ABA Banking Journal - July/August 2017 - 34
Taking on Banking's
'Brave New World' Requires
BY MONICA C. MEINERT
t's a brave new world for bankers. Navigating
it-from fintech to millennials, from blockchain to
biometrics-demands courage from individuals at all
levels of their careers, says leadership expert and author
Cindy Solomon, who spoke at ABA's Women's Leadership
Forum in March.
"I always used to think courage was something you had or
you didn't. You were or you weren't," Solomon continues.
"But the reality is, courage is just taking that step past your
discomfort. And if you really want to transform the industry,
you have to get comfortable with doing things differently."
She offers four "unwritten rules" for building courage:
Becoming "comfortable with discomfort" starts by looking
inward. "Get crystal clear about what you're really good at
and what you love doing," Solomon advises. "Then start
talking to people about it."
Emily Gray, SVP and senior credit officer with Hardin County
Bank in Savannah, Tenn., says that doing just that helped
her advance her career in a big way. During her 16 years
with the bank, the institution has grown from $200 million
to just under $500 million-all with the same staffing levels.
And while the bank's growth gave her the opportunity to
wear many different hats, it didn't come without its share of
One particular pain point came as the bank's loan portfolio
began to expand. Gray quickly realized that the bank
needed not only a new senior lender, but a senior credit
officer to go along with it, and she made the decision to
speak up. "I knew it was exactly what our bank needed in
order to move forward in the future," she says.
Armed with her years of relevant experience, she made
her case to the CEO for creating the new post and why
she was uniquely qualified for it. And as her title indicates,
Seek out "micro-mentoring"-engaging
colleagues who are exceptionally good at a given
skill in quick, 15- to 20-minute
ABA BANKING JOURNAL | JULY/AUGUST 2017