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40 Under 40: 2024's Community Bank Leaders

Our sixth annual 40 Under 40 community bank leaders awards recognize an insightful group of professionals who have continuously stepped up to lend a hand, offer a new perspective or make a difference in their communities.

40 Under 40 2024
Artwork by Randall Nelson

Edited by Rachel Hatcher

Hi-tech heroes

These hi-tech community bankers are the pacemakers for digital initiatives. At their respective community banks, they have implemented processes that reduce workflow friction, streamline customer interactions and combat cyber threats. By Bridget McCrea

The eyes and ears of the digital world

Q: What digital initiative has made the biggest difference to your bank’s operations?

Matthew Benoit: We recently implemented a customer appointment scheduling tool that allows customers to schedule an appointment for any banking need they may have, whether it’s on the lending side or on the deposit side. They can also use it for general financial services inquiries and to set up a phone call, an in-person meeting or a video call on their mobile device. We put this in place about four months ago, and the results have more than tripled our expectations and the goals set when we initially onboarded the program.

Ariel Humbert: Three years ago, we transitioned to a new digital banking platform that improved our end users’ digital experience. The ability to securely instant message via digital banking strengthened our customer engagement. Accepting electronic documents via chat eliminated the need to inconvenience the customer with an in-person visit, thus improving overall operational efficiency to process customer requests.

Kelan Oster: We’ve recently incorporated a customer relationship management (CRM) system to better serve our customers in a consistently proper fashion. This is a huge technology step for a bank our size, and we believe it will assist significantly in our growth.

Matthew Benoit

Matthew Benoit, 36

VP, manager of project management office
Chelsea Groton Bank
Groton, Conn.

Matthew Benoit’s dedication to the success of his own community bank and the industry at large has pushed him to bring digital modernization, efficiencies and strategic growth to Chelsea Groton Bank. Just last year, he helped the bank save more than 1,500 hours of work through process improvements.

Ariel Humbert

Ariel Humbert, 33

VP, enterprise payments manager
Community Bank
College Place, Wash.

Ariel Humbert consistently reviews and updates procedures in her organization and is readily accessible whenever guidance or training is needed. During the past year, she embraced an active role in completely revamping the bank’s products and services, and also created reporting to quantify the revenue brought in by those changes.

Kelan Oster

Kelan Oster, 34

VP, senior compliance officer
Western State Bank
West Fargo, N.D.

Kelan Oster understands that community banks need to take risks in order to adapt. He is committed to analyzing the risks associated with implementing new technology and plans to continue developing new and existing partnerships with fintech companies.

Q: How has technology helped your community bank address challenges?

Benoit: Our biggest challenge is fraud and the technology related to that. The bad guys have a lot of tools and tips and tricks up their sleeves. We’re combating that by embedding certain tools in our online banking and mobile banking applications. We’re also working to prevent customers from sending funds out to other financial institutions using a couple of steps to verify account ownership.

Humbert: Fraud has been a huge challenge in the banking industry, and we’ve seen a rise in external transfer fraud through digital banking. We implemented procedural processes, holds and recently installed behavioral biometric software. For external transfer reporting, a secure report containing a list of newly created external transfers is emailed at hourly intervals to the branch teams. They review the digital banking activity of customers listed in the report. If there’s any unusual activity or the activity is pinging outside of their area, digital banking is restricted to allow further investigation.

Oster: We’re using technology and/or related vendors to assist us in understanding our risks as an organization and what we can do to improve our understanding, serve our customers in the way they deserve and grow our company. We’ve recently begun working toward using technologies like [data visualization software] Power BI to obtain a better grasp on what the risks are for our organization. This, paired with our use of [spreadsheet software] Smartsheet and migration toward more AI-based software and programs, has helped us reach our goals.

Savannah Montoya

Savannah Montoya, 32

VP, retail banking supervisor
Pioneer Bank
Las Cruces, N.M.

Savannah Montoya’s innovative approach to problem solving and technological advancements has contributed greatly to Pioneer Bank’s successes. She has leveraged technology to significantly reduce fraudulent activities and increase customer satisfaction. She also helped increase the bank’s brand presence and connections within the community by implementing new social media management strategies.

Rebecca Diaz

Rebecca Diaz, 39

VP, commercial banker
Pueblo, Colo.

Rebecca Diaz’s dynamic leadership style has allowed her team to navigate through change with resilience and innovation. During a recent merger, she focused on how the altered policies and technological integrations would affect InBank’s customer base. To mitigate the impact, she started the community bank’s customer satisfaction outreach program.

Jacob Reiter

Jacob Reiter, 35

Executive vice president, CEO mortgage division
Granite Bank
Cold Spring, Minn.

Jacob Reiter has contributed greatly to Granite Bank’s success with his forward-thinking strategies. During the pandemic, he helped streamline internal processes and improve the technology offered to customers through a fintech partnership. In 2022, he created Granite Mortgage, a division of the bank that diversified its portfolio, expanded its customer base and raised its fee income. —Victoria Schutz

Q:  How does banking digitalization affect your day‑to‑day work?

Benoit: For me, digitalization is first and foremost as I head up our project management office and work closely with our business intelligence team and other departments. We use Microsoft Teams and Project as our two main tools in helping to manage individual tasks for project implementation and any recurring tasks other departments may have. I’m heading up an initiative to hold department discovery sessions, diving into [each department’s] day‑to‑day, how they're working and then helping them digitalize their work.

Humbert: Digitalization has increased back-office efficiency and mitigated operational risks. It also impacts day-to-day operations by helping us stay abreast of the recent digital fraud trends and implementing the appropriate strategies to protect customers and the bank.

Oster: As the compliance officer, it’s easy to always want to say “no” to new and innovative ideas, because it’s harder to remain compliant as we innovate. Instead, I view these ideas as a way to challenge my knowledge and find the most innovative and best risk‑based solutions for our organization. I find that the digitalization of banking just furthers my love for the industry, because with the new challenges and risks, exciting new features and ways to ensure customers are better served emerge.

Enthusiastic collaborators

These community bankers are the first to raise or lend their hands.

Robert Davis

Robert Davis, 31

SVP and commercial banking officer
Brattleboro Savings and Loan
Brattleboro, Vt.

With a hands-on approach, Robert Davis puts his heart into nurturing lasting customer relationships built on mutual trust. He spearheaded further investment in Brattleboro Savings and Loan’s commercial portfolio and aids businesses in every stage of the business lifecycle. And if anybody needs further support, Davis is there to help.

Elizabeth Cain

Elizabeth Cain, 34

Private banking AVP
Peach State Bank and Trust
Gainesville, Ga.

Elizabeth Cain supports both her team and community with a listening ear, carefully considering all concerns and ideas in her work. She creates local guides featuring places and restaurants to visit for residents who are new to the area. She can also be seen volunteering at every community event the bank holds.

Jayce Simpson

Jayce Simpson, 38

President and CEO
Community Bank of Louisiana
Mansfield, La.

Jayce Simpson’s leadership rests on the pillars of service, charity and empowerment. He supports his team’s professional growth and spearheaded a bank-wide paid day off to give staff time to volunteer. Simpson is also an innovator: Under his leadership during the Paycheck Protection Program, many jobs and businesses in his community were saved.

Richard “Bo” Burnside

Richard “Bo” Burnside, 39

Mortgage loan specialist
Clear Mountain Bank
Kingwood, W.Va.

Bo Burnside keeps community top of mind, spearheading the creation of community engagement events, business development workshops and targeted outreach programs. He motivates his team with his transparent and honest leadership, and he believes strong client relationships are the bank’s foundation for success.

Thomas Floyd

Thomas Floyd, 39

Chief lending officer
MainStreet Bank
Fairfax, Va.

Thomas Floyd fosters growth in his team through delegated authority, trusting them to take independent action. In addition to his professional guidance, Floyd is an invaluable asset as chief lending officer. He rebuilt a lending team and reduced the impact of high interest rates on the community bank’s loan portfolio, allowing MainStreet to win new business and keep current business.

Chris Haverstick

Chris Haverstick, 28

Senior vice president
Bank of the West
Flower Mound, Texas

Chris Haverstick’s leadership is predicated on building up his team to help them excel. He learns his clients’ businesses and takes a personal interest to help them in the best way possible. As an advocate for his team and inclusivity, he ensures employees are involved in the yearly marketing campaign and can contribute to its success.

Brian Lois

Brian Lois, 25

Ag relationship coordinator
Community State Bank
Union Grove, Wis.

Brian Lois consistently goes above and beyond in his role, volunteering at county fairs to connect with local businesses and support the ag community and 4-H youth. Through his leadership, he aims to develop others into world-class leaders and has expanded his community bank’s outreach through his community involvement. —Lennon Gray

Thoughtful educators

Laying the foundation for education

Meet three community bankers who prioritize education in their work. From their passion for learning to their favorite educational endeavors, these inspiring individuals aim to drive change in their communities through learning. By William Atkinson

For most community bankers, serving their communities is their passion. And for some, that manifests in providing education in the form of seminars and classes for customers and community organizations, or mentoring coworkers.

“Embracing a lifelong learning mindset, I’ve been fortunate to encounter mentors who recognized my eagerness to expand my knowledge and skills,” says Rachell Bilbrey, vice president and director of treasury for $2 billion-asset Builtwell Bank in Chattanooga, Tenn. “As I progressed into leadership roles, I found immense fulfillment in guiding others toward their full potential.” 

Whether team members sought growth or she identified opportunities for their development, Bilbrey has been committed to fostering growth and pushing boundaries. “Mentoring and training others not only elevates individuals,” she says, “but also strengthens the collective capabilities of the entire team, driving greater success and innovation in the banking industry.”

When Toya Brown joined $2.2 billion-asset Maspeth Federal Savings in Maspeth, N.Y., as a teller, she was given the opportunity to be a presenter at a financial literacy seminar. 

“At the time, I didn’t realize how little knowledge was out there for students to take advantage of, and seeing their reactions made me realize the importance and value of financial literacy as a whole,” says Brown, who is now assistant bank officer and executive assistant to the COO.

For Kelsey Goates, vice president of marketing and human resources for $570 million-asset Wellington State Bank in Stephenville, Texas, her passion for education began as a result of having some great mentors early on in her career. 

“They took a chance on me,” she says. “It meant more to me than they probably realized. I knew I wanted to do the same for someone else one day because of how it shaped me and my future.”

Food for thought

Each 40 Under 40 winner has a philosophy that drives them forward every day. Here's just a few of their words of wisdom.

“As a leader, it is important to ensure each of our team members are equipped with the tools and resources to be successful in their role and they feel valued as an individual and see value in the work they are doing.”

—Beth Frame, CFSB

“Sheryl Sandberg said, ‘Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.’ I strive to lead a team by empowering decision-making and encouraging continual development.”

—Kelsey Schneider, cfsbank

“I believe a great leader plants seeds for a tree that will one day provide shade to individuals they may never have the chance to meet.”

—Courtney Parsel, State Bank of Southwest Missouri

"Be gentle, yet tenacious. Said another way: Leaders should act with integrity and kindness in their relentless pursuit of building something great together."

—Adam Pelzer, Northwest Bank & Trust Company

Treasured learning moments

Quick Stat


Winners have "Vice President" in their job title


States are represented in this year's 40 under 40

Each community banker brings a unique passion to their preferred area of education. 

“One of my favorite areas has been the opportunity to mentor and train fellow employees,” says Bilbrey. “Whether it’s providing one-on-one coaching sessions, leading training workshops or offering constructive feedback, I enjoy empowering my colleagues to reach their full potential.”

Brown’s favorite area has been teaching high school students the importance of saving and budgeting. “I truly enjoy this part of my job, because when the students start asking questions about how to reach their financial goals, I know that what I am doing is making a difference in the lives of these students,” she says.

“I enjoy outreach of anyone who will listen,” says Goates, “but my favorite is probably students in the school system and members of the community in general. It’s a great way to give back and make a difference.”

Seeing results from their efforts is also immensely gratifying for these bankers. “Through my guidance and support, I have seen remarkable growth and development in individuals,” says Bilbrey. 

For Goates, getting to enrich the lives of children has been invaluable, because she can put them on the path to success as they get older and become productive citizens of society. 

“Not only that, but children tend to get excited about learning life skills that they can start now and continue into adulthood, and seeing that take place is incredibly fulfilling,” she says. “You are like a superhero to them, and everyone wants to feel like a superhero every now and then.”

Kelsey Goates

Kelsey Goates, 33

VP marketing/human resources
Wellington State Bank
Stephenville, Texas

Kelsey Goates is dedicated to improving financial literacy in her community. She enjoys visiting the local schools and universities to teach about finance, and she encourages Wellington State Bank to get involved. Every year, Goates helps give high school seniors a look at financial responsibility with a real-world simulation.

Toya Brown

Toya Brown, 27

Assistant bank officer and executive assistant
Maspeth Federal Savings
Maspeth, N.Y.

Toya Brown is passionate about sharing banking knowledge with her community. She helped create a financial literacy course to educate young people on topics like saving, budgeting, credit and debt. She has also provided educational sessions to young people to teach them about the importance of financial literacy and financial empowerment.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall, 36

Senior vice president, lending
United Mississippi Bank
Natchez, Miss.

Matthew Hall is the first from his organization to step up and volunteer at local schools to teach students of all ages about finance. Having been born and raised in the same community the bank serves, his unique perspective allows him to share his passion for giving back and improving financial literacy in his community.

Proudly educating communities

Each of our interviewees has at least one education-related project of which they are particularly proud. “I am incredibly proud of leading a transformative education and mentoring project within an organization,” says Bilbrey. “At the time, the team, consisting of 14 branches, embarked on a groundbreaking initiative focused on consumer loan growth.” 

For many team members, this was their first venture into selling loan products, and, according to Bilbrey, the journey was nothing short of remarkable. Witnessing each member develop skills, achieve their goals and gain confidence in engaging customers in meaningful financial conversations was truly rewarding for her. 

Brown, as a part of her education initiative, revamped her community bank’s financial literacy presentation. “We recently added information to our presentation to include the different careers within the world of banking and presented it to students at a local high school,” she says. “I am particularly proud of this project, because it allowed me to show students that you do not need to have a background in finance or business to be a banker.”

Goates is also passionate about financial literacy. “I’ve helped young children, high school students, and even young adults in college understand the importance of money management,” she says. “It is so fulfilling to make a difference in their lives and shape their future.”

Rachell Bilbrey

Rachell Bilbrey, 39

Director of treasury
Builtwell Bank
Chattanooga, Tenn.

Rachell Bilbrey strives to ensure all levels of bankers within her organization are offered comprehensive education and training. To provide this education and improve the customer experience simultaneously, she initiated a customer and employee training and onboarding channel that addressed treasury management operational challenges and enhanced customer experience.

Joshua Keck

Joshua Keck, 39

Branch manager
Willamette Valley Bank
Salem, Ore.

Joshua Keck understands that community involvement is at the core of community banking. He demonstrates a passion for improving financial literacy in his community and has led two separate initiatives to teach children about financial literacy, budgeting, saving and prioritizing expenses.

Charting future learning

These community bank leaders have plenty of plans for the future. “At Maspeth Federal Savings, we plan to expand our financial literacy program in every way we can,” says Brown. “Our goal is to have our financial literacy presentation presented in as many high schools and colleges across Queens [N.Y.] as possible.” 

Goates’ goal is to continue to get involved in the local school systems at a deeper commitment level. “Teaching them the importance of financial literacy not only gives them important life skills but also creates excitement about careers in banking,” she says.

Christy Wilson

Christy Wilson, 38

AVP, compliance officer
Troy Bank & Trust
Troy, Ala.

Christy Wilson has become a key resource both inside and outside Troy Bank & Trust. She strives to support and empower her colleagues as a mentor and is committed to improving financial literacy in her community. She created the bank’s Money Matter$ program to educate students and adults about money management.

McKenzie Humpal

McKenzie Humpal, 39

VP, compliance officer
First Citizens Bank
Mason City, Iowa

As a compliance officer, McKenzie Humpal provides reliable guidance across First Citizens Bank and beyond. She regularly travels to branches to provide compliance training to employees, demonstrating a dedication to clarity and collaboration through her ability to translate complex regulations into terms that are both understandable and relatable. —Victoria Schutz

Community supporters

Advocating for customers—always

Through their commitment to solving problems, offering a platform to those who don’t have a voice and supporting causes they are passionate about, these community bankers are making an impact on their customers, communities and beyond. By Taylor Hugo

Dema Headley says that if she ever had to quit her job, she would do missionary work. That’s how strongly she feels about serving others. “Helping people has been in my DNA since birth,” she says. “My parents raised me that way: service above self at all costs.” 

Headley gets to combine her passions for banking and service at $600 million-asset Climate First Bank in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she serves as senior vice president and director of digital banking, in addition to contributing to environmental efforts and championing minority‑owned businesses. 

“Being an advocate, for me, is working to help find solutions to the problems that are all over,” she says. “We’re working for the people within the community, so if they have voices and they can’t be heard, we help enhance those voices. We find solutions for them.”

Dema Headley

Dema Headley, 38

Senior vice president and director of digital banking
Climate First Bank
St. Petersburg, Fla.

Dema Headley has become an advocate for both financial ethics and inclusivity within community banking. Climate First Bank is a pioneer in values-driven banking, supported by Headley’s efforts in expanding its residential and commercial solar lending platform. Thanks to her leadership, the number of approved solar installers went from less than 100 to more than 200.

Kaitlyn Dummitt

Kaitlyn Dummitt, 35

AVP, marketing
Waterford Bank N.A.
Toledo, Ohio

Always willing to lend a hand, Kaitlyn Dummitt holds her community close to her heart. From improving accessibility on her bank’s website for those with visual or physical impairments to leading a team in building homes for low-income individuals, Dummitt’s community is her priority.

Sean Doyle

Sean Doyle, 36

SVP and sales manager
Texas First Bank
Texas City, Texas

Under his leadership, Sean Doyle’s team thrives and is directly involved in decision-making processes that bring success to Texas First. Doyle also lobbies local legislators and raises money for Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT), speaking up for community bankers and customers alike.

Support in the wake of the SVB collapse

The need for even greater customer support from community banks became apparent when Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank collapsed in March 2023, leaving thousands of people scrambling to find new financial institutions. 

In the wake of that crisis, DJ Kurtze was hired as Five Star Bank’s senior vice president and San Francisco Bay Area president to offer a safety net for those whose trust in banks was damaged after the bank failures. He achieved this with a robust outreach strategy that introduced new clients to the Rancho Cordova, Calif., community bank’s purpose-driven banking model built on relationships and engaging with the community. 

Taking such action ensured Five Star Bank could immediately serve and support its nonprofit customers through the $3.6 billion‑asset bank’s concierge service, giving customers direct access to their banker.

It comes down to “advocating for your customers and what they are trying to accomplish,” says Kurtze. “The first thing I look at in terms of advocacy is, are we actually lending? Are there deals that we’re doing that might be a little outside of the box or have a big impact for certain businesses? Are we adding more banking relationships? That’s where we can have the most impact.” 

PJ Thompson, CFO of $2.19 billion‑asset Country Club Bank in Kansas City, Mo., is also constantly tapping into his influence and tools to help customers. Knowing that there’s a personal story behind every transaction, he encourages team members to understand the unique narratives of their customers. 

“Other than providing safekeeping of assets, we want to give people a lever up so they can accomplish what they want to achieve,” he says. “Maybe it’s an infusion of capital that allows them to get to the next level.”

DJ Kurtze

DJ Kurtze, 36

SVP/San Francisco Bay Area president
Five Star Bank
Cordova, Calif.

DJ Kurtze’s client advocacy permeates his work. With his outreach strategy, he fostered trust in clients when distrust was high due to big bank failures and showed them the value of a community bank partnership. Kurtze is also an advocate for the unhoused, working with Hamilton Families to serve those in need.

Kelsey Schneider

Kelsey Schneider, 30

Internal audit manager, compliance officer
Charleroi, Pa.

Kelsey Schneider champions inclusivity, social justice and community building. As a cofounder of Hang Touch Stockings—which coordinates donations of holiday stockings to cancer patients—Schneider is always aiming to help others. She is also skilled in risk mitigation and audits, playing a vital role in enhancing the bank’s CRA initiatives.

Putting solar energy in reach

Since Headley joined Climate First Bank in December 2021, her efforts have led to record-breaking digital deposits and an expansion of the residential and commercial solar lending platform, a critical component of Climate First Bank’s business model. 

Under Headley’s leadership, the number of approved solar installers doubled from less than 100 to more than 200, allowing more people to access financing for clean energy solutions, save money on utilities and add value to their homes—without worrying about predatory hidden fees.

“We’re advocating for consumers to help them understand the solar financing dealer fees. Consumers aren’t always aware of what they’re paying,” says Headley. “Dealer fees can range from 20% to 30% [of the system cost], which adds anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 to their project costs.”

Veronica R. Lane

Veronica R. Lane, 40

VP and marketing director
Native American Bank, N.A.
Denver, Colo.

Veronica R. Lane is a champion of equity for her Native American communities. Spearheading loans to tribal housing authorities, Lane is a direct, solution-oriented leader dedicated to economic justice and is a trailblazer for Native women in finance.

PJ Thompson

PJ Thompson, 36

Country Club Bank
Kansas City, Mo.

PJ Thompson’s empathetic nature makes him an excellent leader. He deeply understands client stories, looking beyond numbers and encouraging his team to do the same. He holds high standards for his bank and advocates for transparency and inclusivity for clients and employees alike through collective responsibility and open communication. —Lennon Gray

Fostering connection to the community

There’s a symbiotic relationship between community banks and the communities they serve: The success of one is dependent on the success of the other. 

Kurtze volunteers his time with organizations and nonprofits that promote economic development and job creation for small businesses, and combat homelessness in the Bay Area. 

Thompson believes the health of the community is the lifeblood of the community bank, and that making your city a better place comes down to rolling up your sleeves and getting involved. 

He helped launch Country Club Bank’s Team Impact program, which facilitates volunteer opportunities for bank associates. He also cofounded a nonprofit that helps with the medical bills of children with congenital heart disease, and he serves as a volunteer business coach in economically disadvantaged areas of the city his bank serves.  

“I don’t want to sound cheesy, like ‘It doesn’t even feel like work to me,’ but it’s really true,” says Thompson. “I don’t feel like anything I’m doing is [special]. It’s just, ‘Hey, I’m excited about this.’ And I’m glad others are too. If that counts as advocacy, then great. That makes me happy. But more than anything else, I like to see others shine.”

Innovative strategists

Thinking outside the box is commonplace for these honorees.

Ben Steiger

Ben Steiger, 36

Chief risk officer
Chickasaw Community Bank
Oklahoma City, Okla.

With his leadership and risk-based decision-making, Ben Steiger has helped Chickasaw Community Bank get ahead of its deadlines. He participated in the CECL implementation, which helped the community bank establish a strong loan-loss reserve position.

Amy Meyer

Amy Meyer, 39

Sartell, Minn.

Amy Meyer has reinforced efficiency and effectiveness at BankVista. With a sharp eye, she thoroughly examined her bank’s workflow and made changes accordingly to streamline operations. She prioritizes the growth, development and well-being of her team members and pushes for their autonomy and ownership over their work.

Adam Pelzer

Adam Pelzer, 33

Northwest Bank & Trust Company
Davenport, Iowa

Adam Pelzer embraces innovation with an open mind in his work at Northwest Bank & Trust Company. His scientific problem‑solving approach and eye for unique acquisitions have helped the community bank establish and grow its subsidiary tax and accounting firm to over $4 million in revenue—an increase of over 500% in just three years.

Philip Courtney

Philip Courtney, 35

Loan administration and compliance manager
Fleetwood Bank
Fleetwood, Pa.

Philip Courtney is overseeing the change at Fleetwood Bank after its loan operations groups was moved under his leadership. He organized a team that’s cross-trained to work efficiently, improving the bank’s audit and exam process. He’s also passionate about finding ways that Fleetwood can garner brand recognition and introduce new marketing strategies.

Haley Prescott

Haley Prescott, 39

Chief banking officer
Georgia Community Bank
Albany, Ga.

Haley Prescott led the core conversion at Georgia Community Bank, resulting in upgrades of all its technology and better accuracy and efficiency of transactions. With her hand in the technology upgrades, transactions that were once done manually are now automated.

Rebecca Robbins

Rebecca Robbins, 38

VP/ISO, security officer, eServices manager
American Bank
Beaver Dam, Wis.

As a leader of her community bank’s innovation team, Rebecca Robbins is constantly thinking about how to help American Bank, its employees and its customers flourish. She fosters a positive work environment by promoting healthy habits and helping create an employee wellness plan.

Beth Frame

Beth Frame, 37

Chief credit officer
Benton, Ky.

Beth Frame’s background as an examiner has helped her bring a depth of knowledge to her position at CFSB. Her leadership mentality and experience as an examiner informed her choices when she led a restructure of CFSB’s credit culture. —Faaya Adem

Trusted advisors

These community bankers serve as confidants for their communities.

Courtney Parsel

Courtney Parsel, 34

Vice president
State Bank of Southwest Missouri
Springfield, Mo.

Courtney Parsel is passionate about helping customers as both a banker and trusted advisor. She commits herself to enhancing customer and employee experiences and leads projects that drive innovation. And as a participant at the Graduate School of Banking Colorado, she organized community banker events and contributed to a research group focused on emerging technologies.

Josh Lundeen

Josh Lundeen, 38

Vice president
Prinsburg, Minn.

Josh Lundeen moved to PrinsBank after starting at a big bank, and he loves community banking because he can connect with small businesses and give back to local people. He has led initiatives to support the community, such as a tournament to raise money to make improvements to a pickleball court. He also teaches high school students about banking.

Jack Tinberg

Jack Tinberg, 30

Commercial loan officer
CNB Bank & Trust N.A.
Oak Forest, Ill.

Jack Tinberg started out as an intern at CNB Bank & Trust while in college. Now, as a commercial loan officer, he structures loans in ways that work for both his community bank and the customer. To give back to his hometown, he often volunteers at local events.

Candace Wolke

Candace Wolke, 39

Chief credit officer/market president
Vintage Bank Kansas
Wichita, Kan.

Known as the banker in town, Candace Wolke is always representing Vintage Bank Kansas, whether it’s through community involvement or as a customer-focused lender. Thanks to her assistance during Vintage Bank Kansas’ acquisitions, it has grown from $40 million in assets and three branches to a $240 million-asset, 12-branch institution.

Sanna Griffith

Sanna Griffith, 35

Note department manager
Merchants and Planters Bank
Newport, Ark.

Sanna Griffith works diligently and efficiently toward her goals. For example, she developed a centralized scanning function after finding inconsistencies in scanned and indexed documents. After stepping into a leadership role in a department that lost its entire seasoned staff, she covered two different lending areas while training new members, developing goals and holding review meetings.

Matthew Lutz

Matthew Lutz, 39

First National Bank & Trust
Iron Mountain, Mich.

As one of the founding members of First National Bank & Trust’s financial literacy committee, Matthew Lutz meets with schools and organizations to teach students about financial literacy. He also helped build and oversees the bank’s profitability model, which created a baseline where departmental budgets and performance can now be tracked, analyzed and shared. —Faaya Adem

A community banker’s guiding light

Great leaders have great role models who have supported them and helped them along the paths they’re on today.

“I’ve been blessed to grow up around many great leaders, but I’ve learned the most from my father and my boss— two very different men with unique and equally successful approaches to community banking. They have taught me everything I know, and I’ve watched them treat everyone with kindness and respect along the way.”

—Jack Tinberg, CNB Bank & Trust N.A.

“My parents are easily my biggest role models in life. It’s hard to put in words how much they mean to me and how much I appreciate all they have taught me. The older I get, the more I see how impressively wise, patient, kind and loving they are.”

—Elizabeth Cain, Peach State Bank & Trust

“My role model is my sister. She has faced countless challenges and has always navigated life with grace. She has continued to grow and provide a great life for herself and her family, regardless of anything that stands in her way.”

—Rebecca Robbins, American Bank

“A personal hero and role model is the late Elouise Cobell. She was a Blackfeet woman who was instrumental in the formation of Native American Bank and a fearless leader for our Native community.”

—Veronica R. Lane, Native American Bank

“Since I was a kid, I’ve admired and looked up to my dad, and as an adult, I’m able to work with him daily. He taught me the value of earning your own way, how to empower those around you and how to live a life with purpose. Most importantly, it’s about the journey, not the destination.”

—Jacob Reiter, Granite Bank

“My role model is William Dorroh, who is both my father-in-law and president emeritus of Community Bank of Louisiana. He navigated the bank successfully through the ’80s and was a great resource when the banking industry navigated turbulent times in the first quarter of 2023, and he continues to provide great guidance in both my professional and personal life.”

—Jayce Simpson, Community Bank of Louisiana

Bridget McCrea is a writer in Florida. William Atkinson is a writer in Illinois. Taylor Hugo is a writer in Colorado.

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