Community Bank Leadership Lessons

Oct 05, 2017

A community bank’s success relies on steady, solid leadership forged from a shared vision and a goal to exceed customers’ expectations. That’s at least the way Brad Bolton, president and CEO of Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Ala., sees it. His message—honor the bank’s traditions while embracing new initiatives, products and services—has resonated with employees like Emily Mays, Community Spirit Bank’s marketing director. In her role, Mays is dedicated to creating a brand that customers identify with and gravitate towards for all their financial services needs.

Mays says Bolton encourages her to think “outside the box and ahead of the curve.” In a similar vein, Bolton says that Mays’ “proactive mindset” and ability to “positively motivate” herself and others is why she was tapped to attend ICBA’s LEAD FWD Summit this November in St. Louis. Bolton says she’ll bring plenty of ideas back, which will help the bank meet its goals and objectives.

Mays says she is grateful for the opportunity to expand her horizons by attending the leadership forum next month. She says Bolton’s encouragement to take on new challenges has stayed with her over her four-year tenure with the bank and that “can’t” is no longer part of her vocabulary. Mays has also learned to never be complacent and to stay alert to things outside of her purview and look for ways to help.

“Brad has taught me you can do your job better when you know how the other jobs around you operate,” Mays says. “He has taught me to continually think.”

Mays shares Bolton’s view of putting customers first and predicts that technology will play a pivotal role in helping the bank welcome customer interaction through multiple channels.

Community Bank Leadership Lessons

Bolton says he has been happy to help Mays hone her leadership skills and thinks that ICBA’s LEAD FWD Summit is a great next step for her career development. With fast-paced workshops, new collaboration challenges, dynamic whiteboarding sessions with experts and bold keynote speakers, it’s a great opportunity for leaders like Mays.  

Mays and other community bank leaders will take a deep dive into issues affecting the community banking industry and think big picture, Bolton says. This will be invaluable in shaping how these leaders help their banks prepare to meet the future needs of their customers, he adds.

“Our high performers are the ones chosen for more responsibilities, more learning opportunities, conferences, leadership meetings and the like,” Bolton says. “They are our first line of offense and defense in making sure customers receive an exceptional experience throughout the organization.”

Join Emily Mays and other community bank leaders in St. Louis, Mo., by registering for the LEAD FWD Summit.  

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