Jewish family to settle on our street. I was one of a handful of Jews in my classes until I entered college. Antisemitism was present inside the classroom and out. Regardless, I wasn’t going to break the 5,000+ year chain. Embracing my Judaism became essential. Being a Reform Jew, tikkun olum (repair the world) is how I live “Jewishly.” 

Coming out of Wharton, you had trouble landing a job in your profession. 

Initially I was offered a job at a Big Eight accounting firm in Philadelphia. However, I married quite young and wound up in Reading, PA, where I was only offered secretarial positions and low-level administration jobs. Fortuitously, I settled as a credit analyst in the local bank and quickly became an AVP. 

Five years later, I was recruited to Baltimore the beneficiary of an EEOC bidding war between First National and Maryland National Bank, both needing middle management females. 

A lot has changed for women since then. Words of wisdom? 

  • Perfection is a female’s enemy. You can ‘bluff’ and learn skills on the job.  
  •  You can have it all, but not at the same time. If you want a successful career and a happy family, temper your expectations and professional aspirations.     
  • Pursue your passion. The happiest among my friends and colleagues and their children found a way to achieve financial comfort regardless of their chosen profession.  Working at what you love is a pleasure and doesn’t feel like work. 

Since moving to Maryland, you have been involved in giving back. 

I have been lucky. Maryland National Bank believed involvement in the local community was good business. When I joined RMI, Philip Macht, Chair of the Board, gifted me with one day a week, up to 20 percent of my work time, to spend on community service.  

The Associated? 

One of my first days at Maryland National Bank, a co -worker asked if I was Jewish. She submitted my name to The Associated for consideration as a candidate for their next young leadership program. I was hooked then and there. 

You’ve been volunteering for four decades. 

I first served on the Jewish Family Services Board. For over three decades, I have been a member of the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore’s Executive Investment Committee. I also became a Lion of Judah. And in large part to my husband Ira’s encouragement, I am now Women’s Campaign Chair. I hope to motivate women philanthropists to use their voices, regardless of their lack of a formal business background.   

Other volunteer work? 

I met Ira, my husband of almost 40 years, founding Gan Yeladim, a full-service preschool age childcare service, which merged with the JCC 14 years later.  I also served as treasurer of a number of organizations, beginning in 1975 with the League of Women Voters of Berks County, Pa. I support Israel as a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish National Fund of Baltimore. I could go on and on – I love meeting and being with people. 

Who do you admire? 

Shoshana Cardin of blessed memory. Using her sharp intellect, quick wit, grace and wisdom, with innate savvy, she achieved positions in the community, nationally and internationally unparalleled by women in the 90s. She shared two fundamental truths that resonate with me to this day: 

  • People give their time and money to people, there are a million good causes. Relationships matter.  
  • Your children will learn what your fundamental values are when you have passed – by glancing at your checkbook. It will confirm your values or expose your hypocrisy. 

What do people not know about you? 

I am so open I doubt there are any surprises.  Perhaps it’s that I hate confrontation – regardless of my strong personality. 

Favorite part about Baltimore? 

The small-town vibe. Whenever I have asked for help, the number of people stepping up offering support is mind boggling.  All of the interrelated personal connections never cease to amaze me.   

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The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

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