NEWPORT, R.I. – Edward “Ned” Handy, president and chief operating officer of Washington Trust, will present the first in a three-part “Professional and Leadership Development Speaker Series: What Students Should Know.” Handy will talk to students about what skills are important to be successful in the professional world and how to get there through leadership and mentoring on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in DiStefano Lecture Hall, located in the Antone Academic Center.

The speaker series, presented by the Office of Career Development and various academic departments, focuses on the importance of leadership, professional development and skills built through the college experience and co-curricular learning. Key goals include the ability for students to understand core skills necessary for the work force and the importance of reflection in decision making.

Handy joined Washington Trust in November 2013 as president and COO. He spent 18 years at Citizens Financial Group, most recently serving as president of Citizens Bank Rhode Island and Citizens Bank Connecticut. He held various executive positions during his tenure at Citizens, including serving as president and CEO of Citizens subsidiary, Charter One Bank of Ohio, and head of Citizen's national commercial real estate finance division. He also served as a member of Citizens’ Executive Leadership Group.

A Rhode Island resident and Brown University graduate, Handy began his career in commercial lending at Fleet Financial Group.

Washington Trust is the largest independent bank in Rhode Island and one of the premier financial institutions in the region, offering comprehensive personal banking, commercial banking, and wealth management services. We are a company rich in history - the oldest community bank in the nation and one of the oldest public companies listed on the stock market.

Other speakers participating in the series include a March appearance by Helena Foulkes, president of CVS/Caremark and an April talk by Frederick Reamer, professor of social work  at Rhode Island College.